Editor’s Note: This review originally ran on February 23, 2020, as part of our “Box Office Failure Week” of film reviews. We rerunning it as part of our “Leek Majors Week” tribute.
If you ever wondered: Is there a film with an almost $20 million dollar price tag that the acting and technical unions had to shut down because none of the actors or crew were paid? Is there a film that still hasn’t been released—thirteen years after it completed production? More importantly: Is there a film where Lee Majors (being a really good sport about his “pop culture” status) goes “Six Million Dollar Man” on Dan Conner’s ass? Is there a film where Lee Majors makes prank phone calls looking for “Phil McCracken” with Johnny Brennan of The Jerky Boys?
Yep. There is.
And that movie is this reported “remake” of director Sean S. Cunningham’s second post-Friday the 13th project, the 1983 teen comedy, Spring Break (here’s that film’s theme song by Cheap Trick). The story is a familiar one: a group of four friends who were bullied in high school decide to seek revenge against those now college freshman bullies during a Florida Spring Break in 1983. Shot in outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the film was produced by Big Sky Motion Pictures, the production company of the film’s writer and director, Mars Callahan, who’s best known for the acclaimed Poohall Junkies starring Chazz Palminteri and Christopher Walken (and the little seen What Love Is starring Cuba Gooding, Jr.).
While the title makes you think this is a direct-to-DVD knockoff of a Judd Aptow sex-joke fest, you’d be wrong. Spring Break ’83, co-directed by Sam Raimi associate Scott Spiegel (Intruder, co-writer of Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn), carries an $18 million dollar price tag and was intended as a theatrical release.
And look at that cast. The talent we love here at B&S About Movies is everywhere you look! It’s a B-Movie fan’s dream wet dream with Robert Davi (Maniac Cop II), Erik Estrada (Do or Die, the Hallmark Channel’s Dead Over Diamonds), Morgan Fairchild (American Horror House), John Goodman (C.H.U.D), Lee Majors (The Norseman), Joe Pantoliano (The Final Terror) Joe Piscopo (Dead Heat), Richard Portnow (Howard Stern’s dad in Private Parts), and Adrian Zmed (The Final Terror, William Shatner ‘80s TV series TJ Hooker). Fans of cable television’s Hannah Montana, iZombie, and Henry Danger (and its spin-off, Danger Force) will notice Andrew Caldwell in one of his earliest theatrical roles as “Mouth”; he’s also appeared in Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny, Drillbit Taylor, and the latest Matrix installment, Revolutions (2021).
It’s been reported the film screened at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009. However, it actually didn’t screen at the festival: the film was shown at an (unnamed) venue in Park City, Utah, at the same time Sundance was taking place. Piggybacking the film onto the festival did nothing to help the film find a distributor. The film’s once official website now leads to a 404 error and the legal disputes over who owns the film’s negative still continues. . . . And we’re sure Lee has stories to tell. We wonder if he ever got paid?
About the Author: You can read the music and film criticisms of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook. He’s also a staff writer at B&S About Movies.