Class of Nuke ‘Em High Part II: Subhumanoid Meltdown (1991)

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This DVD has a short video which plays before the main feature, a sketch about Troma head Lloyd Kaufman doing a “film school” in front of a bunch of fans. As well as seeing full frontal male nudity in the first minute, it also gives you a little flavour of the sort of studio Troma is – the questions are about the huge number of plot holes at the end of part 1, the fact that part 2 isn’t really a sequel, sharing no cast and having a different director, that the director sucked, and so on. Have I mentioned that I love Troma?

Parts 2 and 3 star Brick Bronsky. He’s perhaps very slightly better known as a pro wrestler, working for a number of independent promotions and even running his own for a number of years – but his innocent-looking face is perfect for a lunatic film like this. And after a rather sarcastic recap of the events of the first film, he’s front and centre, as Roger Smith, the one normal student in a community college full of…well, the Cretins from part 1 would have been slightly conservative in a place like this.

Roger is a journalist for the school paper, and is unlucky in love, until he volunteers for a sex experiment and meets Victoria. Now, here’s where things get a bit weird. We’ve seen the future (the entire film is a flashback) so we know there’s giant mutated squirrels and wholesale murder to come…but there’s also a science teacher who’s creating a whole new race of people to be our slaves, the Subhumanoids, and Victoria is one of those. The Principal of the college is funding the Subhumanoids for his Japanese corporate masters, and of course the subhumanoids start going wrong in traditional Troma fashion – Roger uses his journalistic skills to track down what’s really going wrong.

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Ah, if you wanted a poorly written recap you could go to Wikipedia. The main difference between this and part 1 is that this is a comedy, first and foremost. Part 1 was a strange mix of a pretty straightly done radioactive horror movie with teen raunch welded on – this is “let’s throw every joke we have at the wall and see what sticks”; with a subplot which is clearly supposed to be about the working class. The jokes extend to numerous examples of winking at the audience – Roger’s dorm room is covered with posters for other Troma movies, including the original “Class of Nuke Em High”; and the Toxic Avenger himself shows up and starts beating up the cast until the director wanders into shot and tells him his movie is shooting on the far side of the lot. Roger’s exposition device, a portable voice recorder, is a clear reference to the previous year’s “Twin Peaks” too.

Sadly, quite a lot of this movie is a lame sex comedy. Lloyd Kaufman’s earliest films as director were such titles as “The First Turn-On!” and even though Troma only really got going when they turned their hands to horror, those origins show through from time to time. There’s so much bikini-clad and topless female flesh on display that it stops being titilating and just becomes white noise, which isn’t an excuse I guess, but means you’d be really unlikely to watch this film if your interests were T&A.

Add on a fantastic non-ending, much like part 1, one of the greatest theme songs of all time, then a whole bunch of crazy credits, and you’ve got another great Troma film. What gore they have is surprisingly creepy, there’s a ton of jokes, some of which are even good, and everyone plays it way over the top.

Rating: thumbs up

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