Viking Night: Class of Nuke 'Em High
By Bruce Hall
January 14, 2014
It seemed like such a great idea - a post-apocalyptic horror-comedy set inside a typical suburban high school. There, despite the end of the world, life goes on like normal - except with mutant biker gangs whose brutal grip on society is enforced by sex-crazed Pat Benatar lookalikes. Of course, this is because our movie is set in the 1980s, widely considered the heyday of the Mutant Biker Gang. Throw in a talent-free but mostly easy on the eyes cast, a super low budget, even lower expectations, and by God you’ve got possibilities. Unfortunately, this is not the movie I am reviewing today. Class of Nuke ‘Em high bypasses the apocalypse and instead becomes a sort of clumsy, hysterical satire of nuclear power.
That’s would be okay, except that it never really works put the way it’s meant to. Social satire is fine, but when it’s poorly informed and executed it comes across as lazy and dumb, which tends to undermine your message. The movie does a little better (but not much) when it takes a stab at one obvious high school trauma/teenage hangup or another. But in a film whose production values are on par with that third grade Christmas play where you wet your pants on stage, you can’t really expect the screenplay to be a strong point - and it’s not. I try to walk a fine line when writing about cheap, sleazy movies made for teenage boys, because when you set your bar that low it doesn’t take much to clear it. It shouldn’t be that hard to make a nuclear teenage marijuana sex romp, but I’m man enough to admit when I was wrong.
So, we all know that nuclear power plants are dangerous, right? If you live, work, or go to high school anywhere near one, you will eventually obviously get cancer and die. Or if you’re lucky, you’ll only mutate into a crazed, sub-humanoid freak with an insatiable hunger for delicious human flesh. This much is obvious. What you probably didn’t know is that the people who run nuclear power plants give exactly half of one rat’s ass about you, your family or your precious genitals. This is why there are no rules or regulations of any kind at nuclear power plants. This allows them to dump their glowing green death-slime into the water supply, where it makes its way to our schools and into the bodies of our precious children, leading to that whole “flesh eating sub-humanoid freak” thing.
Okay, fine. I can accept this.