|THE HORROR OF PARTY BEACH
|Copyright 1964 Iselin-Tenney Productions
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 18 June 2006
- Hank - Obviously the hero, because he spends so much time on the screen.
- Elaine - Love is the plan and the plan is Hank. She also needs to invest in a practical pair of hiking boots.
- Dr. Gavin - Supposedly Elaine's father. The whole situation is kind of creepy.
- Eulabelle - Holy cow, when is anyone going to tell this woman about emancipation?
- Tina - Hank's old girlfriend, who was a real tramp. Finger-painted to death by a monster.
- Two drunks, three Jersey girls, and an entire pajama party - Monster snacks.
- The Monsters - Terrible fish monsters that love hotdogs and walk like they are on the verge of having a bowel movement.
|The interesting thing about people disposing of radioactive waste at sea is that you would assume the individuals responsible for doing so would be discreet. Not so the crew of the garbage scow in this movie. In broad daylight and within plain sight of shore, they merrily push drums over the side that are clearly labeled as radioactive. The reason for this is made clear later, but it still does not make sense.
Plunk, a barrel quickly sinks to the sea floor, before hitting with a thud and popping its plug and leaking black fluid. The radioactive liquid comes into contact with several waterlogged skeletons. During an excruciating three minutes, the bare bones are covered with fleshy growths, eventually becoming completely absurd creatures. They look like a man/bass hybrid that has choked to death while trying to set the world record for eating the most hot dogs at once. As the film progresses, it becomes obvious that only two of those suits were made. The rest of the monsters look like vaguely man-shaped masses of wet leaves.
Once the barrel goes overboard, you do not have much time. If you are standing and drinking when the guy dumps the radioactive waste, I highly suggest finding a spot on the couch. Otherwise, you are likely to spill your drink. If not from dropping it outright, then your jaw might knock the glass out of your hand as it falls open in disbelief.
So, "Party Beach" is a patch of sand somewhere along the Connecticut coast. All the cool kids go there to listen to a swinging band and cut a rug on the sand. They dance and dance and dance. Somebody should stop them, honestly. One of the more disturbing parts here is the guys who plant themselves in front of the camera and start wiggling. Most beach movies feature lots of girls in bathing suits bouncing around. This director completely missed the point. Guys, guys, and a few more guys fill the screen with their grinning faces and other parts. I swear, not since "Chicken Run" have I seen that many gangly legs in a movie.
The guys? My wife says that they are "FABULOUS." Like they drive a jeep wrangler, but never seem to pick up girls, fabulous.
Two new arrivals at the beach are Hank and his girlfriend, Tina. Their relationship is falling apart due to her heavy drinking and flirting with other men (including a passing motorcycle gang on their way to the beach). The young man stomps off in disgust, leaving his hussy to drunkenly undulate with the other dancers. Hank strikes up a polite conversation with Elaine, though not for long. The leader of the motorcycle gang joins Tina and starts checking her for concealed weapons as she attempts to strip down to her bathing suit. Not to be punked by an entire cycle gang, Hank intervenes and a fight ensues. The two antagonists engage in a real dance fight. Not only do they prance around, they actually hit each other at the end of their questionable dance moves. It does not work on several levels. I much prefer the sort of combat we see in Breakin' or Psycho Beach Party. Hank eventually gets the upper hand (or lead foot) on the motorcycle rider. The fight stops and both guys shake hands, then pointedly ignore Tina.
What the heck? I am sure that one of them was supposed to mate with her after that. If I were an alien researcher, studying human relationships, I would tear one of my secondary brain masses off in frustration.
Bereft of a virile male, Tina swims out to a jumble of rocks and takes ten minutes to relax. She is surprised and killed by one of the fish monsters. None of the other teenagers hear her screams, because they are all grooving to the "Zombie Stomp." Somebody does notice it when she washes up on the beach and a few women scream in horror. I was too busy wondering why the blood had not washed off to pay much attention.
The monsters stumble upon a veritable smorgasbord later that night. About twelve girls are at a slumber party (Elaine was invited, but decided not to go). The script had an interesting idea here. All of the soon-to-be female corpses think that what is creeping up on them is a group of the local boys. They turn off the lights and stand giggling with pillows clutched in their hands. However, what approaches is actually a pack of scaly killers. The incongruity of the women's age spoils some of the effect, but mostly what does not work is the direction. There is something chilling about a crowd of gleeful innocents anticipating a surprise when the viewer knows that inexorable death is closing in.
Anyway, scratch one slumber party.
After a few more killings, the media begins having a field day with the story. All the special reports about monsters cause Eulabelle to worry aloud to her employers, Dr. Gavin and Elaine. She is deeply religious and, because of her race, that can only mean voodoo. (I swear, someone would have a hard time making this movie now without having their house burned down.) There is one horribly wrong scene with Elaine waiting for Hank to come by and pick her up. Eulabelle is vacuuming the parlor in her maid outfit. The old lady talks about a few things, but what struck me was a short blurb about all her dead brothers and sisters. If memory serves, Eulabelle has five deceased siblings. That is a staggering mortality rate! Did those kids walk to school across a major highway without the benefit of crossing guards or something?
Hank does take Elaine out on a date. Oddly, it seems like they go to a dance at a community center located on the same beach where Tina was slain. If that is not creepy enough, seeing the two lovebirds drift around the party before coming together and gazing into each other's eyes will. You can almost hear the gears moving in Hank's head, "I love, oh how I love you after someone has died. Let us go and kill someone else, so our love will never end." What a pair of freaks.
The monsters are still on a rampage and one mistakes a store mannequin for a real woman. While smashing the glass to get at the plastic decoy, the creature slices its forearm off. Wait a minute; I distinctly remember that the beasts were originally human skeletons. How did plate glass cut straight through bone?
A detached part of a monster provides for a really silly scene as Dr. Gavin examines the remnant and everyone else watches. Through a simple visual inspection he determines that the flesh is mutated protozoa that have adhered to a human skeleton. Right, of course. I can deal with the mushy monsters being such, but what are the odds of mutated protozoa growing on a human skeleton and looking like a seahorse with a mouthful of sausage? Anyway, during the examination, the group realizes that something is moving around outside. They turn off the lights and wait as a shadowy form slowly moves through the doorway. As the two police officers are about to strike (With their knives!), everyone realizes that it is just Eulabelle. She was frightened to stay in the house all by herself, so she came out to the lab. The old maid also accidentally knocks over a beaker of liquid, which contacts the monster's arm. The arm explodes into flame, utterly destroyed by the contents of the beaker!
You should be wondering what caustic chemical Dr. Gavin had in that beaker which was just waiting to be spilled. Hank asks the same question, causing the older scientist to exclaim, "Sodium!" Now, I agree that sodium is corrosive and you would not want to touch it. The problem is that what was in the beaker was obviously a liquid. Dr. Gavin does not say that the beaker was filled with sodium chloride (salt water); he states just "sodium." Sodium does have a liquid state, when heated to over two hundred degrees Fahrenheit or at room temperature under extreme (one million atmospheres) pressure. Either way, the people in that room should have been experiencing some distress if the liquid in the beaker was pure sodium. On the other hand, the monsters came from the ocean. The solution in the beaker could not have been salt water, because that would not make sense either.
I know that I just wasted an entire paragraph trying to work out a stupid science trick in a bad movie. Stick around; I do that pretty often.
The examination and subsequent destruction of the arm give the plot a kick in the rear to get moving. Dr. Gavin, Elaine, and the police all begin testing nearby bodies of water for radioactivity. If they find a lake that makes the Geiger Counter tick, then that is where the monsters are hiding during the day. Hank spends his time trying to locate a supplier of pure sodium.
Stop the movie, because a pair of drunks (who I swear are trying to impersonate Dean Martin) get eaten by the monsters. The pair stumble out of a bar and crash their cars together while trying to leave the parking lot. They then start hoofing it and encounter what appears to be a man asleep in his vehicle, but then find out half his face is off. A nearby bush suddenly eats one of the intoxicated pedestrians. Since the monsters kill people to drink their blood, I imagine that the aquatic fiend shuffled back to its lair in a pleasant haze.
Hank finally locates a supplier for the pure sodium. He drives to New York City to pick the stuff up while the water testing brigade continues its thankless efforts. It is Elaine who makes the discovery; the water in a small quarry causes the needle on her Geiger Counter to jump. Unfortunately, it is dusk and the deadly creatures are starting to emerge for their nightly reign of terror. When the frightened girl attempts to flee, she gets her ankle caught between some rocks. Elaine pulls free, but the ankle and foot are covered with blood and she can only limp away. The monsters close in.
Through a pretty nifty set of circumstances, all of the men (including Hank, with a small trash can of sodium) reach the scene just in time to save Elaine. They pull grenade-sized chunks of sodium from the can and chuck them at the approaching terrors. Every time a creature is hit by a piece of sodium it explodes in a shower of sparks and steam. The monsters are quickly defeated, but who could withstand the attack of supermen who throw pure sodium without suffering ill effects? Yes, truly a happy ending. And, because Dr. Gavin is injured during the battle (not by handling sodium with his bare hands; a monster chokes him), Hank gets to spend a little quality time in Elaine's bedroom.
I highly recommend this to other bad movie lovers. Not only does it have terrible acting, awful stereotypes, ridiculous monsters, and easily a dozen glaring problems to laugh at, the film is mercifully short. They knew how to make them in the old days. Somebody realized that, should you make a movie about hotdog-toothed monsters draining people of their blood, it would keep the audience entertained for about eighty minutes. If you are going to make a bad movie, do not let it overstay its welcome.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- If you expose a submerged human skeleton to radioactive waste it will mutate into an anthropoid fish monster.
- The first bikinis were made from recycled picnic blankets.
- Most shark attacks are by wild sharks, vice their tame cousins.
- Carbon-14 dating is used to sequence DNA.
- Slumber parties are a common social activity for thirty year-old women.
- A car will not start if it has a flat tire.
- Universities regularly dispose of toxic waste by dumping it at sea.
- Pure sodium is sold in handy grenade-sized chunks.
- 2 mins - Chugging Amaretto, now that is sad.
- 3 mins - That is because he does not speak "whore."
- 15 mins - Dance fight! Maybe they were trying to be too literal here...
- 22 mins - The one guy is nearly all neck and Adam's Apple.
- 43 mins - "I want to make out where my last girlfriend died."
- 49 mins - Exactly how many organs are in your arm?
- 61 mins - Either that detective draws cross-body in a very awkward manner or the actor is a moron.
- 76 mins - "You jus' go on in an' do what comes naturally, mistah Green."
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Dr. Gavin: "Now that's ridiculous, Eulabelle. I want you to get this idea of voodoo out of your head. I have no doubt we'll find a perfectly reasonable explanation for the girl's death." |
Eulabelle: "Maybe you right, but the police have been looking and they haven't found anything. They been running 'round here like headless chickens."
||News Report: "Rumors of an invasion from the sea took on a new dimension last night, when over twenty teenage girls were brutally attacked and murdered during a slumber party."
||Boston Girl 1: "Hey, where yah been? Mo needs help with da wheel." |
Boston Girl 2: "Down by thaaat quaaaarry. Something must haave diiiieeed in thah. It smells like the Fulton Fish Market in da middle of July."
||Dr. Gavin: "If a human body, a drowned person, were attacked by tiny sea plants which became parasites and completely..." |
Dr. Gavin: "No, it's still alive, but it's changed into a...well, is it a plant or an animal?"
Detective: "It's both?"
Dr. Gavin: "It's a giant protozoa."
|Theme Song|| Listen to a clip from the soundtrack. |
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|The monsters are closing in, but Hank and the police officers are armed with a trashcan full of pure sodium. Chuck that sodium, boy! Chuck it!
| ||Leave a comment||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |
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