Movie Review – Return to Nuke ‘Em High, Volume 1 (2014)

Return to Nuke ‘Em High, Volume 1
Directed by Lloyd Kaufman
Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release Date: March 18, 2014


Buckle your seat-belts, Troma fans! The infamous Lloyd Kaufman is back with a new addition to the Troma family, and let me tell you: it’s a blast!! Chocked full of the low-budget / high-craziness fun that you’ve come to expect from Kaufman’s empire, RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH VOLUME 1 is beyond outrageous and a worthy follow-up to the original film, 1986’s CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH. If you’re any kind of fan of Kaufman or Troma, you will absolutely love this film!

If you are not familiar with RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH VOLUME 1, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment:

Return to Nuke ‘Em High Vol. 1, directed by cult movie legend Lloyd Kaufman, is a satirical sci-fi comedy event film with themes ripped straight from today’s headlines: the contamination and degradation of the world’s food supply, rampant bullying, love triumphing over prejudice. Nuke ‘Em is in the same vein as other classics such as Class of 1984, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, and Carrie, but seen through the unique vision of Lloyd Kaufman and the Troma Team. Welcome to Tromaville High School where, unfortunately, the glee club has mutated into a vicious gang of Cretins. Chrissy and Lauren, two innocent bloggers, must fight not only the Cretins, mutants and monsters but also the evil Tromorganic Foodstuffs Conglomerate. Will they save Tromaville High School and the world? Find out in this brand-new, unhinged classic from beloved Troma Films!

I saw the original CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH a long time ago, way back in 1988 or so, on VHS, and I loved it. There was so much campy but well done gore and a zany storyline that kept me cringing as I laughed. I knew from that point on that I was a Troma-fan.

RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH VOLUME 1 is an epic return to those 80s-style films. Kaufman has truly outdone himself with this one. Watching this film made my mind drift back to those golden days, and I actually found myself in a state of euphoric nostalgia as the movie progressed.

The film is shot in the standard Troma-style: it looks good overall, but you can tell right away it’s a low-budget feature. This is not a bad thing, either; in fact, it’s a testament to how well Kaufman can use a minuscule budget. This is an art form that he has perfected over the years, and it is one of the reasons for his success.

The acting is pretty good, but the special effects win me over here. There’s a ton of gore, and it all looks like high-budget stuff. From melting bodies and faces to detached members to mutant ducks, there’s a little bit of everything (literally) in this movie…and it all looks great, especially when you consider the budget the crew had to work with. I am particularly impressed with the melting body effects in the opening scene; gruesome and cringe-worthy, these could be in an Eli Roth film!

If you’re not a fan of Troma films already, you might not enjoy RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH VOLUME 1. It is certainly not a film for everyone. It is raunchy and darkly comedic, therefore some folks might be offended or put off by its tone. But if you’re willing to give it a look, I highly recommend doing so. Troma is renowned for it’s uniqueness, and that is part of what draws fans like me. The film is available now in a variety of formats, but be sure to check it out on Blu-ray; there’s a bunch of behind-the-scenes Special Features that you’ll want to watch.


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