Sunday, March 27, 2016

Nightmare Beach (1989)

Also known as "Welcome To Spring Break", this movie is essentially a hybrid of three things that were dying in the waning days of the 80's-the slasher movie, the raunchy beach comedy and Italian horror-in particular the giallo. It also may or may not have been directed by Umberto Lenzi*. The credit for the film goes to "Harry Kirkpatrick", which seems to be a pseudonym, but Lenzi insists that it wasn't him. So who directed this? Who knows? Honestly, who cares either.

The movie begins with the execution of the leader of a biker gang called the Demons (who actually have the logo of Lamberto Bava's "Demons" on their jackets).  One year later, it's SPRING BREAK! WOOOOO! It is here that we are introduced to two indistinguishable slabs of meat masquerading as human beings (one of whom, Nicolas De Toth, went on to be a successful editor in Hollywood) are out for fun. However, a psychopath dressed in a motorcycle get-up is killing dumb teens via electrocution (and one death via immolation). So, whose the culprit? Is it the corrupt police officer (John Saxon)? The weird Reverend (Lance LeGault)? The alcoholic doctor (Michael Parks)? Or has the man who was executed-who promised revenge from beyond the grave-come back?

There is some fun to be had with "Nightmare Beach", but most of it comes from the fact that the whole thing is basically late 80's America through the eyes of people who don't live there. That and the fact John Saxon and Michael Parks are fine. Outside of that, there isn't a whole lot to get excited about here.

This is mostly due to the fact that the direction is so bland. Lenzi (or Kirkpatrick, or whoever) seems to have forgotten how to direct, and the whole thing feels like a lot of Italian horror movies from this period-flat and ultimately forgettable. There is gore, but it all looks unconvincing and cheap. The score is by Claudio Simonetti, but it's repetitive and truth be told, okay at best. In fact, that's another big problem the movie has-it's repetitive. I don't know about you, but after a while, the barrage of stereotypical characters, wet t-shirt contests and awful music (so much shitty Hair Metal) begins to grow monotonous.

I've definitely seen worse as far late 80's/early 90's Italian horror is concerned (hello "Killing Birds" and "Witchery"), but outside of people who need to see every 80's slasher movie and the most undemanding trash enthusiast, there isn't a lot to love here. Hell, you'll probably forget it exists a month after seeing it.

Rating: 4/10

*Lenzi not only may or may not have directed this-he also wrote it alongside Vittorio Rambaldi, the son of legendary effects man Carlo Rambaldi. I also mention this because he previously directed the Lenzi scripted "Primal Rage". Also, the obnoxious, sounds like the theme for a failed 80's sitcom pop song from that movie (called "Say the Word") pops up here too.

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