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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Horror > Exploitation > Return To Nuke 'Em High - Volume 1 (2013/Troma/Starz Blu-ray)

Return To Nuke 'Em High - Volume 1 (2013/Troma/Starz Blu-ray)

Picture: B Sound: B Extras: C Film: C+

Hello Troma fans! Welcome back to Tromaville! Unfortunately, much has changed since our last visit to Lloyd Kaufman's Class of Nuke 'Em High. Once an inspiringly bad (but o' so good) B-Movie series, this third sequel to the original 1986 Class of Nuke 'Em High is just bad; as it poorly attempts to be the gonzo films that came before it.

The poor impersonation of Class of Nuke 'Em High, known as Return to Nuke 'Em High: Volume One creates a loose narrative while fulfilling the obligatory elements every Nuke 'Em /Troma film should have. As a long time Troma fan the faithfulness to the craft I appreciate, but something is missing. Sure there is the over the top (though cheap CGI this time) gore, sexy girls, and self-awareness but on some level it feels artificial and not a true Troma effort. The plot of Return to Nuke 'Em High has a pair of lesbian high school students Lauren and Chrissy fall in love; even though they come from very different walks of life. A love that was almost not meant to be is heightened by a narrative that has their high school ominously positioned next to a former nuclear power plant that has transformed into a health food plant known as Tromorganic Foodstuffs. As the sexy teens grapple with love, they and their classmates are slowly transforming into mutants; due to their transvestite principal being in cahoots with the food plant that serves the kids nuclear foods. This gives the film plenty of opportunity to ramp up the camp (and gore).

The film is more like an homage to Lloyd Kaufman and Troma films than a solid new installment; which is odd since Lloyd is back in the directing chair. Self-centered is something Lloyd boasts of proudly; so you can't blame him. Troma fans will get a kick out of the many other Troma references scattered throughout this film like Citizen Toxie, Tromeo and Juliet, and Poultrygeist.

I by no means hated the film as I could never hate a Troma film, no matter how bad; but I just wish it was more like a 1980s Troma film. Drop the CGI Kaufman, you're better without it.

The technical features are great by Troma standards; Lloyd Kaufman finally surrendering to digital cameras, rather than his mainstay of 35mm. The 1.85 X 1, 1080p image is probably the best looking Troma film to date with nice colors, contrast, and black levels; though remains a mixed bag and far from perfect. The quality jumps around with elements of blurriness, distracting grit, and off color palettes; but this is common place for a Troma feature. Again being the best Troma Blu-ray to date. The sound is a weaker. lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo that gets the job done, but comes heavily from the front and makes us all wonder why this was not a lossless track. It is a balanced presentation without much distortion; just don't expect anything that would knock your socks (or head) off.

Troma (if nothing else) continually caters to the fans. Here they offer a number of extra features; but I was not wholly impressed. The audio commentaries are the best part as they are both informative and fun. Extras include:

  • Actor's Commentary Track

  • Filmmakers Commentary Track

  • Special (Ed) Effects

  • Cell-U-Lloyd: 40 Years of Tromatizing the World

  • Architects of Fear Edison Device Music Video

  • Return to Nuke 'Em High: Volume Two Teaser Trailer

  • Casting Conundrum

    • Includes topless casting callbacks... umm yep

  • Pre-ProductioN hell with Mein-Kauf (Man)

Troma fans don't miss out on this one.

- Michael P. Dougherty II


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