RETURN TO NUKE EM HIGH VOL. 1
**** Out of 5
Tagline- Readin, Writin, Radiation, Again
Release Date- June 30th, 2013 (Limited)
Running Time- 85-Minutes
Screenplay- Travis Campbell, Derek Dressler & Lloyd Kaufman
Director- Lloyd Kaufman
Starring- Asta Paredes, Catherine Corcoran, Clay von Carlowitz, Stefan Dezil, Zac Amico and Lloyd Kaufman
When it comes to Troma Entertainment I don’t think people fully realize sometimes just what Lloyd Kaufman pulled off with his low budget studio. I suppose the films of Troma are an acquired taste. They aren’t meant to be good films in the traditional sense as they’re silly with cartoonish violence and gore with absurd plots and in some cases perhaps even offensive to some. When you go back to the 30s with Poverty Row, which despite what some people think wasn’t an actual studio, but a slang term for low budget studios. Despite some success all the Poverty Row studios folded. AIP, Cannon and Film Ventures all closed their doors and even big studios such as New Line Cinema folded (New Line is now owned by Warner Brothers). But yet Troma was able to carry on and while the studio may have run into financial troubles they still stayed in operation. Lloyd Kaufman as a director will never be mistaken for Martin Scorsese, but Kaufman, like his studio is highly influential and filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino was inspired by Lloyd Kaufman. There’s a good reason why Troma stayed in business when other studios closed down and there’s good reason why Lloyd Kaufman is cult icon and influential filmmaker.
I can’t remember when I first got into Troma, but it was in the 80s or early part of the 90s and I would watch their films on a regular basis, but over the years I did sort of lose touch with Troma and it was back around 2003 when I saw Terror Firmer and Tromeo and Juliet and after that I again lost touch and here we are with Return to Nuke Em High, which was released in the UK in 2013 and than in NYC on January 10th, 2014 and the marketing was for the 40th Anniversary of the company, which formed 1974.
When a food company sells contaminated food to a nearby high school it turns the glee club into mutant cretins and its up to two girls to stop them.
The screenplay was written by Travis Campbell, Derek Dressler & Lloyd Kaufman and the script is a lot of fun and has a great flow to it. A lot of writers try and channel their inner Troma and more often than not the script feels forced, but again everything here flows naturally. The script is constantly funny and characters are highly entertaining. The script isn’t meant to be taken seriously as its just meant to be fun and from start to finish it very much succeeds.
As director Lloyd Kaufman crafts another Troma classic as the film is well paced and fun throughout. Return to Nuke Em High gets off to a fun start and the fun factor never once let’s up as each scene is as fun as the last the film only runs at 85-minutes (78 if we discount closing credits). As I mentioned about how many writers tried to follow the Troma formula and weren’t very successful the same can be said about many directors. I really wasn’t sure what to expect to be honest as Kaufman is far removed from many of the films that shaped the company, but Lloyd Kaufman can still very much deliver and Return to Nuke Em High Vol. 1 would easily rate in my top 3 Troma films along with the Toxic Avenger and Tromeo and Juliet. Even after all these years since Toxic Avenger and as much as changed in film, Lloyd Kaufman unlike many filmmakers as their career goes on shows he still very much knows what his audience wants to see from nudity to over the top gore and just overall craziness.
Performances are what you’d expect from a Troma film and most of the cast play their roles over the top as meant to be. However Asta Paredes and Catherine Corcoran are simply terrific and both are quite stunningly beautiful as well, but both Paredes and Corcoran were excellent and I’d rate them as the best actresses I’ve seen in a Troma film along with Tiffany Shepis and Debbie Rochon (who has a bit part). But I was very much surprised by how great these two women were in particular Asta Paredes. Also a standout was Stefan Dezil who for the most part plays his role straight, which is even funnier seeing as how absurd everything is. But these three actors were truly wonderful. However the clear standout star was Kevin the Wonder Duck who had me hanging to his every quack. I see special things in Kevin’s future. Perhaps an Oscar? And his chemistry with Catherine Corcoran will never be topped in any film!
Overall Return to Nuke Em High Vol. 1 is a terrific return for Troma as this film has everything Troma fans have come to expect. This one easily rates in my top 3 Troma films and I think fans will very much be pleased with the end result.