Movie Review: The Horror of Party Beach (1964)
“HORRIFYING! Teen-age slumber party attacked by demons from the dead!”
The Horror of Party Beach (1964)
Director: Del Tenney
Cast: John Scott, Alice Lyon, Allan Laurel
Synopsis: Mutant sea creatures terrorise partygoers at a beach.
There can be little doubt that the long-dead crew of the sunken ship onto which a drum of radioactive waste is dumped in The Horror of Party Beach were all male and had been at sea for some time because, apart from a couple of unfunny drunks late on, all their victims are comely young women in bikinis or lingerie. The radioactive waste not only reanimates the crew’s corpses, but transforms them into unearthly creatures which resemble the immobile fish heads with gaping mouths down which you might try to lob balls for a prize at a fairground sideshow. The monsters’ unintentionally comical appearance contributes immeasurably to the accidental humour to be found in Del Tenney’s notoriously bad movie, which is just as well because there is nothing else in this movie to justify your attention.
The creatures’ first victim is Tina (Marilyn Clarke), a headstrong young woman who swims off to an isolated spot after breaking up with her boyfriend, Hank (John Scott) only for her bloody corpse to wash up on the beach a short time later, scaring the life out of all the 30-year-old teenagers partying to the sounds of the Del-Aires. Newspaper headlines then abound, sparing Tenney the expense of actually filming anything because they trumpet helpful progress reports as the creatures’ are driven further inland by their thirst for human blood. In fact, after the opening beach sequence – which seems to go on forever – most of the film is shot in darkness to save even more money. The creatures plod on through the night at the sedate pace reminiscent of a man in a cheap monster suit who can’t quite see where he’s walking, although somehow this never prevents them from catching their prey or evading capture by the authorities.
The only horrific thing about The Horror of Party Beach is the amount of celluloid wasted by committing it to film. The idea of blending the beach party genre – which was all the rage back then – with the perennially popular horror movie is not an unreasonable one, but Tenney sabotages any good that might have come out of it with his ham-fisted direction. He isn’t helped by consistently awful performances from a cast of amateurs, most of whom never appeared in another movie – although a few did pop up in The Curse of the Living Corpse, another movie from Tenney that was shot back-to-back with The Horror of Party Beach.
(Reviewed 19th March 2017)