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Surf Nazis Must Die!

From Troma, of course! (1987)

By Tom BakerPublished 26 days ago 4 min read

Surf Nazis Must Die! is a pitifully dumb surfer/biker/post-apocalyptic Mad Max psycho thing where a bunch of horrible actors giving rotten performances act out a fantasy wrapped around scenes of dudes catching the waves" in slow motion, to a rather cool industrial and synthesizer soundtrack. It has all the de rigeur plot points and scenes you'd expect from such third-rung cinematic, straight-to-video Eighties offal: badass dudes, psycho women in leather, punky guys with studded wristbands and bad haircutts. Even as sleazy and cheesy as it is, it still, at times, manages to have a curious power, a weird stark heaviness that might just be a curious aftereffect of the soundtrack. Something about the hammering of heavy metal makes for an ominous scene, making things a little more...tubular. Gnarly? What's a good Eighties surfer word?

Adolf (Barry Brenner) is the head of the gang of "Surf Nazis" that rule the beach after a huge earthquake has rendered society a "warzone"; everywhere except for a retirement home, wherein a black woman, Eleanor Washington (Gail Neely) comes dangerously close to being a racial stereotype, as she smokes White Owls and deals blackjack (or poker, or some damn card game). Her son Leroy (Robert Harden), who works at an oil well perilously close to the beautiful waters of the beach (the apocalyptic, post-civilizational setting sure hasn't stopped anyone from donning their bathing suit and trying to catch some rays), is killed by Adolf, who is also at war with the Samurais, and the Pipeliner, and other absurd, outlaw beach combers ripped from the pages of a cheap, B-Grade comic book.

Surf Nazis Must Die (1987) [Jon McCallum]

There's some cool fighting, and a lot of graffiti spraypainted everywhere (including a sort of artsy Swasi set against a PINK background on a flag), and a kid named "Smeg" (a punk name bringing to mind the scene from the novel of American Psycho, where Timothy Bryce comments about his girlfriend's sister's punk boyfriend: "I recall his name then was Lego or something equally adult.") whose mother is Bobbie Breesee, whose breasts turned into beasts in the 1983 cheapo bottom-rung demonic possession flick Mausoleum with evangelist turned Day of the Locust weirdo Marjoe Gortner. Neither one of them has much to do in this picture. Discerning viewers will ask themselves: Why are they here? (I mean the actors. Not the viewer. Although that's probably just as legitimate a question.)

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"Mama" Washington vows revenge, while the Surf Nazis--Mengele (Michael Sonye," a.k.a. "Dukey Flyswatter" from L.A. punk band Haunted Garage), Eva (Dawn Wildsmith), and Brutus (Gene Mitchell), along with Adolf--hang out at a campfire and discuss their plans for world (or at least beach) domination. Mama buys her guns, as well as some grenades, but, in the end, the evil is dispatched not by a conventional weapon. (I suppose I shouldn't have told you that. I'm spilling it, right? But really, there's not much to ruin here.)

It's all colorful. But, it's also predictable and dumb. The dialog and acting are below sub-par. A bunch of skateboard kids say things like, "We're the riders of the Hard Wave," and we're the "Lords of the New Beach." And it all is cringe-worthy stuff. The only real plus here is the soundtrack (which was clearly influenced by Giorgio Moroder's soundtrack to Scarface), by Jon McCallum, which is better, on the whole, than the movie it underscores. Otherwise, it's a nostalgic 1980s or early 90s video store relic of a bygone era. I remember the trailer for Surf Nazis from the This is Horror! with Stephen King special when the video documentary interviewed Lloyd Kaufman on the set of Class of Nuke 'Em High; you know, back in those carefree, fun, and thoroughly TUBULAR times.

But the only surfing I have ever done, personally, is channel surfing.

Hm. Is there anything else? A character named "Hook" wears a bowler cap in a clear nod to A Clockwork Orange (he's only missing a false eyelash), and per his name, he has a "hook" for a hand, but it looks more like one of those weird basket-like serving sticks for that peculiar racquetball game they play down in South America the name of which I can never remember. (Or am I just imagining that that game exists? Let me go check.)

Surf Nazis Must Die - trailer

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About the Creator

Tom Baker

Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.: http://tombakerbooks.weebly.com

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (3)

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock26 days ago

    Hysterically bad.

  • Kendall Defoe 26 days ago

    Good to see this masterpiece getting some love!

  • Love the image and concept of this, and some of the Troma stuff is absolutely mad. Great story

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