As the song nearly goes, summer’s (almost) here and the time is right — for the drunken debauchery that is Spring Break. Those of us who aren’t in school might not be able to take the time to travel to the hottest sunspots in the country, however, and for them, there’s this Netflix playlist that attempts to give you the highs and lows of the real thing… except with more monsters than you’d expect. Like, a seriously surprising number of monsters. What’s up with that?
BEACH PARTY (1963)
The movie that started it all — well, kind of. It has the sun and the sand, if not quite the level of unrestrained partying that we tend to think of when it comes to spring break these days. Clearly, Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon didn’t have it in them to party hard, which might be for the best, considering. Don’t get too disappointed, however; the cameos by Vincent Price (playing “Big Daddy,” of course) and Dick Dale are so good that they’d make up for almost any problems.
SHE’S ALL THAT (1999)
Technically, teen romantic comedy She’s All That isn’t really a Spring Break movie — but there’s no getting away from the importance of the event to the lives of the main players, thanks in large part to reality TV star Brock Hudson, AKA Matthew Lillard in a career-best role. Think of it as a lesson in the mistakes that can be made during spring break — or, perhaps, just a chance to enjoy early movie appearances by Paul Walker, Lil Kim and Clea DuVall. And is that… True Blood’s Anna Paquin…? (Spoilers: Yes.)
JEEPERS CREEPERS (2001)
Talking of movies that aren’t necessarily about Spring Break, consider Jeepers Creepers a temporary breather from sun-kissed debauchery for a good scare. On their way back from Spring Break, two kids end up being hunted by a supernatural entity that wants to harvest their organs. So, you know, just your everyday story about what it’s like to return to the real world after Spring Break, then…
”SPRING BREAK” (2003)
This first-season episode of CSI: Miami (Episode 21, for those looking for it) lets the wonderfully-named Horatio Caine deal with two murders in the middle of spring break that involve bitten legs and drowned corpses that might have died before they were drowned. Sure, the deaths might be tragic if that’s how you decide to look at it, but why ruin a good time with reality like that? Slip on your shades, pop some potential one-liners in your mental to-do list and crank up the Who. There’s good times to be had.
MALIBU SPRING BREAK (2003)
Finally, we reach a movie that fulfills the potential of the idea of the “Spring Break movie”: No monsters, no murders, and no deep emotional connections. Instead, writer/director Kevin Lewis provides a sex comedy starring a former Playboy Playmate (Pilar Lastra) and Days of Our Lives star Charity Rahmer and, according to the movie’s IMDb page, its plot keywords include “french maid costume” and “female removes her clothes.” If ever there was a time to surrender to the mindless pleasures of the flesh, however…
”GIRLS IN BIKINIS, BOYS DOIN’ THE TWIST” (2004)
Sure, for some the prospect of watching Gilmore Girls take on Spring Break might be the epitome of unappealing, but to those, I simply shake my head and point to this episode, which gives solace to those who never managed to indulge in the practice but secretly knew that they’d be no good at it anyway. Just as Seinfeld’s “Festivus” was Christmas for the rest of us, think of this show as Spring Break for everyone who could never have pulled off that swimsuit in the first place.
”SPRING BREAKOUT” (2005)
From the sublime to the ridiculous (or maybe that should be the other way around), this second-season episode of Arrested Development — episode 17 —lets GOB confront the man trying to ruin his magic career and features breakouts from rehab, because that’s how this show rolls. For those who haven’t already watched the show in its entirety, putting this into the playlist might prove disruptive to your Spring Break fun, because you might end up just watching the whole thing from start to finish, but you do what you want with your free time, dammit. That’s what Spring Break is all about.
SUCCUBUS: HELL-BENT (2006)
Everyone’s had that one holiday romance that hasn’t gone to plan — maybe it ended poorly, or perhaps the other person never really realized it ended at all — and that’s what this over-the-top horror movie seeks to explore, albeit with the added bonus of making the spurned Spring Break lover into a supernatural monster who just happens to look amazing in a number of tight outfits. Not that I’m necessarily complaining, mind you.
What says “Spring Break craziness” more than flesh-eating fish causing mischief and destruction in a movie that includes appearances by Adam Scott, Richard Dreyfuss, Christopher Lloyd and Saw director Eli Roth, with the latter showing up as the ringleader of a group of Spring Breakers who find that their break really doesn’t go as planned. More than anything, you want to check this out for the unexpected Jaws homages, which go way beyond the casting of Dreyfuss. Come for the bikinis and carnage, stay for the investigation of the thin line between parody and loving tribute.
BIKINI SPRING BREAK (2012)
Really, everything you need to know about this revival of the Beach Movie genre is right there in the title: it’s Spring Break, and there are bikinis. From the same director who brought you Jailbait and Atlantic Rim (Those wondering if that’s a rip-off of Pacific Rim, the answer is a great big “Yes”) comes this movie that actually includes the phrase “a group of co-eds from a small conservative college break out of their shells when their marching band bus breaks down” in its official plot description. Despite that, it’s actually not a million miles away from Beach Party after all…