The Horror Of Beach Party - The Horror Of Beach Party(Blu Ray/DVD) [Severin - 2018]Coming at the end of the summer, perfect to partial those post-sunshine blues here’s a decidedly wacky and at times frankly schizophrenic summer creature feature from the mid 60’s. The Horror Of Beach Party blends together corny rock ’n’ roll soundtracked beach drama, amusing aquatic monster action, with moments of fairly extreme gore and nightmare fuel imagery. On either Blu Ray or DVD from Severin Films here is the first ever uncut release of the film.
The Horror Of Beach Party was the second film directed by California based Del Tennery- who is probably most known for Bug-eyed zombie flick I Eat Your Skin, which for a time shared a double bill with the classic rapid hippy movie I Drink Your Blood. The film appeared in 1964, was black & white- and this I must say adds a slightly more arty & grim edge to the films more gory & nightmarish elements- this new transfer( I’m reviewing the Blu Ray version) is rather nice, with both the films moody monochrome, and it’s Rock ‘n’ Roll- to unsettling electronic soundtrack coming off well.
The film opens with unscrupulous man dumping barrels of liquid radioactive waste in the sea- this makes its way down to the skeleton crew of a boat wreck. And fairly soon with the use of very low-grade, though kind of creepy, stop-monition animation these once pile of bones morph into rather clumsy looking mermen. Fairly soon the fishy fiends take their first victim- a female swimmer on a rocky outcrop- with very long lingering shots of blood dripping down her feet. From here on we get a decidedly haphazard & unpredictable film that shifts from greasy hair bobbing rock & roll sing- song & tacky dance routines. Onto bickering teenagers & beach fights, though to munching monster mouthed & bloody attacks on a midnight slumber party, through to inane but amusing scientist banter, back to more unsettling monster attacks & nightmarish sped-up footage of the mermen making their way through woodland. Like much of the film, the title of The Horror Of Beach Party is somewhat misleading- as only say half of the film takes place on the beach- the rest takes place in suburban, woodland, and an inland pound- where the creatures make their way to. All in all, I’d say it certainly goes beyond, and above the straight campy beach- film it sells itself as- to creating a fairly appealing & bizarre crossbreed.
On the Blu Ray, we get a fair selection of extras, and I'll go through these via their run times. So first up we have Return To Beach Party- this is a twenty-some minute doc, about Del Tennery, his other early films, and of course The Horror Of Beach Party- this is made-up of a male voiceover discussing an interview with Tennery, a recent interview with one of the directors friends, and of course lots of footage from his films. The next thing is an archival interview with Tennery- this runs around nine minutes, and once again sees him discussing early films. Next, we have Shock & Roll- this is a seven-minute featurette with filmmaker Tim Sullivan discussing the history of rock & roll, and later metal in horror cinema- this I found the most interesting of the extras- though it would have nicer if it had been a wee bit longer. Next is It’s The Living End- a four-minute interview with two members of the Rock ‘n’ Roll band in the film The Del- Aires- this again was interesting too, and the pair now in the mid 70’s are still playing together. Lastly, we get an original trailer.
Initially, the idea of a campy, gory & seeming fairly obscure beach film piqued my interest, but when I saw that Severin where putting it out- I was sold, as the label has a history of releasing fairly unequal fare. And I must say The Horror of Beach Party certainly follows the trend for intriguing & unusually B-movie fare. In conclusion, it’s another winner from the label. And if you're quick you may still be able to snag the ltd bundle release of the film direct from the company- it takes in a beach ball & pin of the merman, and can be purchased directly from the companies site