This typically bargain-basement production from Troma – the no-frills company who brought us the cult Toxic Avenger movies – follows a bunch of kids from Tromaville High School in New Jersey who suffer radiation mutation from a spillage at the local nuclear plant (which makes the one in The Simpsons look like a model of health and safety).
Paley (R L Ryan) is the blustery Boss Hogg-style chief of the Tromaville Nuclear Utility. He’s the type of bureaucrat who’s more concerned about keeping the plant running than keeping the citizens of Tromaville alive.
One day, a pipe bursts at the plant and the leaking pea-green slime contaminates the water supply at the school a quarter of a mile away.
A nerd named Dewy (Arthur Lorenz) drinks from a water fountain, then turns psychopathic and tries to strangle a fellow student before diving out a window and melting away to a skeleton.
Paley refuses to admit a connection, but cheerleader Chrissy Murphy (Janelle Brady) thinks the nuclear plant has something to do with Dewy’s death as well as the Cretins’ transformation. She and her boyfriend, Warren (Gilbert Brenton), think something’s up, but before they can do anything about it, they’re caught up in a radioactive nightmare.
The monstrously mutated students become the targets of an abominable gang calling themselves The Cretins – a gang of vicious, motorcycle-riding punks who used to be the school’s brains, the honor society.
Yes, it’s awfully acted, insanely scripted and cluelessly directed, but criticising a Troma movie is somewhat pointless since they don’t pretend to produce anything other than sick, silly, slimy entertainment for beered-up horror fans.
Highlights include a Cretin girl in red stiletto heels doing the flamenco on the groin of a guy who won’t buy the atomic marijuana she’s pushing; the head of a Cretin guy being ripped from his shoulders and hurled down the hallway like a bowling ball by a porcupine-ish dragon, and a radioactive fetus spontaneously aborted by the film’s heroine.
Inferior sequels followed in 1991 (Class of Nuke ’Em High 2: Subhumanoid Meltdown), 1994 (Class of Nuke ‘Em High Part 3: The Good, the Bad and the Subhumanoid), 2013 (Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1) and 2017 (Return to Return to Nuke ‘Em High Aka Vol. 2).
R L Ryan
James Nugent Vernon
Richard W Haines