B MONSTER SUMMER VIEWING SPECIAL
The Memorial Day weekend has signaled the arrival of summer,
and hordes of monster lovers will soon assault the shores
of myriad resorts. In an effort to enhance the beachgoing
experience, the B Monster offers up a solid selection of
beach flicks from which to choose:
SHE GODS OF SHARK REEF (1957)
An ultra-cheap Polynesian potboiler shot by Roger Corman
back-to-back with a similar South Sea sudser called "Naked
Paradise." This one's a muddled stinker about brothers shipwrecked
on an island of beautiful chicks. It's watchable solely
on the strength of its cool title, a syrupy teen theme song,
and kitschy animated credits that many of the Corman films
employed during this period.
MONSTER OF PIEDRAS BLANCAS (1959)
The semi-gory saga of a black lagoon-esque creature, lured
ashore by a lonely lighthouse keeper with scraps from the
local butcher shop. Don Sullivan ("The Giant Gila Monster")
and Jeanne Carmen ("Untamed Youth") are the teen beach rompers
who ultimately prove the beast's undoing.
HORROR OF PARTY BEACH (1964)
This one's the coolest, kookiest, sandiest shindig on the
list. Filmed entirely on location in Stamford, Conn., Party
Beach delivers the campy goods. Motorcycle gangs, knockdown
beach fights, a swingin' teen combo that does "The Zombie
Stomp," and mass-murdering amphibious creatures with dentures
made of wobbling hot dogs. Don't dare miss this one.
RIDE THE WILD SURF (1964)
Big-name beach blowout with some of the most unconvincingly
staged surf footage you're ever likely to see. Fabian and
Tab Hunter court Barbara Eden and Shelley Fabares between
stints "surfing" in front of a rear projection screen. Location
filming helps a little, but it takes days to get Jan and
Dean's brain-numbing title tune out of your head: "Ride,
ride, ride the wild surf! Ride, ride, ride the wild surf!
Ride, ride, ride! Ride, ride, ride!"
THE BEACH GIRLS AND THE MONSTER (1965)
Slapped together with spit and peanut butter by former matinee
hunk Jon Hall, this one turns up on TV occasionally as "Monster
From the Surf." To keep his lackadaisical son from ignoring
his studies in marine biology, scientist dad dons a scrappy
rubber suit and sets about murdering twisting beach nymphs.
Lots of stale surf footage and songs by Frank Sinatra Jr.
BEACH BLANKET BINGO (1965)
Perhaps the film most identified with this irksome sub-genre,
Bingo is indeed a camp-monger's dream come true. Dig the
cast, dad -- Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon (of course),
John Ashley ("High School Caesar"), his real-life wife Deborah
Walley ("Gidget"), Marta Kristen ("Lost in Space") as a
mermaid yet, Don Rickles, Paul Lynde, Harvey Lembeck, Buster
Keaton -- stop me when you've heard enough.
DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE BIKINI MACHINE (1965)
Embarrassing attempt to resuscitate the sagging surf genre
by cross-breeding it with the type of second-rate sci-fi
that shared the same drive-in audience. Vincent Price is
brought on board as the misguided medico who manufactures
shapely cyborgs as part of his evil scheme. With the ubiquitous
Annette and Frankie as well as Dwayne Hickman ("Dobie Gillis").
At last, the beach film for people who hate the beach. This
one started Steven Spielberg on the road to zillionairedom
as it proved his ability to manipulate an audience better
than darn near anyone. Personably acted and suspenseful
from start to finish, it should be required viewing for
impressionable college students around Memorial Day. There
might be a heck of a lot less holiday traffic.
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Michael F. Blake, whose books are available through Vestal
Press or at http://www.amazon.com
Scott Essman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Harris Lentz III, whose books are available at http://www.mcfarlandpub.com
Bob Madison, whose books are available at http://www.amazon.com
Bryan Senn, whose books are available at http://www.mcfarlandpub.com
and at http://www.midmar.com/books.html
Tom Weaver, whose books are available at http://www.mcfarlandpub.com
and at http://www.midmar.com/books.html
"Shock-Full of Thrills!" -- Creature With the Atom Brain