Surf Nazis Must Die (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - United Kingdom - 88 Films
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (19th August 2018).
The Film

Troma Entertainment, the company behind such classics as THE TOXIC AVENGER, really outdid themselves with the 1987 cult classic SURF NAZIS MUST DIE. Set in a futuristic California hell-hole, in which an apocalypic natural disaster has left the iconic Baywatch-perfect beaches of Malibu and Venice as gang-lands, various parties battle one another in an attempt to control the sand and sea of this former West Coast paradise. This is sex, surf and splatter in a sordid sci-fi setting and thirty years after it first gained the attention of video shop loyalists and marginal movie followers, SURF NAZIS MUST DIE is back to brutalise a new generation of fright-fans!

Video

Vigilante (1982) crossed with Mad Max 2 (1981) ...

First off, this is a very silly film and hardly what anyone would call good; much of the acting is poor and the script isnít up to much as it doesnít quite know if itís a satire, serious action flick or meant to be a comedy ... or all at once as the tone is all over the shop.

Over the decades Iíd heard that this was a Troma film and instantly assumed it would be like other Troma efforts like The Toxic Avenger (1984) or The Class of Nuke Ďem High (1986); campy, grisly, nasty and shot for about tuppence on 16mm and looking extremely grainy with clunky mono sound.

This is actually a Troma pickup, which is to say it was shot by an independent outfit who then sold it to Troma. Itís surprisingly slickly done on 35mm film and has a rather well done MTV look and an effective Ultra-Stereo surround track. It has a cracking electronic score by Jon McCallum who obviously thought he was scoring a more serious movie; one to get on CD if possible.

Despite all the good aspects itís pretty lame because it doesnít quite work as a comedy and director Peter George seems to want to shoot an action film, but without the budget or time to get it all correct. Itís a shame because with a bit of a polish the script couldíve worked and with a little bit more time and money the action couldíve been improved.

As is, this is sporadically very amusing ... sometimes deliberately and at other times itís unintentional.

Colours are generally strong favouring the warmer end of the spectrum with naturalistic Flesh tones. Most of this film was shot exterior with bright, sunny California locations and in great weather. The surf scenes are evocative and beautifully done coming off very well in this transfer. The master used for the Blu-ray is clean and without any print damage that I could see. Itís a very Ď80s looking production with that glorious grainy haze over most of it.

Black levels are pleasing and are mostly deep and rich; crush is only very occasionally present but is almost certainly a part of production conditions re budget, time and original lighting.

Contrast is par for the course for modern transfers avoiding blown out highlights; when this was put on VHS and Laserdisc back in the day the transfer would have been more contrasty to compensate for the lack of definition but here allows detail to show through nicely. This will never touch a new digitally shot production for textures but still pleasing and about as good as we can expect.

I couldnít see any signs of digital tinkering like edge enhancement or DNR and The encoding and grain management are good. Well done 88 Films!

1080/24p / MPEG-4 AVC / 1.85:1 / 81:35

Audio

English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: English HoH

A surprisingly effective, if simple 2.0 Ultra-Stereo track given the lossless treatment. This will win no awards as even for itís era it was low budget and low ambition but the score is well handled with good fidelity and no distortion. Dialogue is mostly clear and for those brief moments where it isnít the subtitles are most welcome.

The surrounds are mainly used by the score but occasionally we get some sound effects in the fight scenes, water sounds in the surf bits etc.

Extras

Interview with Tom Shell (12:35)

Newly recorded piece is the best extra on the disc. Shell is enthusiastic and has plenty of amusing anecdotes about the film and his career.

Interview with Peter George (3:36)
Interview with Robert Tinnell (1:52)


Brief, superficial, vintage pieces from prior VHS and / or DVD releases. Both director and producer chat about the production and give us some superficial information about the filmís creation.

Deleted Scenes with commentary by Peter George (7:09)

A few brief scenes with no sound and commentary from the director; nothing remarkable here, but nice to have if youíre a fan.

Trailer (2:50)

Hyperbole, cheesy narration ... you know the score.

Scenes from the Tromaville Cafe (3:29)

Typically silly comedy Troma extra; a vintage promo for the video release of Surf Nazis Must Die.

Packaging

Single disc keep case with vintage artwork on the cover. It presents it as an out-and-out comedy but I found the overall tone similar to something like Savage Streets (1984); knowingly cheesy, sometimes overtly funny, at others disturbing and paddling about in an offensive pond.

Overall

This is an easy recommend.

Decent picture and sound on a cheesy film thatís an uneven good time when sober, a enjoyable riot with pals, beer and pizza on a Friday night; a real party film. This is one Iíve been meaning to see since first reading about it in the late Ď80s and for whatever reason it has eluded me till now. The disc is very reasonably priced and presentation is as good as can be shy of a new 4K scan. Itís single layered but that is more than sufficient for the brief film and scant extras.

The Film: C Video: B+ Audio: A Extras: C- Overall: B

 


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