The Beach Girls and the Monster – USA, 1964 – reviews

 
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[Total: 5   Average: 2/5]

‘Chicks and chills! The wildest shindig ever!’

The Beach Girls and the Monster is a 1964 [released 1965] American monster movie photographed and directed by Jon Hall from a story and screenplay by Joan Gardner. Additional dialogue was supplied by Robert Silliphant (co-writer of The Creeping Terror) and Don Marquis. It stars Jon Hall, Sue Casey,Walker Edmiston and Arnold Lessing.

The film was reissued as Surf Terror and shown on TV as Monster from the Surf. It has also apparently been released as Invisible Terror.

Unlike most beach party films, it was shot in black and white. On some prints, the Hawaiian surf footage shown on a projector is in colour. The onscreen copyright is 1964, although the film was not released until September 1965.

The theme song, “Dance Baby Dance,” was written by Frank Sinatra, Jr. and Joan Janis

beach girls and the monster

Young Richard Lindsay (Arnold Lessing) has given up his career in science in favor of his newfound passion, surfing – and hanging out and having fun with his surfer friends and girlfriend Jane (Elaine DuPont) on the Santa Monica beachfront near his father and stepmother’s house where he lives.

This is to the great displeasure of his father, the noted oceanographer Doctor Otto Lindsay (Jon Hall), who is married to the somewhat younger Vicky (Sue Casey), who is fast becoming dissatisfied with Otto’s relative lack of devotion to her. Also living with the Lindsays is Richard’s sculptor buddy Mark (Walker Edmiston), who walks with a limp as a result of an auto accident Richard had earlier.

While Vicky hits on her stepson and teases his friend Mark, a loathsome seaweed shrouded monster starts slaughtering the kids on the beach. Doctor Lindsay seems convinced that it is a mutated carnivorous South American “fantigua fish” that has grown large enough to exist out of the ocean…

Reviews [contains spoilers]:

“It’s fantastically stupid and is padded to an almost inexcusable degree with dull surfing footage, but at least it’s filmed well and has good sound quality. For that matter, the acting is halfway decent and the monster suit isn’t all that bad, either— it certainly holds up well in comparison to the creatures Paul Blaisdell built for AIP back in the 50’s…” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting

The plot has often been compared to an episode of “Scooby Doo” and that’s perfectly understandable once you see the utterly predictable twist ending […] The acting is terrible, the dialogue (“You kids get some clothes on and we’ll go down to the station!”) is a laugh and there are numerous hilarious sequences like the seizure-dance nighttime beach party and whatever the slutty stepmom is up to at any given time.” The Bloody Pit of Horror

“There’s some pretty bloody killings (for the period), the worst rear-projection driving sequences ever witnessed, and that infamous stock shot of an automobile racing off a high cliff–the same one used in hundreds of films since the 1930s!” George R. Reis, DVD Drive-In

“Interesting only for the sight of Jon Hall in his seaweed suit. Otherwise, a mess of bad acting, risible dialogue and an over abundance of surfing scenes.” Alan Frank, The Horror Film Handbook

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“It appears much of the film’s budget was exhausted when obtaining film and music rights, and precious little left for the special effects department. In addition to the miserable looking beastie that gets far too screen time, all of the victims – mauled to death by the shambling, bug-eyed fish man – suffer from more than grazes that barely qualify as skin deep.” Scott Stein, Trashfiend: Disposable Horror Fare of the 1960s & 1970s, Headpress, 2009

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“There are the requisite moments of bad dialogue – the most hilarious of which is when the police ask a scientist to identify what type of fish left footprints in the sand. There is much bad acting from the entire cast, although Elaine Dupont, cast as a sultry strumpet, struts her stuff with relish. For all that, Monster from the Surf is a film that tries and, like an idiot child, one that proves somewhat lovable in its ineptitude.” Richard Scheib, Moria

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“A cheap laugh riot, lots of bongos, murders and girls in bikinis.” Michael Weldon, The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film

“… uneven quickie… there’s not too much to keep up interest.” Variety

“Maintains the philosophical depth and production values of sixties beach bimbo fare… a hybrid horror with acres of flesh.” Videohound’s Golden Movie Retriever

” …Beach Girls is a great big mess, obviously made on a teeny-tiny budget.” John Wilson, The Official Razzie Movie Guide

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Filming locations:

Most of the interior shots – specifically all those of the Lindsay home – were shot at the Brentwood residence of Henry and Shirley Rose at 816 Glenmere Way in West Los Angeles. The Roses were friends of the producer, Edward Janis, with Shirley Rose also being the film’s art director.

Related: 

The Horror of Party Beach

Humanoids from the Deep

The-Beach-Girls-and-the-Monster

Monster-from-the-Surf

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