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Welcome to Spring Break (Nightmare Beach) Retrospective

Poster for Umberto Lenzi's Welcome to Spring Break.
Poster for Nightmare Beach.

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In Welcome to Spring Break, Diablo, a sadistic gang leader from a small tourist town is executed by way of electric chair. But, wait. He may be back from the grave and slaying spring breakers with his electrically charged motorcycle seat. As young tourists begin turning up dead, the local authorities become more and more convinced that they are dealing with Diablo’s wraith. The fun loving spring breakers will need to steer clear of the ballistic biker baddie if they intend to escape with their stupid little lives.

Welcome to Spring Break (originally released as Nightmare Beach)is a really shitty movie. The film was obviously shot on no budget. The acting, the script, the set pieces, the effects, and the direction are all very low rent and offer nearly no redeeming qualities. The film occasionally veers into ‘So Bad it’s Good’ territory but it’s mostly just really, really bad.

The character development is nonexistent. And the characters are all reduced to mere caricatures of ‘80s slasher film stereotypes. That is largely based on the weakness of the script but can also be attributed to very poor performances from almost every cast member. The only performer in the film that offers anything of value is John Saxon (A Nightmare on Elm Street). It’s a mystery why Saxon took the role in the first place but regardless of his motivation for taking the part, he is one of the only things about the film that doesn’t suck. Other than Saxon, the film’s cast is made up of a bunch of no-name actors, most of whom didn’t go on to do anything to speak of after this atrocity.

Italian director Umberto Lenzi directs Welcome to Spring Break. However, he was so embarrassed by this heap of crap that he took on the pseudonym Harry Kirkpatrick. Even a director known for making trashy exploitation flicks didn’t want to be associated with this low budget slasher. In addition to directing, Lenzi also co-penned the script under the same assumed name. Vittorio Rambaldi and James Justice (who also worked under a pseudonym) also worked on the film’s poor attempt at a screenplay, which took about an hour to write. It is unoriginal, features a moronic twist that makes very little sense, and offers nothing of substance to the viewer.

The film’s soundtrack is also quite bad. The track that plays along with the opening credits is vaguely reminiscent of Debbie Gibson, only worse. And the rest of the songs that play during Welcome to Spring Break are equally bad or worse.

The effects are poor as well. Some low-budget ‘80s slasher films are able to get by on body count and gore. But that is not the case with Welcome to Spring Break. The gore is too tame to outweigh the film’s numerous shortcomings. And the body count isn’t nearly high enough to make the viewer forget what an utter load of crap they are subjecting themselves to.

If you have made it this far without seeing Welcome to Spring Break, consider yourself lucky. It is a poorly put together slasher effort with bad acting, a generic soundtrack, an uninspired script, and nearly no redeeming qualities. If your curiosity gets the better of you and you want to check the film out, it is available on DVD from LionsGate with the awesome special feature that is the full screen version of the film.

WICKED RATING: 1.5/10  [usr 1.5]

Director(s): Umberto Lenzi
Writer(s): Umberto Lenzi, Vittorio Rambaldi, James Justice
Stars: Nicolas de Toth, Sarah Buxton
Year: 1988
Studio/ Production Co: Elpico S.A.
Budget: Unknown
Language: English
Length: 90 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Slasher

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welcome_to_Spring_Break

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Written by Tyler Doupé
Tyler Doupe' is the managing editor at Wicked Horror. He has previously penned for Fangoria Mag, Rue Morgue Mag, FEARnet, Fandango, ConTV, Ranker, Shock Till You Drop, ChillerTV, ComingSoon, and more. He lives with his husband, his dogs, and cat hat(s).
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