Nightmare Beach (Spring Breaker Motorcycle Slasher)

 

What better genre for Italian sleaze director Umberto Lenzi to try his hand in than the slasher? With success in creating some of the more notorious films of the 1970s and 1980s, including controversial Cannibal Ferox, part of the cannibal film boom, he already had, actually, with Eyeball (1975). Here, according to Lenzi originally, he took more of a background role in production of Nightmare Beach (aka Welcome to Spring Break), but its American setting and foreign gaze upon the “spring breaker” image, combined with the director’s bloody hands, makes for an interesting, lesser-known entry into the genre dominated primarily by United States series and one-shots. Though supposedly directed by Harry Kirkpatrick, this was revealed in 2013 as incorrect, mainly because Lenzi was uninterested in being associated with the film. Regardless, it’s his and will remain as such like it or not (from beyond the grave). Speaking of beyond the grave…

 
 

After the supposedly wrongful execution of a notorious Florida biker named Diablo, head of the Demons gang (nice nod to Italian horror there, note their logo), during spring break a GT rider with a penchant for electrocuting his idiotic victims begins to hit the town taking out anyone who’s too interested in wet T-shirts and drinking. The viewer would be a moron to actually believe Diablo was the culprit, and the obvious villain is easy to spot as soon as he’s introduced, if you’re aware of how these films work, but that’s not why you watch Nightmare Beach. This film is enjoyable for what it represents: an era and a genre. Lenzi’s execution of the murders and the slow build to the finale works great by itself, but the largely believable portrayals of Skip (Nicolas de Toth) and Gail (Sarah Buxton), who both provide a period-accurate pathos and disgust for youth that directs the killer to their over-the-top ends, makes it an even stronger story. Kino Lorber’s Blu-ray cut is probably the best version you’re going to find currently, with 4K quality, making some of the blood and skin vibrantly Floridian, featuring commentary from Samm Deighan, and an interview with Claudio Simonetti (most remembered for his film work as well as keyboarding in Goblin), among other minor niceties. If you ever wanted to see a motorcycle rigged into an electric chair that everyone seems to keep falling for, go for Nightmare Beach!

 

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Written by Stanley, Devourer of Souls

Nightmare Beach (2024, Blu-ray)
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Distributor: Kino Lorber
4.5 / 5