While it may have been a few years since we last saw beloved independent horror pioneer Lloyd Kaufman get behind a camera in a directorial capacity, Tromaville’s founding father hasn’t missed a step with his latest. Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1 is an absurdly entertaining slapstick gore-fest that also manages to effectively pass along a timely message or two along the way.
Almost 20 years since we last checked in with the kids of Tromaville High, Return to Nuke ‘Em High finds the latest class of students dealing with the dangers of "going green" when the Tromorganic Foodstuffs company moves into town, pushing their new "green" food on the unsuspecting high schoolers to gauge how the youth of America will react to their products. Of course, there’s more than meets the eye to Tromorganic (headed up by Kaufman himself) and soon enough, Tromaville High has “Gleetins” running amok, students growing oversized penises, cases of duck rape, radioactive tacos- oh and let’s not forget that eternal badass, Lemmy from Motörhead, is playing president too.
Suffice to say, there’s ridiculous and then there’s Troma- and Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1 just might be the beloved brand’s best- and ballsiest- film to date (if you can imagine that). A hilarious and thoughtful social satire that hits all the proverbial Troma beats: there’s tons of nudity, gobs of gooey gore, a steamy love story with some slapstick comedy, outlandish violence and a gaggle of fart jokes thrown in for good measure. For anyone who thought Troma or Kaufman might be going soft after all these years, think again as Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1 proves that no one makes badass B-movies like Uncle Lloydie anymore- and quite possibly, no one ever will either.
For his latest sequel, Kaufman puts his talented leads, Catherine Corcoran and Asta Paredes, through the ringer and both take each and every ridiculous moment like a champ. As relative newcomers to the industry, both Corcoran and Paredes have an uncanny sense for physical comedy that was something of a marvel and their performances were truly top-notch. The rest of the supporting cast members all get their moments in the spotlight too, particularly a raucous glee club group that goes berserk after eating some of Tromorganic’s tacos and break out into song right before they’re about to unleash holy hell on their fellow classmates. Of course, no Troma film would be complete without its star-studded cameos and Return to Nuke ‘Em High features several awesome appearances that prove Troma’s influence isn’t only felt in the cult film world either.
A trashterpiece that perfectly embodies and celebrates everything that Troma Entertainment has stood for in the industry for the last four decades, Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1 delivers with a cavalcade of calculated insanity chock-full of anything you could possibly want in a classic Troma film: buckets of goo, gore and slime galore as well as a razor-sharp social commentary that isn’t afraid to pull punches with a ton of politically incorrect gags and goofball moments to keep the laughs coming from start to finish. While it may not necessarily win over any new Troma fans, Kaufman’s latest is hands down the best film out of Tromaville in a very long time and I can’t wait to see what depths of madness and perversion we’re in for one Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 2 arrives later this year.
Movie Score: 3.5 out of 5