Since the nuclear power plant went in next door, things have been strange at Tromaville High. A teacher lost her hair and become covered in grody boils. The Honor Society has become a gang of vile, violent, drug pushing Cretins. More pressing, there is a toxic waste leak in the basement. The super shady plant manager refuses to clean it properly, fearing bad publicity. Even goody-goody, geeky Dewey has a nuclear freakout and throws his melting body out a classroom window. The other students start putting the pieces together.
Squeaky clean Warren (Gil Brenton) and Chrissy (Janelle Brady) haven’t gone all the way yet. Warren’s buddy, Eddie, has hatched a plan to finally get them together. Eddie rounds everyone up for a frat party that night. Unluckily, the Cretins have just harvested a new crop of weed from a puddle of atomic waste. They call the new batch an ‘Atomic High’. When they cross paths with Eddie, they force him to buy one of the improved joints. That night, Chrissy and Warren smoke the green glowing joint and under its effects, have sex. Once at their respective homes, they each have strange hallucinations. Warren becomes a crusty monster with a giant dong and Chrissy dreams of being pregnant with something inhuman.
Back at school, still feeling awful, they confront Eddie about where he got the drugs. When he confesses the joint came from the Cretins, Warren is livid. Cretins could have put anything in the joint! Not feeling any better, Warren leaves school. It’s not long before he’s turned into the oozing monster from his hallucination. Spike (Robert Prichard), leader of the Cretins, and a few other Cretins are trying to scare up some cash. They’re using the old alka-seltzer seizure routine to steal an old lady’s hand bag. They succeed but are intercepted by Atomic Warren. He brutally dismantles two Cretins and knocks Spike unconscious.
During cheerleader practice, Chrissy’s hallucination starts to come true. She runs to the bathroom and vomits/births a spiny tadpole baby. The tadpole gets flushed into the toxic waste in the basement and Chrissy is rushed to the hospital. The doctor confirms that she’s ok but she’s just had a full term miscarriage. Worried(?), Warren goes back to school and runs into Eddie. Together they check out the brand new laser in the science lab. They beat a hasty retreat when the science teacher finds them and Warren blunders right into a fight with the Cretins. Warren is pretty quickly overpowered. Their little party is crashed by a teacher. It’s the final straw for the principal, The Cretins are kicked out of school. For some reason, this really upsets them and they vow revenge against Warren.
Super Creep from the power plant starts sending workers to take radiation reads at the school. They close the east wing. One of the workers heads to check out the fallout shelter, this is where the school is keeping their open containers of toxic waste. Totally normal for Tromaville. This poor nameless worker meets the mutant radioactive offspring of Warren and Chrissy. Let’s call it Warssy. Warssy is not friendly, he rips the worker apart. The Cretins use the confusion of the east wing closure to enact their revenge against Warren and the school.
Most of the Cretins capture the principal and make the emergency evacuation announcement. The students stampede out. Spike and the remaining Cretins kidnap Chrissy. They hold her in the fallout shelter and send for Warren. By the time Warren gets back to the school, The Cretins are joyriding through on motorcycles, destroying the school and trying to keep him from Chrissy. Warren finally bursts into the fallout shelter and Spike halts him with a gun in the face. Spike and his sidekick, Taru, brandish weapons and make threats. Then Warssy joins the party. It punches through Taru’s face and chases Spike out of the shelter. Now, Warren and Chrissy are on the run, they must get past The Cretins and Warssy to get out alive. Warssy takes out The Cretins one by one. Except Spike, he finds Warren and Chrissy cowering in the science lab. Warren, ever the gentleman, warns Spike to just give it up and stay away from Warssy. Spike is not a good listener, Warssy gives him a very interesting headbutt and kills him. Warssy goes after his mom next and papa Warren uses the laser we learned about earlier to zap his ass. Warren and Chrissy escape but the scuzzy plant manager brushes past them, convinced it’s a joke. He gets an eyeful of Warssy before the both explode.
Whoa, it’s our first Troma movie! What took us so long? This was actually the first Troma movie I saw, it does a wonderful job of throwing open the door on the weird world of Tromaville. Class of Nuke ‘Em High is a great example of everything we’re looking for on this blog. Let’s jump in and get slimey.
Again, we’ve got another one with a super catchy theme song. Somehow, I’ve had a medley of ‘Nuke ‘Em High’ and ‘Roxie’ (from Chicago) stuck in my head for DAYS. If I wasn’t already a little nuts, this would have put me over the edge. If you gently poke around the internet, you should be able to find it.
What’s a Troma movie without effects? We get quite a few special treats in this one. Dewey’s freakout and subsequent meltdown (ha!) is pretty spectacular. I’m especially pleased with this effect because it’s not claymation. As I mentally playback all the other great melting scenes of the 80s, it seems to me they were all clay. Warrren’s monster make up is pretty funny, with the bulging, pus-y sacks on his forehead. We get a great fist assisted suffocation. Then, of course, Spike is killed by spikes to the face. All great fun.
The other telltale sign you’re watching Troma? Perverse, oddball humor. Here there is an undercurrent of ‘nuclear power is bad’, the more subtle (ha!) visual gags play on this. Watch for the plant workers eating lunch out of isotope containers, posters and basically everything in the background. The Cretins also seem to be one long running joke. Especially in the scene where the principal frisks them. Not to mention when Gonzo tells Muffy they can’t hang out because he’s busy with work and “That’s what you get for dating a yuppie”.
Class of Nuke ‘Em High has nearly everything I look for in a horror film. It hits on all the main points: high schoolers or other people with compromised judgment, a high school for them to play in, Punks! or generally out there characters, interesting effects and copious amounts of goo. As far as I’m concerned the only thing we’re missing is a strong female character. Muffy and Taru do not count, they are still under Spike’s control. I’m giving this one four spiney tadpoles.
Alisa Ramone –
For once I actually completely agree with Bobi! Instead of writing the same ideas again I will ask – Why are there vats of toxic waste in the basement of a school? I also give it 4 spiney tadpoles!
P.S. Very shortly the world should have Return to Nuke ‘Em High. Normally I scoff at remakes, but I’m actually excited to see what Lloyd does this time.