Starring: Gail Neely, Robert Harden and Barry Brenner
Directed by: Peter George
Duration: 86 mins
Reviewed by Guy Adams
I’m back in the flea pit, the seats are sticky and there’s something writhing on the back row. I don’t know what it is but if it keeps wailing like that it’s going to attract the rats.
Arrow Films have brought three Troma titles to their range and I’m watching Surf Nazis Must Die first because, frankly, its reputation leads me to suspect it’s going to be the most disappointing of the three. You know me though, I’m a man who loves the best of the worst and I went in hoping to have fun. It’s only ten minutes before I’m reaching for the brandy because, you know, sometimes movies need help…
Not that Troma Fuhrer, Lloyd Kaufman, would necessarily agree. He introduces the film with admirable pride, reminiscing about how he launched it in his typically brazen manner at Cannes. I love him for that but can’t quite believe his claims that, after initial skepticism, the movie played favourably to critics and audiences alike.
Perhaps I need more brandy.
The story – and I use the word loosely – ambles around the notion of a near future where, after a terrible earthquake (as opposed to the really brilliant kind) the Californian coast is a playground for a mixture of bizarre surfer gangs. The worst of which, predictably enough, are the Surf Nazis.
The problem with the movie is not its silliness, lack of budget or grindhouse heart, all those can be qualities as far as I’m concerned, the problem lies in the fact that it’s put together in such a shambolic and surprisingly bland fashion that none of its excesses can ever be relished. It plays out as an almost random selection of scenes that never really create an interesting whole. Occasionally it hits on target but more often you’re left to wonder if someone shuffled the script in a stoned moment of abandon.
Perhaps that’s the key to getting something out of the movie, maybe those Cannes audiences were having a more pharmaceutically inclined evening (such things have been known to happen in that quiet French town). Sadly your noble reviewer was far too in control of his faculties to find things so gnarly.
On the plus side, Arrow have put together a nice package including interviews with the movie’s director and producer and a lovely new cover by the genius that is Graham Humphreys. Still, as much as I love Arrow Films with a passion that borders on the unhealthy, this is neither their nor Tromaâ€™s finest hour.