I love a good practical joke (who doesn’t). Give me saran wrap across the toilet seat, a buzz shocker on the hand, or even the classic snake-in-the-peanuts-jar for the freshman of jokesters and I’m in pure heaven. But what Punk’d hell was I in the day I watched this 1984 beach blanket classic on USA Up All Night (the best Netflix on cable we had… R.I.P. our angel host Gilbert)? Traveling to the local gas station where they had VHS rentals (true story) I desperately searched for Surf Part I or even the slim hopes there was Surf III: Teenage Wasteland, but alas, it would be another twenty years before I realized the dirty trickery that had befallen me; There is no Surf! Like the clever line from The Usual Suspects, the greatest trick the devil ever played was making people think he did not exist, yet I counter you with the dirty deed brought to you by these filmmakers!
Starring a cast of future Hollywood starlets and soon-to-be-ers like Eric (Pulp Fiction, Some Kind of Wonderful, The Fly II) Stoltz, Tom ( One Crazy Summer, Popcorn!) Villard, and Corinne (Zapped!, Police Academy IV: Citizens on Patrol, Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love) Bohrer, the film also waxed the boards of seasoned veterans like Terry (Weekend at Bernie’s) Kiser, Ruth (Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In) Buzzi, and Cleavon (Blazing Saddles) Little. Yet the star of the movie (in more ways than one) is the ever-popular Eddie Deezen, fresh off his stints in both Grease films and Steven Spielberg’s 1941. Screenwriter and Director Randall Badat wrote the script (which his agent called “the biggest piece of S*%T!”) in two days specifically with Deezen in mind and wanted to create a mix of the Frankie Avalon/AIP beach films with a little bit of Night of the Living Dead. The results… Well, let’s just say it’s no Big Wednesday or even an Endless Summer II!
If you happen to have found this little ocean view of cinema splendor at your local VHS store, then you know the plot is a low tide, yet is barnacled with scenes of pure chaos. Frankenstein wannabe nerd Deezen wants to rid the beaches of his worst enemies, the surfers. How is he going to do this? Through his brand of smooth bubbly soda named Buzzz Cola (♫♪♪ Might as well go for a soda. Nobody drowns and nobody dies ♫♪♪). The only issue? It’s turning the Bros into Flesh-eating zombie surfers! If after watching the film for fifteen minutes and expected The Deer Hunter then you were in the swell period, hanging a duck dive, and sipping too much tiki juice.
This was barreling on a thruster of ninety-one minutes of pure hang-ten fun. This was the only film Dabat would direct but did go on to write classics like The Cutting Edge 3: Chasing the Dream and Wargames: The Dead Code. The film was a moderate success (sans people confused by the title) and bolstered a bossa nova soundtrack with bands like The Beach Boys, Thomas Dolby, and Oingo Boingo. You might need a Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV metal detector to find a copy, but there are illegal (yikes!) copies on Youtube. So, cut back your groovy foot to the couch, have a nice SPAM-infused pig roast, and wipe out to some 80s Deezen/Zombie beach beast bingo!