Spring Break At… – Nightmare Beach (1989)

Nightmare Beach or Welcome to Spring Break while being a horror film, is more like a teen comedy sans the laughs with horror overtones. There is nothing scary, nothing that will make one shiver or cower in fright, but there is a biker named Diablo who is put to death in the electric chair and who vows to come back and get his revenge, which he does, during Spring Break.

As the entire movie takes place during Spring Break, there are of course a lot of pretty girls, hunky men, a wet t-shirt contest and of course, a plethora of unknown actors to head up the cast. Thankfully, there are a couple of veterans present in Michael Parks and John Saxon to round it out and lend at least a little credence to the proceedings. As it is though, the film does end up being somewhat of a good time, though there is definitely not enough of the supernatural presence personified by Diablo and while he does kill a few people, the movie focuses more on the college students, the cops and the bikers than it does on the titular ‘nightmare’. What makes the kills by Diablo a little interesting is the fact that some he gives the personal touch, murdering his victims by hand while others he kills through his bike by electrocuting them. What would have been nice though, is to make the killer seem more of a threat than he was, build up to his appearances and his kills instead of them just being all sort of random.

Originally slated to direct was Umberto Lenzi who decided to back out and in his place Harry Kirkpatrick would take over, creating a blend of beach cheese and horror. While the film would look good overall, one has to wonder why he decided to give prominence to a storyline involving a prostitute who would pick up older men over that of Diablo and the horror he vowed to inflict upon those who wronged him. Even the main star of the film in Nicolas de Toth as Skip would not interact with the killer until the last few minutes of the film which seemed like a wasted opportunity. Even the revelation of said killer was a bit of a letdown as nothing really pointed towards it and took away from the horror rather than aiding it.

Though Nightmare Beach would not end up being all that it could have been, it is still eminently watchable though par for the course for a movie of its ilk.

2.5 out of 5

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