Class of Nuke 'Em High: Unrated Director's Cut (Gryphon) (1986)

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Released 22-Sep-2010

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Cult Audio Commentary-Director Lloyd Kaufman
Deleted Scenes-Scenes We Thought We Lost
Featurette-Extra Curricular Activities - 6 Featurettes
Trailer-Troma Trailers x 5
Gallery-Photo-Nuke'em High Fear Book
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1986
Running Time 82:27
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Richard W. Haines
Michael Herz
Lloyd Kaufman
Studio
Distributor
Troma Team
Gryphon Entertainment
Starring Janelle Brady
Gil Brenton
Robert Prichard
Pat Ryan
James Nugent Vernon
Brad Dunker
Gary Schneider
Théo Cohan
Gary Rosenblatt
Mary Taylor
Rick Howard
Lauren Heather McMahon
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $14.95 Music Ethan Hurt
Michael Lattanzi


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, a nuclear joint
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Tromaville High School is a normal American high school with normal American teens including sweethearts virginal Chrissy (Janelle Brady) and handsome Warren (Gilbert Brenton); except it just happens that the school is sited right beside a nuclear power plant. And from the plant radioactive waste is leaking which creates some interesting personality changes among the students. The clean cut honour society have become the punk motorcycle gang the Cretins, all leather, body piercing and tattoos led by Spike (Robert Prichard) who terrorise the other students. When the water in the bubbler turns green, and one student spews green foam, black bile sprays from his ears and he leaps to his death from an upper story classroom with his face disintegrating, it is clear that something is not quite right at Tromaville High. Of course, the plant manager asserts “nuclear power is safe”.

     The Cretins also sell joints made from weed that grows very quickly in the waste ground at the nuclear power plant. At a party Chrissy and Warren smoke a joint. There are two results: one is that Chrissy gets sexually aroused and makes love to Warren at the party; the other is that later that night both Warren and Chrissy start to experience serious hallucinations and body shape changes. In the coming days, Warren periodically gains superhuman strength and a puffy disfigured body, while Chrissy becomes nine months pregnant and vomits a worm like creature into the toilet. This creature grows into a radioactive monster in the fall out shelter beneath Tromaville High, where it will play a vital part in the climax as the Cretins trash the school and abduct Chrissy.

     Welcome to the three “R”s; Readin’, Writin’ and Radiation with the Class of Nuke ’em High. Fans of Troma will know what to expect; gratuitous violence and nudity, body piercing, blood and gore and bad taste humour. One could add wooden acting in which the dialogue is delivered as if it were declaimed off a cue card, cheap special effects (this was in the days before CGI), shoddy stunts (none of the punches even come close to connecting) and a plot that introduces characters then ignores them. One female actor had one scene in which she played a major part, but apparently on the way to the set the next day she was in a car crash. Her scenes remain in the film, but she just disappears without explanation. But don’t get me wrong; Class of Nuke ’em High is classic Troma: over the top and very entertaining.

     In reality Class of Nuke ’em High is less extreme than some other Troma productions. There is not the totally excessive gratuitous violence or nudity and the film does contain a very potent anti-nuclear and anti capitalist message that would not be out of place today. It is also highly entertaining. If Troma films are indeed an acquired taste, Class of Nuke ’em High is a good place for the uninitiated to start. Fans, of course, will need no urging.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Class of Nuke ’em High is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33.1 and is not16x9 enhanced. The original theatrical ratio is listed as 1.85:1 but I could not really see too many scenes that appeared cropped.

     This is a standard Troma print. There are frequent scratches, dirt marks, some quite large, excessive grain and reel change markers. The film also paused for a fraction of a second on a number of occasions, including 23:52, 26:11, 30:58 and 55:28. Although brief, the pauses were noticeable.

     The entire picture is soft and lacking detail. Sharpness is only reasonable while colours and skin tones, although muted and on the bright side, were OK. Blacks were fine although shadow detail was often indistinct. Probably just as well to hide the dodgy puppet monster effects.

     There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track at 384 Kbps that is functional and gets the job done. This is a mono track as all sounds emanated from the centre speaker.

     Dialogue was clear, except for the actor playing Gonzo (Brad Dunker) who had to speak his lines through face rings and a mouthguard, so was deliberately indistinct. The music and effects were predictably flat. There was no surround or sub use.

     Lip synchronisation is fine.

     The rock music score by Michael Lattanzi supported by songs from the likes of Stormbringer, GMT and Smithereens was an effective adjunct to the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     The cover of the DVD is misleading when it lists special features. For example, it lists a “New Commentary by Theo Pingarelli, Special Effects and Miniatures Creator” which is fact 38 seconds long, and a “ New Picture Commentary by Robert and Jennifer Prichard” which is 5:26 minutes; both are included under the “Extra Curricular Activities” section.

Commentary by Lloyd Kaufman

     This commentary does not appear on the extras menu. Select from the remote “audio” or access through the “scenes” menu. Kaufman delivers a tongue-in-cheek but interesting commentary covering a number of aspects of the production, various actors, the use of Troma staff in scenes, and saving money through blatant product placement. Not his usual exuberant persona but well worth a listen.

Scenes We Thought We Lost During the Chernobyl Disaster

     Seven scenes (7:03 in total), mostly extended scenes but none particularly important:

Nuke’em High Fear Book

     17 movie and behind the scenes stills. Silent screen, use the remote to advance.

Extra Curricular Activities (19:41)

    Includes the following featurettes

Coming DVD Distractions

     Trailers for other Troma titles: Class of Nuke ’em High Part 2: Subhumanoid Meltdown (2:55), The Good, The Bad, and the Subhumanoid: Nuke ’em High 3 (2:26), Class of Nuke’em High (2:55), The Toxic Avenger (3:10) and Tromeo & Juliet (2:12).

Troma Interactivity

     Although on the DVD cover and the menu, this feature which includes the Troma Intelligence Test and Tour of Troma Studios cannot be accessed from the menu. It is however on the DVD; use the remote to access the chapters.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 0 US edition seems to have the same video, audio and extras as our version, but includes the Troma Interactive stuff missing from ours. There is also a Region 1 US version which includes some of the extras, but is supposed to have a commentary with Robert Prichard, Jennifer Pritchard, Lloyd Kaufman and Theo Pingarelli. However, given the people listed this may be stitched together from the extras we do have. It seems hardly worthwhile importing the US editions. Call it a draw.

Summary

     If Troma films are indeed an acquired taste Class of Nuke ’em High is less extreme than other Troma films and so is good place for the uninitiated to start. But it is a Troma film and so does have gratuitous violence and nudity, body piercing, blood and gore, bad taste humour but adds a very potent anti-nuclear and anti capitalist message. It is also highly entertaining.

     The video and audio are what one expects of Troma. The extras are worthwhile, although not as extensive as the DVD cover would suggest.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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