Bobby Cooper over at Zenestex was talking about a little game called Netflix Randomness the other day and it inspired Tophat, my wife and I to find a little bomb of our own. The game is simple. The Zenestex explanation goes like this:
You browse the Instant Watch listings until you find something that grabs your attention. It can be anything. The swerve is that this movie (or television show) must be one that you have never seen, never heard of, and would never watch under any other circumstance. Beyond that, every title is fair game. Once you have located a suitable target, the game is set and you’re in for the duration. And before you probe for loopholes, you have to pause the movie when you leave the room and you cannot play on your cell phone or laptop during the movie. Choose wisely.
After flipping through the horror genre and arguing the finer points of cheesy teenage chick flicks and movies with half-naked women and aghast men on the cover we came across Troma Entertainment’s Surf Nazi’s Must Die. With a title as absurd as that, how could we pass it up?
This stinker from 1987 is ripe with plot holes, cheesy synthesizer music, and a sufficient collection of stereotyped gangs. The opening titles are some of the longest most incoherent ramblings I have ever seen set to a soundtrack that I swear is some sort of homage to Jason or Halloween. It’s ironically catchy.The movie doesn’t make much of naming the characters so took it upon ourselves to give them nicknames. The Nazis’ leader is of course Adolf, because what’s a movie about Nazis without an Adolf, so no surprises there. His cronies we had the pleasure of naming ourselves. Adolf’s girlfriend we called Nostril Slut because she has quite the nasal cavity and she was all about the public hanky panky with a little topless action after a little persuasion from the fuhrer. The muscle was Trench coat Mafia due to his proclivity for no shirt, a trench coat, and a harpoon gun. Chicabonita called him the eye candy. The only Aryan in the bunch was a half-whit momma’s boy. The engineer is a little light in the loafers, and then of course there’s the Hook. The rival gangs names I remember a little more clearly. There were the typical surfer dudes in tie-dye duds we called the hippies. The martial arts experts we called the Yakuza, though Chicabonita didn’t actually know what that means. There was the lone biker Rocky and his Tim Curryesque girlfriend Horror. And finally we had the Chuck Norris gang led by none other than Walker himself, or a reasonable facsimile.
This collection of B movie all-star stereotypes are brought together for a single purpose. To rule the anarchy on the beach! And surf. You see, it’s the near future and a giant earthquake has apparently ravaged California. You know this because there are so many ruins in the first two minutes. So in the wake of the fall of modern Californian society, who will rise to the occasion? Why none other than the failures of the Third Reich, the Nazis. And what do these surfboard heiling creeps want? They want to rule the surfers. The surf Nazis closely follow a perverted version of Tony Montana’s mantra. First you get the beaches. Then you get the surfers. Then you rule….what? The world I guess. There are a few vague hints at a drug trade but most of the gangs’ crimes revolved around purse snatching and stealing beach bums’ books. They keep going on and on about the “plan” and the “operation” but there doesn’t seem to be any plan. Just a bunch of punks playing around on the beach. The only truly violent Nazi like thing the gang does is kill nice guy Leroy for stopping one of the underlings for stealing a purse and then attacking Adolf for saying something about Mama. There’s also a poor attempt at harassing a pawn shop owner who may or may not be Jewish, but he’s certainly Rick Moranis’s older brother.
This world-changing earthquake seems to have only managed to knocked down Mama’s house and some how distract the entire police force from the ruffians on the beach. Mama’s been taking it on the chin for about the last month. Once her house burned down in the quake she moved into some weird sort of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest retirement home before her dear son Leroy was brutally murder right on the beach in front of everyone. Leroy’s death is the focal point of the whole movie. It’s they common thread that brings Mama into the film. And who is this Mama? She is the biggest, baddest old black woman you ever did meet. There’s a very good reason that Gail Neely received top billing on IMDb’s cast list.
She starts off slowly aggravating the Nazi which gets them riled up and so the start going after the rival gangs. After all, one just can’t sit idly by while one’s switchboard is burned. One must assume a rival burned your surf board with a switch blade embedded in it and start killing every poor bastard that sets foot on the beach. After she presumably watches the Nazis take out all of the rival gangs she goes in for the kill and gets her revenge. The toppling of Adolf and his Eva Braun is about as satisfying as a movie ending can be. As poor as this movie is, Mama makes it all worthwhile.
This video contains the climactic showdown between the gangs and it does an excellent job highlighting the terrible acting and horrendous music that make up the bulk of the film.
But all this is merely a distraction. The true point of the entire movie is the series of five-minute long surfing scenes of course. Isn’t that what all surfer movies are really about? It’s like porno for board jockeys. The storyline is irrelevant. It’s the surfing that counts.
So if poor editing, horrible camera angles, flimsy writing, bad sound quality supplemented by the worst music a decade of awful music had to offer is what your Saturday night needs, please let Mama give you the satisfying revenge you seek. I mean come on. With a name like Surfer Nazis Must Die how can you not watch it?