In a Florida bar packed with rowdy spring breakers, a comely young woman named Rachael asks a boy named Skip to go for a walk. Now, here's the thing. Either I was too busy bathing in the dark, foreboding whirlpools that are Rachael's feverish eyeballs or I'm losing my hearing, but I don't think I actually heard Skip's reply. Wait, why is Rachael leaving? Or, I should say, why isn't Skip leaving with her? What's that? He said no?!? Who in their right mind wouldn't want to go for a walk with the most attractive woman in all of Manatee Beach? Hold up, forget Manatee Beach. Who in their right mind wouldn't want to go for a walk with the most attractive woman in all of Miami-Dade County? Oh, and don't give me any of this crap about him being depressed about losing the Orange Bowl. I mean, quarterbacks who blow big games can still walk, right? I know what's going on, Skip prefers light and sparkly to dark and foreboding. In other words, Skip has a thing for Gail the bartender, whose eyes are–you guessed it–light and sparkly. If that's the case, I'm going to have to cut Skip some slack, as I can't force people to like who I like. But dude, you were offered a night of mind-blowing sexual intercourse with the most attractive woman in all of Miami-Dade County, and what did you do? You dropped the ball (being a football player, you should know exactly what I mean).
And, yes, I realize she only asked you to go for a walk. But as everyone knows, all walks in Florida eventually lead to hours of mind-blowing sexual intercourse. And that's not just me taking a cheap shot at Florida (the state is a popular punching bag within the hack comedian community), I'm simply stating a fact.
I'm sorry, I totally forgot to mention the name of the movie I'm currently reviewing. Even though it's obvious, it's customary to at least mention the name of the movie you're reviewing. Well, here it goes, it's called Nightmare Beach (a.k.a. La spiaggia del terrore). And while it might look like your average spring break set slasher film, underneath that bubbly exterior lies a ferocious Italian giallo made by actual Italians.
I know, "Harry Kirkpatrick" doesn't sound all that Italian. Well, that's because "Harry Kirkpatrick" is the pseudonym being used by the one and only Umberto Lenzi. That's right, the director of Cannibal Ferox and Nightmare City. And just like in those movies, lot's of people die... horribly.
Since the film's cold opening is such a downer (a biker named "Diablo" is executed in the electric chair for a crime he claims he did not commit), the film tries to lighten the mood a bit by giving us a playful montage featuring cars, bikinis and sunshine.
I'm no math whiz, but I'd say at least ninety percent of the people frolicking on the beach in the opening montage had no idea they were in a movie. I'm not complaining, as I found their obliviousness to be actually quite refreshing. Nowadays, everyone acts as if they're staring in their own reality show. But back in 1989, people lived their lives with a certain degree of anonymity. Sure, a lot of them still wanted to be famous, but most had very little recourse in the getting famous department, and continued to toil away in the shadows with no complaints. Or, in this film's case, toil in the hot Florida sun (not to be a major buzzkill, but I'd say at least half the people in this movie went on to develop skin cancer in the mid-to-late '90s).
After the montage is over, we get our first stolen wallet and our first ghoulish prank. Usually occurring at the same time, the stolen wallet/ghoulish prank gag is implemented a total of four times over the course of the film. Did anyone else think the wallet thief and the ghoulish prankster were in cahoots? Just me, eh?
Sitting in the back of a friend's convertible with a haughty grace, teenage hellion in training, Rachael Bates (Debra Gallagher), is a walking, talking one woman adorable symposium. Noticing her father, Rev. Bates (Lance LeGault), chatting with Lt. Strycher (John Saxon) and Dr. Willet (Michael Parks), Rachael attempts to hide the can of beer she's holding. She might be adorable, but she really needs to work on her beer hiding skills. Despite being busted, Rachael remains defiant, and refuses her father's request to stay with her Aunt Agnes, a woman she calls a "senile old hag."
While that line is great, Michael Parks' drunken doctor tops it with relative ease when he delivers this gem soon afterward: "Welcome to Spring Break... the annual migration of the idiot."
Speaking of idiots, here comes Skip (Nicolas De Toth) and Ronnie (Rawley Valverde), two college football players hoping to put the memory of losing the Orange Bowl behind them by getting drunk and having lot's of casual sex. Well, at least Ronnie seems interested in doing those things. You see, it was Skip's interception that cost them the game. Meaning, he's in no mood to party in the late 1980s.
We get proof of this in the very next scene when Rachael approaches Skip and says, "Hi, you're cute. Wanna take a walk with me?"
This is the face Rachael makes when she hears Skip's answer.
Never in my life have I wanted to beat a man to death more than I did when I saw what Skip's response did to Rachael's face. And get this, this Skip fella is supposed to be the film's hero.
I'm not saying Skip had to agree to Rachael's request, I just think he could have handled it better. If anything, at least handle it in a way that will not cause Rachael make the face she sports seconds after hearing his reply, as I don't want to ever see that face again.
To be fair, Rachael isn't the only woman to be rejected by Skip in this movie. While attending a wet t-shirt contest with Ronnie, Skip looks depressed. Don't you think the women currently having water poured on their chests noticed this? Think about it. You're on stage, jiggling your tits for an enthusiastic crowd, then all of a sudden, you notice a man with a sour expression on his face. Wouldn't you take it personally? I know I would, and I don't have tits... at least not one's worthy enough to jiggle in public.
If that isn't enough, Skip actually rejects the woman he's supposed to be interested. It occurs when Gail, the bartender at a local bar (yes, the same bar Skip rejects Rachael at), who just spent a better part of the evening helping Skip look for Ronnie (who's gone missing), asks Skip if he would like to come in for coffee. Telling her "no thanks," Skip drives off, leaving Gail standing there in the shortest pleated yellow skirt the world has ever seen.
You could argue that Skip is playing it cool, but it was clear that Gail wanted his cock (for vaginal penetration purposes). And for Skip to not provide said cock (for vaginal penetration purposes) was not only the total opposite of cool... it was totally uncool.
At any rate, was anyone else amazed that Gail failed to furnish an upskirt during her lengthy time in that ridiculously short pleated yellow skirt? I know I was. Hey, Sarah Buxton. You owe me an upskirt.
You wouldn't know it judging by the words I've typed so far, but Nightmare Beach is actually about a serial killer who uses his or her (like in Nail Gun Massacre, the killer's gender in shrouded in mystery) motorcycle to electrocute his or her victims. However, since killing people in this manner has its limitations, the killer starts to employ more conventional methods as the film progresses.
That being said, if you were to ask Kimberly (Christina Kier), a popular masseuse, and Trina (Yamilet Hidalgo), a biker chick/denim vest enthusiast, I have a feeling that they would tell you that there was nothing conventional about the manner in which they were killed. Conventional or not, I'd say Kimberly and Lori's deaths were the best in terms of mood and gore. Oh, and don't worry, no one lays a finger on Rachael's pretty little head.
While not as mashugana as Creatures from the Abyss, Nightmare Beach is still a must-see for fans of Italian made horror films that are set in Florida.