Wednesday, June 16, 2010

WELCOME TO SPRING BREAK (1988) - when college students decide to blow off some steam, a few are bound to end up dead (i.e. natural selection)

Two college football players attempt to broaden their horizons, hoping to find a couple of broads to do the vertical shuffle with.

Well, it looks like some convict is about to be executed. He yells about being framed, and says he is going to seek revenge on bad ass cop John Saxon for his role in the upcoming bake job. Interestingly, his name is “Diablo”, which may indicate a supernatural…hey, that’s some hot rock and roll music! Diva “Kirsten” belts out "take my body, not my heart", while various establishing shots of Ft. Lauderdale help divert our attention from the machinations of the plot.

The beaches of Lauderdale are overrun with sun bleached, beer guzzling teenagers, ready to push spring break from a vapid fun fest into a festival of permanent brain damage. Two of them in particular, Ronnie and Skip, are football players and intellectual stalwarts. They check into a hotel and discuss their goals for the week, all involving condoms and beer. Meanwhile, Saxon is investigating the fact that Diablos' body was dug up and stolen, presuming that his biker friends will attempt to seek revenge. Speaking of which, some girl hitchhikes with a biker wearing a helmet. He immediately starts speeding and than slams on the breaks, pushing a button on his bike to electrocute the girl. Interesting.

Ramping up the drama, the two football players almost get into it with the biker gang before Saxon breaks it up. Our “heroes” head to a bar where some pumping metal rips through, and one of them remarks that "this is what heaven must be like". Ronnie is trying to work his magic on the ladies, while Skip seems vaginally disinterested, even turning down the local priest’s daughter. The daughter is seen arguing with her priest dad about going to bars, saying "why can't I worry about my own soul?". Later in the film, they argue some more, as she wants to blast metal and get laid, and he has "higher plans" for her, whatever the fuck those might be. Listen, Jesus freak, girls just wanna have fun. You’re just delaying the inevitable.

Back to the beach, where young people are sowing their wild…OH MY CHRIST A SHARK ATTACK! Thankfully, the oink patrol shows up and unloads his firearm, saving the...oh wait, it's some jerk off in a shark suit playing a prank. Boy, that Jaws shit sure won't go away. Yet more ass rocking metal helps segue the scene into a wet t-shirt contest. I don’t know what this has to do anything, but lord am I entertained. Learning more about our heroes, we find out that Skip is a quarterback who lost the national championship for his team (throwing five picks, no less) and has since been depressed, even though he is a "sure thing" to go in the 1st round of the NFL draft. Ronnie, the horny wide receiver, decides to walk down the street and ask every girl he sees for sex, before finally hitting the jackpot with one of the biker chicks (randy as they tend to be). This doesn’t sit well with her biker boyfriend, so Ronnie gets pummeled by the gang before he can run a fly pattern.

Local bartender Gail, whose sister was apparently murdered by Diablo, has to deal with many an asshole in her line of work, as you might imagine, including a guy who chops off his fake hand, one of many practical jokes throughout the film. I guess these “jokes” are as good a reason as any to stay away from alcohol. She and Skip get to talking when Ronnie goes missing, and we are treated to a "Skip is looking for Ronnie while scoping out asses" montage while some more metal blares away. He then notices that the biker girl is wearing Ronnie’s necklace, and a plot alarm goes off in his head. So, Saxon, Gail, and Skip team up to solve this case, and if anyone has since lost track of this complex plot, we head back to the bar, with yet more metal blasting, just in time to watch Amy Lynn Baxter stroll in and out of frame. She also pops up in the sexy beach film Lauderdale, so maybe she’s just a local that hangs out at the beach, occasionally wandering in front of a camera.

I’d also like to make mention of an outdoor concert, where a hot chick in tight red spandex “rocks” out with some synth pop. The power goes out and pandemonium ensues, possibly perpetrated by one of the many metal bands featured throughout the film, offended by the presence of keyboards on the soundtrack. Also, the cops find that practical joker jack off, but, fortunately, this time he is actually dead, and not just putzing around. I guess the overgrown child who cried wolf finally got what was coming to him.

Our director is Umberto Lenzi, under the nom de anglo Harry Kirkpatrick (or, you could say that Umberto Lenzi is the nom de pasta of Harry Kirkpatrick). An Italian exploitation veteran of all shapes, sizes, budgets, and worth, here he attempts a decidedly American movie, with an American cast, albeit with a Giallo influenced script. He followed this one with another American shot production, Ghosthouse, one of his great unsung achievements (assuming you like crap like I do). While the Porky’s (or, more to the point, Spring Break) shenanigans are a bit at odds with the convoluted killer biker tale, never gelling into a cohesive whole, you could say that the film uniquely cuts back and forth between two totally separate exploitation genres. If you don’t buy that one, at least buy the soundtrack, featuring "Animal" performing "Rock Like an Animal" (their signature tune), and Derek St. Holmes performing "Eye of the Hunter" and "I Know How to Rock" (let’s just say that the latter title is a redundant piece of information). The clear lesson I took away from the film is that you should never trust bikers. I still can't believe that people thought hiring the Hell's Angels for security at Altamont was a good idea.

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