Class Of Nuke ‘Em High, directed by Lloyd Kaufman (and a number of Troma directors) and released in 1986, is one of Troma’s better known features. Troma Entertainment is an independent production and distribution company (founded by Lloyd Kaufman in 1974) which specializes in low-budget trash films. Troma films are not for everyone and it is quite understandable why the majority of film viewers might not enjoy such films. But if you typically enjoy B-movies, low-budget productions or unique trashy experiences, then Troma is definitely up your alley.
The action of Class Of Nuke ‘Em High takes place, like the majority of Troma films, in Tromaville. The local high school is a melting pot of nerds, jocks and punk delinquents. One day, a chemical leak occurs at the nuclear plant located near the school. Students are soon exposed to the radioactive matters which results in mutations, hallucinations, monsters and overall crazyness.
Class Of Nuke ‘Em High is not as mindless as it first appears (like it is the case with other Troma films). Released in 1986, only a few months after the Chernobyl catastrophe, the message of the film was extremely relevant at the time (and remains so today). Similarly to The Toxic Avenger, Class Of Nuke ‘Em High deals with the danger of nuclear plants and humanity’s tendency to destroy the environment while delivering a social commentary on youth. This may be surprising to some but Troma manages to deliver trashy films with substance !
Of course, the film’s extremely low budget is very apparent throughout but what it lacks in production value, it makes up for it in ingenuity and creativity. Class Of Nuke ‘Em High is filled with fun ideas though some may not be implemented in the best way. The most impressive aspect of the film is the practical effects. All the gore and gross effects are brilliantly manufactured and look fantastic on screen. From the mutations to the big monster, everything looks great ! However, the same cannot be said of the costume designs.
The biggest weakness of Class Of Nuke ‘Em High is the acting, especially from the supporting cast. When watching a B-movie, you accept the fact that the acting will not be A-level. However, in most Troma films, the acting is hilariously horrendous. However, I was very surprised as Gilbert Brenton (who portrays Warren, the main character) actually gives a good performance. He is definitely the highlight of the film, acting-wise.
Class Of Nuke ‘Em High is extremely entertaining and fun. It definitely has so-bad-it’s-good qualities while being genuinely good at times. Troma features may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I do recommend Class Of Nuke ‘Em High. I personally loved it and was not bored for one second.