Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Surf Nazis Must Die
  • Surf Nazis Must Die
  • Barry Brenner,
  • Gail Neely,
  • Michael Sonya

An earthquake leaves the California coastline in ruins and reduces the beaches to a state of chaos. A group of Neo-Nazis led by Adolf (Brenner), the self-proclaimed "Führer of the new beach," take advantage of the resulting chaos by fighting off several rival surfer gangs to seize control of the beaches. Meanwhile, an African American oil well worker named Leroy (Harden) is killed by the Nazis while jogging on the beach. Leroy's mother "Mama" Washington (Neely), devastated by the loss of her son, vows revenge. After arming herself with a handgun and grenades, she breaks out of her retirement home and sets out to exact bloody vengeance on the Surf Nazis. – Wikipedia

34% liked it

R, 1 hr. 23 min.

Director: Peter George

January 23, 2011: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

There’s basically two kinds of movies you get from Troma. There’s the ones they make themselves that are chock full of unappealing nudity (yes, such a thing exists), cartoonish violence & gore, and more detailed depictions of gross bodily functions than you probably ever wanted to see (or hear) in your lifetime. And then there’s the other kind, the independently made oddities which Troma occasionally picks up and distributes. Mercifully, for my tastes anyway, Surf Nazis Must Die is one of the latter.

Which isn’t to say it’s a good movie. It’s so poorly paced, oddly edited, and awfully acted that it couldn’t be considered a good movie even if it were the only movie ever made and there was nothing else to compare it to. But at least it’s not vomitus. And, believe it or not, if you catch Surf Nazis Must Die in just the right mood, it’s got a couple of things that make it kind of interesting and (almost) enjoyable to watch. For one thing, there’s the throbbing electronic score by Jon McCallum (who, in a telltale sign of just how low budget this movie is, also did the special effects makeup) which manages to create a singular cohesive atmosphere for the film (which is good, because the script sure doesn’t). So if you’re a fan of all those old John Carpenter inspired synthesizer soundtracks, then this one isn’t to be missed. (Of course, if you don’t care for the bloop-bloop bleep-bleep school of scoring, this one will surely make you jam pencils into your ears.)

And then there’s the strange comic book universe the movie creates for itself, sort of like the one you find in Walter Hill’s The Warriors, although admittedly not depicted quite as successfully. As in The Warriors, the back alleys of Surf Nazis Must Die are populated not with Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings or other such real world gangs, but rather with outlandish bands of costumed cretins. There’s The Pipeliners, The all-Japanese Samurai Surfers, and the fashionably attired Designer Waves. And, of course, there’s the Surf Nazis themselves, all adorned with face paint and swastikas and driving around in their shark mouthed van. It’s funny goofy and all the better because the cast plays it dead serious.

Also like in The Warriors, the catalyst for everything that happens in Surf Nazis Must Die is the attempt by one guy to unite the various factions into one undefeatable army. And just like in The Warriors, there’s simply too much distrust and egoism and personal agendas spread amongst the individual gangs for the plan to ever reach fruition. Which works out well for everyone in post-big one California because, after all, who wants to be ruled over by guys with names like Adolph, Mengele, Brutus, Hook, and Smeg? But such internal bickering can be disastrous for groups where unity is considered a fundamental requirement, like say the Body of Christ which is the Church. That’s why Paul scolds the Corinthians in this week’s second reading. “For it has been reported to me about you…” he writes, “that there are rivalries among you. I mean that each of you is saying, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Is Christ divided?”

During a 2009 address for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Pope Benedict XVI explained that the “greatest danger” to the Church is not external persecution, but the “negative attitudes” of the world that can pollute and “infect the Christian community” from within.” Among the specific dangers he pointed out were selfishness, vanity, pride, and love of money, all things which can lead to disharmony. That’s why the Catechism warns us, “Christ always gives his Church the gift of unity, but the Church must always pray and work to maintain, reinforce, and perfect the unity that Christ wills for her.” We must always be vigilant about our own hang-ups when we assemble, lest we go the way of the Surf Nazis.

Not literally, of course, as in the Church being taken down by a plus sized African American grandma armed with more firepower than Rambo, but you know what I mean.


Smiter the Archdeacon said...

Strong women, e.g. Jewish grandmothers, always go after the putzes who trounce their beloved little boys. (What, you don't really think St. Anne wasn't the primary cause of the fall of Rome?)

Anonymous said...

So, was this before or after "Mad Max"? 'Cause if you were to spoof MM deadpan, this looks promising.

Xena Catolica

oh, and my verification word is "spore"!

Fr. Erik Richtsteig said...

This has to be the best title for a movie ever.

(former) Rocket Scientist said...

We often play a family card game called "Grave Robbers From Outer Space". The idea is to build your own deck of B-Movie actors and locations. Six cards are drawn at the start of the game which contains words like "Zombies" and "Son of" from which we must make our movie title. You get extra points if you play cards that have the words which appear in the title. I'm happy (?) to say that "Surf Nazi's Must Die" was actually a title we chose on one game.

EegahInc said...

"What, you don't really think St. Anne wasn't the primary cause of the fall of Rome?"

Now you've done it. I can already here the trailer. "They've heard it said that Jesus will return one day. But until then, they're going to have to deal with... HIS GRANDMA!"

"Cause if you were to spoof MM deadpan, this looks promising."

Well, you know the whole looks can be deceiving thing...

"This has to be the best title for a movie ever."

Can't argue that.

"We often play a family card game called "Grave Robbers From Outer Space"."

My wife was just asking what I wanted for Valentine's Day :)

Enbrethiliel said...


I had no idea where you were going with this . . . I was just loving the post for the sake of the movie--which, of course, is totally my thing . . . So your conclusion took me completely by surprise. Of course I love it!

PS--Until I read this post, I thought that I was the only Horror/Cult fan who didn't have unconditional love for the company that gave us Toxie. I'm so relieved I'm not alone!

MissJean said...

I saw this in college and remember it because it appeared to have an above-average cinematographer - I remember in particular how the beach scenes and the sun over power plants looked great on the big screen. And one of my friends pulled up the subtext of the movie: The hand that rocks the cradle controls the world. Not only did Mama interfere in the Surf Nazi plan, but one of the young gangsters couldn't leave the house because his mother kept heading him off at the pass.

EegahInc said...

"I thought that I was the only Horror/Cult fan who didn't have unconditional love for the company that gave us Toxie"

I have a love/hate thing with Troma that's the opposite of most of their fans. I don't care for a lot of their home-grown gross-out stuff, but I find a good chunk of the micro-budget independent stuff they pick up pretty fun to watch.

"I saw this in college and remember it because it appeared to have an above-average cinematographer"

It's weird, isn't it? It's like, stupid part, great surfing scene, stupid part, great surfing scene, and so on. And that's a good catch on the subtext. Maybe I could recycle this movie when Mother's day rolls around.