Since the 80’s, riotous independent studio Troma has dumped their cinematic equivalent of toxic waste all over the landscape, getting into the faces of their audience with their trademark balance of goofy sweetness and vehemently Un-PC chaos like a shit coated toddler that’s been brainwashed to offend as much as it can. Building up a loyal fanbase with fucked up but fun titles such as The Toxic Avenger, Class Of Nuke ‘Em High, Tromeo And Juliet and Terror Firmer, Troma has managed to cultivate it’s audience with a certain amount of skill but oddly enough it’s sequel game is not really that strong; which is strange, considering that sequels are just bigger versions of what’s come before and Troma is a studio not usually held back by such silly restrictions such as restraint… Yet the first two Toxic Avenger sequels, despite being noticably bigger in scale and still containing that questionable sense of humour we all love (blind pensioners getting machine gunned, dwarf mutilation and some good natured urophilia involving Satan), seemed just… well, silly and lacked that hard edge that all superior Troma movies seem to have. Would this continuation of Troma’s other radiation obsessed franchise, the magnificently titled Class Of Nuke ‘Em High Part II: Subhumanoid Meltdown, go down the same path? Does a giant, irradiated squirrel shit in the woods?
After being rebuilt by the Nukamama Corporation after exploding years earlier as a way of saying sorry, the Tromaville nuclear power plant now has a new college incorporated inside of it. The Tromaville Institute of Technology (some low hanging fruit of an acronym there…) is supposed to help the good students of Tromaville prepare themselves for a world of obvious boob jokes and random chaos that seem to plague their day to day lives, but in the bowels of the facility, Professor Holt (she of the Marge Simpson conquering hairdo) has been toiling over creating a new form of life known as “Subhumanoids” who sport all the emotions of a lamp and are destined to perform all the menial tasks humans can’t be arsed to do.
Enter school reporter Roger Smith, who then enters a school study which allows him to get laid by entering Victoria, a subhumanoid programmed for sex, who – like all of her kind – feature the rather alarming mod-con of having a set of rubbery, Marilyn Munroe lips where her belly button should be.
Falling in love with this scantily clad mutant, Smith stumbles across this genetic conspiracy and tries to expose Holt, the college’s permanently sweating and screechy voiced Dean Orka and his army of street punks, The Squirrels; but it eventually turns out that the subhumanoids have a pretty major design flaw and the beings have an alarming tendency to go into spontaneous meltdown leaving a little, furry, fang-faced creature snarling in a pile of green goo. Determined to save his multi-mouthed, lady love, Roger sets out to save Victoria from her gooey fate, but first he and the long suffering people of Tromaville will have to attempt to survive the rampage of Tromie, a giant, Godzilla-sized mutant squirrel who stomps, pukes and pisses it’s way through the power plant like a violent case of the runs…
To some of of you – oh, let’s face it, most of you – having me debate the differences between a good or bad Troma movie is like me mansplaining about the difference between having a good or bad case of explosive diarrhoea while waiting in line at Macdonald’s, but there’s method to my madness and it’s usually based upon how juvenile Troma wants to be with any given movie – unfortunately, most of their output in the late 80’s/early 90’s seemed to set that juvenile dial to “very” which diluted their stupidly edgy comedies to having all the bite of an episode of Muppet Babies.
Not that’s not to say that their usual, irreverent, anti-establishment style isn’t in full effect (this IS still a movie where a baby is flung around in a game of catch) but the six (fucking six!!!) credited scriptwriters can’t seem to put a single coherent joke together and seem to equate being overly meta about how bad the movie is all the time as genuinely funny (hint: it’s not) and even has a moment where the film has to be stopped because The Toxic Avenger has wandered in from another set.
Obviously, this being another R rated enterprise from good old Lloyd Kaufman (not directing this time), you can expect a fair bit of casually nudity too but while the film unsurprising features more close ups of round, jiggling, bikini clad bottoms in a single film than the entirety of the Fast And Furious franchise; it seems to have quite a serious case of Mazophilia and is obsessed with people saying the term “melon heavy breasts” whenever they can – but then what do you expect from a film that features a dude handing out prophylactics bidding everyone “Boner appertit”?
On the other hand, it’s all (un)clean fun that doesn’t require an iota of thought that features scrappy but fun effects and enough colourful chaos crammed into every frame to keep Troma devotees entertained enough to willingly hurl a hour and a half of precious lifespan into the void, but the theme tune is legitimately catchy and the debut of Tromie as he rages through Tromaville like one of Toho’s finest is actually a lot of fun.
Mentioning the performances in a film like this is as the characterization deliberately has all the consistency of a wet fart (Roger initially can’t get laid because he has B.O. is one such example that will have David Mamet sleeping like a baby) but the improbably named ex-bodybuilder Brick Bronsky, clad in a hot pink muscle shirt and audacious bleach blonde mullet, is sweet enough and Troma regular Lisa Gaye does well to deliver porn movie style exposition while tottering under a 3 foot hairdo.
Despite my rating, it’s worth bringing up that all the flaws and problems present in this movie are actually by design thanks to either lack of talent, budget, or simply because the filmmakers have strong desire to take the piss and to take this deliberately idiotic comedy serious would be a hideous and baffling mistake; but it has energy to spare and for better or worse, it is pretty unique.
However, even by Troma standards, these Subhumanoids remain sub par.