(thanks, Tommy Retro’s Blast From The Past!)
As it’s almost (but not quite) beach season (unless it’s summer when you’re actually reading this, then BEWARE!) here’s a cautionary tale for you hep cats and hip chicks looking for some fun in the soon to be summer sun: DON’T DO IT! Hell, I mean between the assorted oil and chemical spills and their assorted hasty to long term cleanups that just add MORE nasty chemicals to the waters around everywhere, you’re only bound to run into something monstrous coming out of the water (or heck, just IN the water) that wants to EAT. YOUR. FLESH! (Mua-ha-ha-ha-haaaaa!, but somewhat true! Eeeek!).
Anyway, 1964’s Horror on Party Beach kind of predicted this modern age of old-school waste making hasty retreats for beaches everywhere, but the film was SO bad that no one listened because they were busy laughing their bottoms off as this bottom of the fish barrel “Z”-grade spook-tacular stunk up a theater near them…
This ultra low-budget cheapie isn’t a good film by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s funny as hell if you’re in the mood for a laugh or series of laughs and have the time to sit through this stinker. Granted, you have to realize that the filmmakers were kind of clueless about a few things like calling their wacky-looking monsters “zombies” when they’re kind of not zombies (but sort of are if you consider they’re reanimated skeletons in cheaply made amphibian costumes). Also, the acting here? Wellll, this is what happens when you hire local “talent”, I suppose (the film was shot in and around Stamford, Connecticut). Granted, director Del Tenney is on record as stating he was making a send up of the hugely popular “Beach Party” genre, so on that level, the film “succeeds”.
Then again, here’s what you have to work with plot-wise: When toxic waste created sea creatures rise from the depths and start attacking the (mostly) bikini-clad young ladies of a small Connecticut town, only the efforts of SCIENCE and some strong-willed teens who want to get things back to normal can stop the threat! It’s pretty predictable and by the numbers stuff here, but at least the black and white photography works in adding a nicely unsettling vibe to some scenes. Then again, it took me years to actually appreciate anything about this one because I was always cracking up at everything I saw.
On the other claw, despite some mildly interesting “scientific” stuff explaining the origin of the monsters here, the film tends to drag at times and the action isn’t as thrilling or exploitative as it needs to be. “Scary” scenes are funny, funny scenes aren’t really and by the time the end rolls around, you’ll be chuckling or chucking that disc or deleting that download, never to go back again. Granted, you can just dig up the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version online and get more laughs from the jokes told in and about the film if you like, but I prefer the original because most of the gags tell themselves with no need for that Greek chorus action. Well, at least you get a bunch of songs by the Del-Aires to listen to as this one plays out. Also, the “creepy” music you hear when the monsters are lurking about is pretty hilarious and will stick in your brain for about a week.
Amusingly enough, as bad as this film is, I actually prefer it to one of the later horror flicks it influenced, 1980’s Humanoids From The Deep, a cult ‘classic” that lays on some mean-spirited gore and monster raping scenes that were added after the film was shot to spice things up. I’ll get to that one in a future RFotW, but like the actual beach you’re ogling as a vacation spot this year because you hear that it’s now “cleaned up”, I’d avoid that one like the plague.
Hey! If you’ve read this far, congratulations! Now you have MORE reading to do, as this post is actually part of The Accidentally Hilarious Classic Movie Blogathon hosted by Movies, Silently. I’d expect you to be popping over there soon enough (as in NOW) to check out the other posts by some fine and talented writers, but don’t tell them I sent you because the films I’ve written about are so terrible that maybe I’d be embarrassed to admit I actually like them to some extent.
Let’s just keep THAT a secret now, shall we? SHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!