The Cult Club: Surf Nazis Must Die (1987)


[The Cult Club is where Flixist’s writers expound the virtues of their favorite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy]

“Sometime in the near future,” an earthquake leaves the entire California coastline in ruins and turns its beaches into safe-havens for gangs, drugs, prostitutes and other depravity. Out of the chaos, one gang emerges and tries to rule all the beaches. Who rules the beaches? Surfers. Who rules the surfers? Surf Nazis.

Surf Nazis Must Die is a super-low budget B-Movie made by director Peter George and distributed by Troma Entertainment. It’s infamous for its absurd plot and terrible production. Since it’s June, we thought it’d be a good month here at the Cult Club to talk about a surf movie. A deadly surf movie, that is.

Surf Nazi 1

Surf Nazis begins by showing the destruction of the greater Los Angeles area by a giant earthquake and we follow as an older black woman moves reluctantly into a retirement home after her home is destroyed by the quake. We quickly end up at the beach, though, and are soon introduced to a gang of Neo-Nazis calling themselves the Surf Nazis. Lead of course by Adolf, with his woman Eva and his right hand-man Mengele, and followed by other lowly Nazis like Hook (who has a hook hand, of course) and the bleach-blonde Smeg.

After some glory shots of Adolf surfing, and of Eva’s swimming suit-clad body, we learn of Adolf’s evil plan to take over all of “New Beach” and eliminate all of the “inferiors” – like left-footed surfers. In the first part of the Surf Nazis’ plan, Adolf and Eva invite all their rival gangs to an abandoned warehouse and try to convince them to unite with the Nazis for total control. When this doesn’t work, the Nazis decide that they must take over the beaches by force!

Surf Nazi 2

While causing havoc on the beach (stealing old ladies’ purses, knocking other surfers off their boards, stealing and eating other people’s watermelons) Adolf and his crew run into Leroy, the son of the sassy woman we meet earlier in the movie. When Adolf and his racist ways offend Leroy, Leroy tries to start a fight with Adolf, but soon realizes that his Nazi crew is there to back him up… The next shot we see is Leroy’s mama Elanor identifying her son’s body and attending his funeral.

Unsatisfied with her living situation, lonely, grieving and with nothing left to loose in this world, Leroy’s mama sets out on a quest for ultimate revenge, and that’s when the real fun in this movie starts!

Surf Nazi 3

Surf Nazis Must Die‘s dystopian Californian landscape and surprisingly perfect mismatch of surfing and Nazism draws people into its spiraling out of control, nonsensical world. A sort of wonderfully low-fi late 80s homage to both California surf culture and punk aesthetics, Surf Nazis is scene after scene of themed insanity.

However, for a totally silly surfing horror/thriller, Surf Nazis brings up a lot of weird racial undertones. The N-word is dropped repeatedly, and the idea of a sassy Black mother beating up white Neo-Nazis is so stereotypical and hilarious that it carries the entire movie.

Surf Nazi 4

The thing that Surf Nazis actually gets the most maligned for is for not being crazy enough. Despite being distributed by Troma, Surf Nazis only has one main sex scene and the real gory fight scenes don’t happen until towards the end of the movie. If you’re expecting a typical Troma-esque nonstop over the top action movie, Surf Nazis might seem a bit slow to you. However what Surf Nazis may lack in action, it makes up for with absurd odds and ends, like the watermelon stealing scene, or lines like “There’s no room for Jesus on the New Beach – and that’s our Final Solution!” Surf Nazis is so much fun to watch though, and part of that is perhaps because it gets oddly slow at some parts. It’s like they were trying to make a WTFTroma movie and failed at that, even.

Surf Nazis Must Die‘s impeccable silliness, terrible acting, and poor quality in every way lends itself to cult movie sensibilities and is an excellent addition for anyone looking to broaden their cult B-Movie horizons. It’s the time of year when people are flocking to beaches all across the Northern Hemisphere, so what better to watch to get you in the mood for a beach day than SURF NAZIS!?

Next Month… Matthew Razak will bring out the big guns with the 1966 Batman movie, starring Adam West and Burt Ward! So tune in next month – same cult-time, same cult-channel!


May: The Apple (1980)

April: Santa Sangre (1989)

March: Tideland (2005)

February: House (1977)

January: They Live (1988)