Kind of a Revenge Of The Nerds film gone wrong, the two Killer Nerd films from the early nineties play off as goofy homages to teen comedies and bad slasher films.
The Killer Nerd
Toby Radloff (from the Oscar nominated American Splendor) got his start playing Harold Kunkle, a nerd who is continually harassed by some local hooligans. There's no escape from the ridicule he is subjected to, even at work. When Harold falls in love with one of his co-workers, he decides to spring for a tape that guarantees to teach him how to be cool.
After completing his cool lessons, he works up the courage to head on over to his beloved's house, but when he arrives, he finds her making out with another co-worker. This doesn't sit well with him, so he heads downtown to party with some local hoochies. Things are going ok until the hoochies' friends show up and turn out to be the very same group of nogoodniks that were picking on him in the first part of the film. Harold snaps, and exacts his bloody revenge.
The Bride Of The Killer Nerd
After the horrific events of the first film, Harold Kunkle has relocates to a new city to lay low and start anew. He finds a kindred spirit when he meets a local high school girl who is the subject of ridicule for most of her classmates. When they hook up at church one day, they really hit it off and begin a whirlwind romance.
Things take a turn for the worse though when her classmates set up Kunkle and his new lady-friend. They invite them both to a party only to humiliate her, but Kunkle will have none of that and he and his woman team up to take down the ignorant.
Neither of these films are good movies. They're cheaply made, full of bad dialogue, one-dimensional characters, and poor special effects. Radloff is just bizarre enough in the lead role to pull it off though, and it is his unusual performance that makes this pair worth a watch for those with a taste for b-movies. His performances are so cliché that you can't help but laugh at him, or at his character's predicaments and when he gets his revenge, you really do want him to pull it off.
Aside from Radloff though, these are typical bad horror-comedy hybrids. The gore is minor save for one or two scenes and there isn't much going on in the way of stylish cinematography or fancy lighting techniques. From a visual standpoint, both entries, while reasonably competent, are quite dull.
Although Lloyd Kaufman once again lauds this as a lovingly remastered DVD, the video isn't anything to write home about. Most of that is probably due to the condition of the source materials used and the low budget conditions under which the film was made, but there is some shimmering and some edge enhancement as well as a noticeable amount edge enhancement throughout the film. It does look better than previous VHS releases ever did though, and it is perfectly watchable even if it doesn't look great.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 track is unremarkable but sufficient. There is some hiss in the background during a few scenes and some of the sound is a bit muffled but overall, the dialogue is clear and easy to understand. Considering the non-existent budget of these films, it sounds about as good as one can realistically expect.
Troma has dug up a few goodies to include on this release. Star Toby Radloff and writer/director Alan Harold are on hand to provide commentaries over both films. While neither of these tracks are going to turn you into professional filmmakers overnight or enlighten you as to the artistic merits of move making, they are rather amusing, especially when Radloff starts to go off about certain things as the film progresses. There are a few dry spots where neither participant seems to have anything to say, but these are few and far between and for the most part, these tracks are a lot of fun.
Aside from the two commentaries, Uncle Lloyd and company have dug deep to find an interview with Radloff that runs about seven minutes in which he speaks his mind about the work he did on these two films. There's also a brief minute and a half clip of Lloyd and Radloff from Akron, Ohio which is mostly comprised of Radloff spouting famous movie lines in his own bizarre way.
Aside from that, we get a monotonous introduction from Kaufman that plays for seven minutes at the beginning of the first film, and then again at the beginning of the second film. Luckily you can skip this easily enough with your remote, but because I suffered though it I did notice Lloyd had a mug from the University that my mother graduated from on his desk, and was also rewarded with some totally unnecessary nudity. There are four trailers for other Troma films included on the disc, as well as promo spots for Make Your Own Damn Movie and Webmonkey's Bananas in addition to a video for a band called Purple Pam for a song called Kick In The Head that was directed by Kaufman.
The commentary tracks are fun and the movies are oddly appealing. Toby Radloff is a lot of fun in the lead and while the movies are pretty much bottom of the barrel entertainment, they do have their own special kind of retarded charm. If Troma's brand of schlock appeals to you, you might want to check out The Killer Nerd/Bride Of The Killer Nerd, otherwise, I'd rent it first.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.