The Horror of Party Beach (1964)



All right, I know that seems like an overblown grade to give a cheap beach party horror movie but, for once, the movie delivers everything that the poster promised!  And, for once, the movie is never boring!  The 78 minute run time could have gone on for, hell, another 10 or 15 minutes and I wouldn’t have minded one bit!  Not only is producer/director Del Tenney’s The Horror of Party Beach a hoot and half, it has all of the elements of a great, early 60s drive-in picture!

In fact, the film’s opening immediately drew me in with its fast paced tracking shot of a group of motorcyclists following behind the movie’s main character Hank Green (John Scott) and his lady Tina (Marilyn Clark) in a car, speeding down the road while surf music played.  Regardless of what the film would be about, I was already hooked.  Shortly after we learn that Hank’s and Tina’s relationship is on the rocks because Hank has grown up and has become a scientist while Tina only has one “experiment” on her mind, heh heh…

Of course, all that romantic mumbo-jumbo is just a red herring that detracts from what the film is really about; a bunch of cool looking, rubber monsters that walk around violently killing people for no particular reason.

The opening scene after the title sequence is equally awesome.  As mentioned earlier, it’s evocative of everything cool about early 60s pop culture, including the frat/surf rock band the Del-Aires rockin’ ‘n’ rollin’ to a bunch of swinging beach cats, who dance around all care free like a bunch of goofy, early 60s cats would do – albeit with a really nice ass closeup.  Then Hank gets in a fight with one of the local bikers over Tina before the film cuts to a ship which hauls around barrels of toxic waste.  One of the ship’s inhabitants doesn’t think twice about emptying the contents into the water and, well, I don’t think I have to tell you the rest.

The film most certainly delivers; the monsters kill a lot of people.  People are introduced in the film just to be killed!  There’s an obnoxious group of girls at a sleepover that make you think the film is turning too corny and then they all get slaughtered by the monster, and then there’s a trio of sassy broads who say a bunch of suggestive stuff to a gas station employee before also getting killed!  At first I thought the monster was just killing women but there were male victims as well.

My only complaint is that I wasn’t exactly sure what effect they were going for.  When the monster kills its first victim, the camera turns away Psycho-style and it looks as though ooze is flowing down the victim’s leg.  It turns out that ooze was in fact supposed to be gore, which we later see in closeup.

Eventually Hank and his scientist pals figure out how to dispatch the monsters bringing the movie to its expected finale.  Again, great movie with some neat killings and fun early 60s vibe.  Also it’s an absolute fact that, no matter how outdated some of the elements in this and similar films are, black Levis, motorcycles and curvy cuties in stretch pants will never go out of style.  If only the ladies figured out to get tattoos back then.

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