What’s up, weirdos? Welcome to Awfully Good, where we celebrate rad trash cinema! Tonight’s feature is a sleazy Italian slasher movie set in a Florida beach town, but we’ll get to that in a second. First, a couple of ground rules. 1) Just because we call a movie “trash” or “sleaze” or things of that nature, that’s not a slam. All of my favorite movies are some kind of trash or sleaze. 2) If you go swimming, bring a buddy. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive into Umberto Lenzi’s Nightmare Beach from 1988!

Nightmare Beach starts with a gang of motorcycle-riding 80s punks waiting outside a prison. Inside, a guy with sideburns but no head hair is taking the longest walk of his life to the electric chair. Diablo is either his alias or his middle name, but it doesn’t matter because he gets zapped with a quickness either way. Watching the proceedings we have a cop played by John Saxon (Nightmare on Elm StreetEnter the Dragon), a priest, and the sister of Diablo’s victim. Diablo said that he never killed anybody, but he faces the chair anyway. This whole opening sequence is almost silent, and it’s pretty striking and somber. Then the music kicks in and we’re at the beach!

 

 

It’s a year later, and the town is filling up with spring breakers. Some dude in a suit says “Welcome to Spring Break,” which is an alternate title for Nightmare Beach (and why we’re watching this movie for Spring Break month), so DRINK! The priest from the execution talks to his daughter about all the sinning she’s doing, but she’s like “leave me alone Father/Dad, I wanna sin.” I’m no religious scholar, but I don’t think it’s super common for priests to have kids.

Anyway, we learn that one of our main characters, Skip, is a football player who botched the whole Orange Bowl. He’s also an Adult Teenager, because he’s like forty. His friend Ronny is there with him, saying “hey man, it’s Spring Break! We should be drinking all our bad memories away!” Then Ronny gives Skip thirty condoms and tells him to use them all before the end of the week, which is 1) optimistic and 2) very responsible. Round of applause for Ronny!


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“I’m no religious scholar, but I don’t think it’s super common for priests to have kids.”

 

Skip and Ronny hit the local bar and start ordering shots of 151 chased with Miller High Life. This is one of the most realistic college kid orders I’ve ever seen in a movie. Usually they’ll saunter up to the bar and be like “…whiskey,” but real life college kids pull all their change out of their pockets, count it on the bar, then order the highest-proof liquor and the cheapest beer. It’s called economics, and they teach it at school. Anyway, the bartender is the girl from the first scene who watched Diablo get fried. Skip seems to like this girl! Could this be a spring fling, or are we headed for a Spring Break Heartbreak?!

Elsewhere in Nightmare Beach, one of the many spring breakers hitches a ride with a mysterious biker, but the back of his motorcycle turns out to be an ELECTRIC CHAIR and it electrocutes her face off! Hell yeah! Before long, we’re back at the hotel that serves as a central hub for all the debauchery. Inside, the hotel manager’s got a peephole into one of the rooms, like a creep! Outside, the bikers from the beginning are menacing Skip and Ronny. Their gang is named the Demons, which you can tell by the stickers on the back of their jackets. The patches budget probably went into electrocuting faces off, which is acceptable. Fun fact: the logo for this biker gang is the same as the logo for the awesome Italian horror film Demons!

 

 

Later, on the beach (the Nightmare Beach!) there’s a pretty unconvincing shark in the water. A girl runs out of the surf screaming about it, and a cop runs up to the shoreline and shoots at it! With a gun! The shark turns out to be some dude pretending to be a shark, and I bet he didn’t expect he’d be getting shot at when he got in the shark getup. This guy pulls a bunch of pranks like Shelly from Friday the 13th. 3-D, and gets about the same reaction as Shelly. After the crowd dies down at the shark event, there’s an extended wet t-shirt contest. Spring Break! There’s also a guy here who just keeps screaming “Floridaaaaaa! How bout them GATORS?! Go Florida! Go Gators! Floridaaaaa!” and as someone who lives in Florida but not even close to the University of Florida, I can confirm these people exist. They’re super real.


HOT AT THE SHOP


Ronny gets hammered and tries to hook up with a badass biker lady, but he gets beaten and robbed instead. When he doesn’t come back around in the morning, Skip starts an investigation. He meets up with the Demons, and it almost gets him killed. Luckily, John Saxon steps in to rescue him. Meanwhile, the biker with the electric chair on the back of his motorcycle is on a killing spree! He kills the creepy hotel manager, which seems fair, and also the working girl who finds the corpse, which seems a little unfair.

 

“[…]  as someone who lives in Florida but not even close to the University of Florida, I can confirm these people exist. They’re super real.”

 

Before long, Skip and the bartender are in a full on manhunt. Will they ever find Ronny? Will we ever learn the identity of this mysterious biker? How many faces will he burn with electricity? Will there be a belly flop contest? Find out the answers to all these questions when you watch Nightmare Beach!

Are you a headed to the beach for Spring Break, hoping to catch some sun but not get murdered? Let us know over on TwitterInstagramReddit, and the Horror Fiends of Nightmare on Film Street Facebook page! For more reviews, recommendations, and faces burning clean off, stay tuned to Nightmare on Film Street.