Surf Nazis Must Die (1987) Review {by Tim Walker}

SurfNazis2

As soon as the film began, and the charming and familiar sound and sight of the Troma logo graced the screen I was really looking forward to what I was about to watch. But then I can imagine that any trash cinema fan would be exited at the prospect of a Troma film called Surf Nazis Must Die.

The film begins with a group of kids sitting on a beach receiving a lecture. All the kids in the group seem to have swastikas painted on them and on their clothes. The lecture itself is being delivered by the films’ main antagonist, Adolf. He is telling them that there is only one ‘pure’ way to surf, and that those who don’t surf that way are not true “Surf Nazis”. At this, the credits roll and we see a montage of the aftermath of a huge earthquake that has hit L.A, it seems that law and order is beginning to breakdown and that the beaches are being ruled by ruthless gangs. As the credits began to roll I noticed the films score, which was absolutely fantastic. It is a pounding synthesizer score created by Jon McCallum, who in the same year created the soundtrack for the trash classic The Miami Connection. During the credits sequence we are introduced to the most surprising character in the film, the sharp tongued Mama Washington and her son. Mama Washington has been driven from her home because of the earthquake, and she has had to move into a retirement home.

After the credits we are introduced to Adolf’s gang of Surf Nazis, including his girlfriend Eva, and highly entertaining Mengele who creates the surfboards for the gang, and is absolutely insane. It seems that Adolf’s little gang is in a battle for control of the best beaches with the other beach gangs, including the brilliantly named ‘Samurai Surfers’. We see many of the acts of vandalism and theft committed by the Surf Nazis as they terrorize the many innocent beach goers. But things take a nasty turn as Mama Washington’s son is brutally murdered by the Surf Nazis after he intervenes in a robbery being committed by one of the Surf Nazi youth. Now this is where the film takes a rather surprising turn. Mama Washington decides that because nothing is being done to catch her son’s killers, she must deliver her own brand of deadly justice. Yes that’s right, half way through the film a vigilante story develops in the background, with the vigilante role being taken by a sassy late-to-middle aged woman who isn’t going to take any shit from those scumbag Surf Nazi killers.

To be honest I was very surprised by what this film turned out to be, from the title I imagined that it was going to be a very campy, over the top trash-fest. Instead it was often a fairly serious film with some moments of silliness, one of which was the brilliant line delivered by Adolf “I was an economics major, don’t fuck with me!” Unfortunately the blend of silliness and seriousness made the film feel a little bit directionless, and often confusing, yet enjoyable. My biggest gripe with this film however is the extended footage of surfing that keeps popping up, now I understand that surfing plays a big part in the plot, but do we really need to see long winded slow motion footage of surfing every ten minutes? All things considered though this film is pretty good, the acting is decent, the characters are great, what little effects there are in the film are good and with an 82 minute run time it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Overall I would recommend this film as being one of the better Troma films of the late 80s. I am going to give this one 6.5/10, it’s worth checking out.

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