Clay von Carlowitz
Tara E. Miller
In my experience, there are several different types of horror fans. Two of the most predominant types are the serious horror fan, and the take and enjoy everything type of fan. The serious horror fan is the one who will only watch and appreciate the classic films that are taken seriously outside of the genre as well (think more along the lines of movies like the Universal classics and The Exorcist). Then the other type are the kind who will happily eat up anything horror related as long as it is entertaining. I fall into the latter camp. Whether it be a classic film, or even some trashy 80s slasher, I love it all….once again, as long as it is entertaining. That’s the problem with a lot of the corporate remakes from the last decade or so, they ignore making an entertaining movie in order to please the suits.
What does this have to with anything? Well, think of it as my segue way to talk about Troma movies. Troma is one of the most well-known purveyors of independent cinema. Probably most well-known for The Toxic Avenger and its sequels, Troma has been pushing out trash for 40 years steadily. Some of it is indeed instantly forgettable, but when they get it right it becomes an instant cult classic. Some great examples would be the aforementioned Toxie flicks, Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead, Surf Nazis Must Die, Cannibal!: The Musical, Terror Firmer and Class Of Nuke ‘Em High. Which leads us to today’s review.
For the past few years Troma has put together what might be considered their new magnum opus, Return to Nuke ‘Em High. After an apparent suggestion from Quentin Tarantino himself, they made the decision to split the film into two. At this year’s Shock Stock one of my first stops was at the Troma booth run by the awesome Ron and Cathy Mackay. I immediately picked up a Blu Ray copy of the film. I should also mention that Ron has a role in the film as Coach Sandusky. If you catch the reference in the name, good on ya.
Let’s talk a little about the film itself. As all good Troma movies do, the film takes place in Tromaville. And the rest of the plot is kinda paper thin. After a Taco Tuesday at Tromaville High, one of the nerdy kids dies from the toxic ingredients, which eventually leads to the incredibly hated Glee Club being mutated into Cretins. Basically the plot is there as a backdrop for some good ol’ fashioned Troma humor, political incorrectness and parodies. But really, are there actually people out there who watch Troma movies for the plot and story?
We all know Troma movies are bad and fun at the same time. It’s just really a matter of balancing the two properly. I can safely say that this is one of the better movies that Lloyd Kaufman has ever put together. Much was made after the release of Poultrygeist that he had lost what made his films so great. But it becomes clear as you watch Return that the man is still at the top of his game.
The acting is far better than most films of its ilk, with most of the actors clearly knowing what they are in and being a part of the joke. I think part of what makes the film so much fun and endearing is knowing that everyone who took part is clearly having a great time not only being part of the movie, but taking part in a Troma film. Where else can you find a movie where a line like “Kill all women with giant penises” is delivered with a straight face?
And of course there are some great cameos, ranging from the expected like Toxie himself in the background of a party scene, to the almighty Lemmy himself as the frickin’ President Of The United States. Which leads me to say, if it is good enough for Lemmy then how can you argue that it isn’t good enough for you?
Really, the only downside I can see and point out is that we don’t get the full story. While I am nowhere near being against sequels, I have never been a fan of separating one film into two volumes. It’s why I don’t care for Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films, and why I don’t hold Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies in the highest regard either. I know we live in an age of wanting to make maximum profit, but it still sucks when you are left with a cliffhanger like this one ends with.
Now I should probably mention that if you aren’t a fan of dumb and fun movies, you may not enjoy this one. But if you aren’t opposed to lesbian relationships, nudity, over the top violence and not being afraid of mocking anyone and everyone, then Return To Nuke ‘Em High Volume One is right up your alley. All I can say now is, I absolutely cannot wait for Volume Two. If it is even half as good as this one, we are in for quite a treat.
You can grab a copy from anywhere that isn’t afraid to stock awesome movies, or go straight to the source and grab a copy from Anchor Bay here.