Sunday, October 28, 2012

Blu-ray: CLASS OF NUKE 'EM HIGH (1986)

Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD

Label: Arrow Video
Region: ABC (Region-FREE)
Rating: 18
Duration: 85 mins
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1)
Audio: English LPCM 2.0 with Optional English SDH subtitles
Cast: Janelle Brady, Gil Brenton and Robert Prichard
Director: Richard W. Haines, Lloyd Kaufman
Tagline: It Rotted Their Bodies. It Corrupted Their Minds. And That's The Good News.

Synopsis: At Tromaville High School the kids are revolting. Literally. The irradiated marijuana they’ve been buying from The Cretins, a tough gang of ex-star pupils turned atomic punks, is turning them into freaks. Girls are giving birth to demon babies, the nerds are developing super strength and there’s a monster in the school basement that eats honor roll students for breakfast.

The Film: Troma is not a studio I followed in the 80's with any amount of relish honestly  I always thought their output looked cheap and schlocky and in the 80's  that's just not where I was at, I was looking for slashers though I did have a fondness for Full Moon Entertainment straight-to-video so I guess I did crave a certain amount of camp. I must admit I have never even seen Troma's flagship film The Toxic Avenger (1984)  to this day haven't seen Class of Nuke 'En High  since it's original VHS release in the 80's and from that viewing all I could remember was there's something about a giant nuclear-waste induced hallucination about a giant-boner, so let's see how it holds up....

I love it! Tromaville High-school is located in the shadow of the Tromaville Nuclear Power Pant when an accident at the plant sends toxic nuclear sludge into the water school's supply. A nerdy doofus named Dewey drinks some of the waste straight from a water fountain and attacks one of his classmates while spurting green foamy liquid from his ears before leaping out a window PCP style to his oozing death. The Nuclear power plant of course denies any waste has contaminated the ground water blaming the unfortunate death on the fact that the youth came from a home with two microwaves, gotta love the 80's microwave dangers which was right up there with the Satanic Panic scare of the era. 

The school is full of awesome 80's punk rockers including The Cretins, former debate team all-star turned mutant punkers, who sell classmates irradiated weed grown at the power plant which ends up being smoked by preppie high school couple, the virginal Chrissy (Janelle Brady) and the jocular Warren (Gil Brenton), the toxic-laced THC send Chrissy into a lusty fit and the two finally get it on. That night Warren hallucinates a tree sized erection while poor Chrissy finds herself impregnated with a mutant creature which she vomits into the toilet in the restroom, the toothy offspring ends up in the school basement into a drum of toxic waste where it grows into nightmare sized mutant miscarriage that terrorizes the school. 

Class of Nuke 'Em High us just a ton of 80's schlock awesomeness, we get neon punks, mutated cretins, gooey and dated practical effects,horny teens, some nudity, bizarre drug culture and adolescent comedy - it's everything and more you would expect of a Troma film and then some.   

Blu-ray: The first thing I noticed was how great the film looks in 1080p widescreen, there's some print damage but the neon-colors are vibrant, the nuclear waste slime really jumps out at you. The black levels are decent, maybe not inky black but very solid, aside from some occasional dirt this is a very strong transfer. Sadly the only audio option is LPCM 2.0, and while that's a disappointment it's satisfactory in a less that awesome sorta way.

Special features are pretty nifty, not having really viewed previous DVD editions I think mostly vintage stuff beginning with a audio commentary from co-director Lloyd Kaufman who is always entertaining, a born showman and his commentary is candid and witty as you would expect, fun stuff. The Interview with stars Robert and Jennifer Prichard (4:41) features the pair speaking of how they met on-set, Richard portrayed the leader of The Cretins, Spike  in the film. There's a funny retelling of a asthmatic stalker with a limp who perused Theo for a time and  a masturbatory sauna scene. We also get a vintage Troma Studios tour with Lloyd Kaufman (9:19) featuring Kabuki Man and a naked chic in a shower - a classic Tromatic extra. The other significant extra is Seven Deleted Scenes (7:03) that don't really add up to anything astonishing but are appreciated 

Special Features:

- High Definition Blu-ray and Standard Definition DVD transfer of the unrated Director’s Cut of the film 

- Audio commentary with Troma Studios founder and Class of Nuke ‘em High co-director Lloyd Kaufman 
- Interview with stars Robert and Jennifer Prichard (4:41) 4x3
- Theo Pingarelli on the Making of the Nuclear Power Plant Effect (0:40) 4x3
- Troma Studios tour with Lloyd Kaufman (9:19) 4x3
- Public Service Announcement by Lemmy from Motörhead featuring Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of South Park 
- Deleted Scenes (7:03) 4x3
- Aroma du Troma (2:05) 4x3
- Troma Studios Trailer Reel (14:09) 4x3

Verdict: Great to see Troma's Class of Nuke 'Em High (1986) get a region-FREE dual-format DVD/Blu-ray from Arrow Video in the UK. We get gore, mutants, nudity and 80's drug culture awesomeness, a trash cinema classic. On top of that it's a damn fine audio/video presentation with some cool extras, highly recommended. (3 outta 5)