“The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies”. “Ballistic: Ecks v Sever”. “Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter”. “Pfffht”. “Rat Pfink A Boo Boo”. “The Linguini Incident”. What do these movies have in common? Two things – titles so terrible that whoever named them deserves to be shot; and movies so terrible that whoever made them deserves to be shot. To this list we can now add “Surf Nazis Must Die”.
We have Troma to thank for this, the occasionally great company who have given us so much. For every “Nuke Em High” there’s got to be some cheap piece of garbage they bought in and re-packaged with a garish title, I suppose. This is like Troma Enjoyment Tax.
There’s not much plot to speak of. An earthquake has hit California and it’s now a largely lawless place, with gangs centred around surfing and the beach taking over – primarily, of course, the Nazis. They kill a black guy just because he’s black, so his grandmother, who’s moved into a nursing home but is obviously a badass grannie, decides to take matters into her own hands and get some revenge.
If you think an old lady kicking ass while using a variety of high-explosive devices is intrinsically funny, then you’ll like this. Otherwise, you’re screwed. At 15 minutes in, I was checking the time remaining, because it was already dragging; and it does not get better. It’s a film that came up with a title and then had absolutely nothing else – no inspiration, no acting, nothing. The name “Surf Nazis Must Die” begs to be attached to a movie full of insanity and speed and death and wild, over-the-top-ness, but what it gets is none of that. The Nazis are fairly angry, as is the bereaved grandma, but it’s a serious revenge film with the added non-bonus of being made for no money and shot in some deserted concrete wasteland in California.
Even if all that were correct, which it is, there might still be some enjoyment to be had. Revenge films are big business in Hollywood nowadays, so there’s definitely a market for them. But the terrible doesn’t stop there! It’s also thoroughly incoherent – who are all these people? Why are they annoyed with each other? Why are they Nazis? Why do they kill that guy? What’s the point of any of this rubbish?
Don’t be tempted by the title, ISCFC readers. I know that every generation must discover this anew, smile at the title and track it down – thanks to Youtube, it is now available for free – but please resist the temptation. I watched this with a group of friends in my early 20s, and distinctly remember being really bored at the end of it. Perhaps, I thought, the years would be kinder to it. Perhaps my taste for ridiculousness has mellowed. No. It’s just terrible, and remains terrible.
Please, also, disregard the rest of the internet. You will encounter many people who say it’s great if you can take a joke, if you’re not one of the PC police, and so on. The fact there are Nazis in it (one of whom was played by Ted Prior, in a rare role where his brother wasn’t the director) is like no.50 on the list of objectionable things this movie does. It’s rubbish, because it’s poorly made, stupid, and the only reason anyone in the world cares about it nowadays is down to its title.
If anyone ever says “hey, let’s watch that Surf Nazis movie, it’ll be fun!” kill them and get yourself new friends. Nothing could be less fun.
Rating: thumbs down