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WRITTEN REVIEW: Class of Nuke Em High Part 2: Subhumonoid Meltdown

Following my review of Class of Nuke Em High in Podcast 157, I though it best to take a look at the next installment of the Nuke Em High franchise, Class of Nuke Em High Part 2: Subhumanoid Meltdown -- recently released on BLU-RAY -- proving that the key to Troma's continual success lays in the length of their films titles...or perhaps not. Let's find out.

Our tale begins with The Nukamama Corporation who has rebuilt the Tromaville Nuclear Power Plant and Tromaville has now recovered from the events of the first film. With Nukamama's interest in aiding the minds of the local youth by building a nearby Junior College – Tromaville Institute of Technology, the Nuclear Regulitory Commission forgave the mishaps that lead to the the monster attack and destruction of Tromaville High School – a.k.a Nuke Em High.

This new nuclear reactor was operated entirely by the Tromaville Institute of Technology – or T.I.T. for short, and overlooked by Dean Okra who is assisted by Professor Holt, Lisa Gaye, the president of the science department. We learn all this from the opening sequence of the film, which is narrated to us by Roger Smith as we are lead on a tour of the grounds.

Roger Smith, Brick Bronsky, is a student of T.I.T., as well as a promising young reporter who writes for the schools paper. He's hunky, straight laced and his B.O. keeps the ladies away. As a result, he resorts to answering an ad in the school paper that advertises a paying sex experiment. Sure the experiment could result in some unexpected consequences, but hey, he gets payed $8 for sex.

Once at the experiment, which is being conducted by Professor Holt, Roger is assigned a room where he meets Victoria. Victory and Roger begin having sex and it quickly becomes one of the most mind blowing experiences of Roger's live. But there is something strange about Victoria. She has a mouth where her bellybutton should be. Yes, this woman has three sets of lips – Hey-oh!.

As it turns out, Victoria is a sub-humaniod. A genetically grown human-like creature.

Now that's how I like my women -- unconscious and vometing.

The whole while Roger and Victoria knock boots, they are being observed by Professor Holt and Dean Okra. As they watch, we learn that Holt has been researching and experimenting with sub-humanoids for years. The T.I.T. grounds have hidden away some of Holt's more primitive creations, which are shown as stop-motion human/animal hybrids. The sub-humanoids have a short lifespan and Holt is trying to learn what causes them to “meltdown”. This research somehow involves Roger and Victoria's sex.

Okra on the other hand is working in the interests of the Nukamama Corporation. He is their hired figurehead at T.I.T.. Holt's research will be exploited to capitalize in the labor market. The Nukamama Corporation wants Holt's sub-humanoids to replace humans in the field of manual labor. They wouldn't have to pay workers, or for their benefits and they could send them into potentially hazardous locations because, after all, they aren't people. In Victoria's case, she is being tested for the sex-slavery business.

Roger can't get over what an amazing time he had with Victoria and over the next few days he tries to find her – he has fallen in love. As he searches, Roger takes notice to the disturbing amount of freshmen who are spontaneously “melting down”. Some of the sub-humanoids have been given to a group of roughians who inhabit the school. This gang, known as The Squirrels, are much like The Cretins from the first film as they terrorize the students at T.I.T.. They also have been selected to be Okra's muscle when he needs it and as a reward, Okra has assigned several sub-humanoids to the care of Yolk, the leader of The Squirrels. Yolk constantly abuses his sub-humanoid subjects to the point they meltdown.

As Roger investigates, he learns that, SURPRISE! The film is interrupted with a cameo by the Toxic Avenger -- the hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength – Troma's mainstay and mascot. In a scene that is meta as all hell, Toxie wonders onto the wrong movie set, interrupting everything. The “director” has to call cut and send Toxie away before the events of Class of Nuke Em High Part 2 can resume. Not a terrible gag, just one what isn't seeded in a film that is barraged with this type of interruption.

Anyhow, as Roger investigates, he finds Victoria being used as a janitor and the two reunite. Roger discovers that she is a sub-humanoid and she begins to express emotions. Something that sub-humanoids shouldn't be capable of.

During this time Roger also meets...well, he meets...a blob thing. After another sub-humanoid melts down, a bearded green head floats out of the goo. The blob tacks down Roger to tell him what has been going on. He, or it, explains all about the sub-humanoids, Holt's experiments and Okra's secret agenda.

And what is Roger to do with this information? Well, what any respecting journalist would do. He prints it in the Troma Tech Times. The news catches the attention of the student body and lead by Roger and the Blob, they storm the reactor to take back control of the school and ring an end to Okra.

The lost art of forced perspective.

Meanwhile, some hazardous nuclear waste is carelessly disposed of and is consumed by an ordinary squirrel which then grows to the size of Godzilla and begins wrecking the school.

Now Roger must fight to survive against The Squirrels, while dodging the attacks of the nuclear squirrel monster in an attempt to save Victoria.

In the end, Orka and the Squirrels are vanquished. Victoria is saved by Roger and their love proves to be the key to preventing her own meltdown. Or that's how it should have ended. Instead Holt gives Roger an antidote that conveniently presents itself at the very end of the film with no explanation at all.

And as for the giant mutant squirrel, authorities lead it away...to East Tromaville. The End.

My problem with this film...well, I have an entire lost of problems that I have with this film.

Why do the sub-humanoids have mouths where their bellybuttons belong? Why is the gang of cretins named The Squirrels? Is this somehow related to the squirrel that becomes mutated and destroys the school? Couldn't they just be called The Cretins? After all it seemed to work in the first film. Why is the theme song played so damn often? Is this movie about genetic testing, or human cloning, or corporate greed or slavery? Don't we already know that these things are generally bad – especially in the case of slavery? Does any of this make sense?

There is no restraint. The film looks like it was shot on the set of a bikini calendar shoot during Halloween. There is little rhyme or reason to any of the characters clothing, other than, girls in bikinis are good and it's set to a nuclear backdrop, so weird is also good. Anything that could classify as being between those two extremes is rendered dead on arrival. I know Troma likes to be goofy and exaggerate reality, but this is too cartoon-ish for their own good.

The first Class of Nuke Em High film had a small gang of Cretins who terrorized what could be considered normal teens. There is nothing normal about anyone in Class of Nuke Em High Part 2.

Clothing isn't the only area where restraint should have been applied. The writing is more concerned with hammering home it's social commentary (which becomes redundant fast), setting up cheap and forgettable gags and reminding us all that we are watching a Troma movie with the use of in-jokes that are worthy of a giant mutant face-palm. The story creeps along, at times seeing non existent, with little time spent developing the characters.

I think the reason Class of Nuke Em High has such a poor story is attributed to the fact that it had six writers. Yes, the number “6”. How could they possibly have created a final product with any form of vision? There are just too many cooks in the kitchen.

As I watched, I kept thinking to myself, why didn't they just do this?, or do that?. It tries to be Spaceballs with its humor, but unfortunately it doesn't have the talent. This movie could have been good but, it just isn't.

The acting is par for Troma – not good, but not bad and often intentionally awkward with “poorly” dubbed dialogue. The special effects are top notch however and easily the highlight of the film. There are more sub-humnoid meltdowns, more stop-motion creatures, and more “melon heavy breasts” than you can shake a stick at. Both of the male and female varieties.

Class of Nuke Em High HD transfer with color correction.

The Class of Nuke Em High Part 2 BLU-RAY release stands out against it's previous DVD release – which I suspect was nothing more than a transfer from VHS. It has been restored and color corrected to full HD quality.

The special features include the Museum of Modern Art premiere of Return of Nuke Em High Vol. 1 and an exclusive interview with Troma alumni and Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn in which he discusses the future of indie filmmaking. There is also a commentary featuring actress Lisa Gaye, several music videos and of course such Troma standards as the Radiation March and Troma-tic Trailers.

While this BLU-RAY release is certainly worth the money, I can't quite get behind the film itself. But hey, who am I to judge. Perhaps the humor isn't my cup of tea and you wonderful people out there will just love Class of Nuke Em High Part 2.


★ ½