In the 1980s, in the midst of the Cold War between Russia and the US, there was nothing more feared than an all-out nuclear war among the two countries. This provided plenty of film fodder for directors, from Nicholas Meyer’s dramatic television film “The Day After”, to the not-well-received Fox sitcom “Woops”. Yeah, I didn’t even know about that one. One to hop on the post apocalyptic train was writer/director Lloyd Kaufman. In 1986 he produced the comedy “Class of Nuke ‘Em High”, which was about a school near a nuclear power plant. A local gang called The Cretins began selling marijuana that grew within the radioactive waste near the plant and, when ingested, the nuked plant began mutation the kids. Comedy ensues, and the film becomes a huge B-movie cult hit. It did spawn two sequels, but neither fared as well as the original. For years Kaufman had promised his fans he’d do another Nuke ‘Em film, but it was never done. Until now.
Kaufman returns to Tromaville High with “Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1”, a sort-of reboot of his original film. Instead of mutated pot, the school is being supplied lunches by Tromaganic Foodstuffs. The CEO of the company, Lee Harvey Herzkauf (Lloyd Kaufman) is hoping to rid Tromaganics of the tainted food during the popular “Taco Tuesdays” at the school. What they don’t foresee is school writer Chrissy (Asta Paredes), whose popular blog “Pollution Nerdz” finds out what the company is up to. Chrissy wants to expose the corrupt CEO, but has no solid evidence. As the kids tear into the radioactive tacos, the mutations begin, and the plot sort of peters out. Being a B-movie that moves along fairly quickly, plot isn’t really that important anyway. And with a second volume already in the works, it will hopefully get better.
There are plenty of commentaries on the blu-ray release, as well as a teaser trailer for Volume 2, and a brief montage of Kaufman’s 40 year film history (including “Toxic Avenger!”). Even if you lose interest in the film, the added features are interesting to see.
“Return To Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1” is now available on Blu-ray.
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