Danes Without A Clue stars 2 Danish comedians, Timm Vladimir and Gordon Kennedy and is regarded as the worst Danish film ever made, (although I am hard pushed to name another Danish film!). It follows the 2 on tour telling awful jokes and singing terrible songs, (A kind of Nordic Underground Comedy Movie). Even Vladimir and Kennedy have admitted it is awful and have pretty much decided not to mass release it. For that I say thank you to them both.
So we had a dilemma about what to do now. It was important that we did not miss any movies off the list, but this has become unavoidable as this film is not actually available! When I made the list, I did have around 125 movies which I trimmed down to 100 based on IMDb scores. This meant that in the background I have a list of about 25 movies doing nothing and minding their own business. This gave us an idea. In the now quite likely event that we can not get hold of a bad movie on our original list, we can sub it for a movie from the list of 25 films that did not originally make the list. Perfect!
But that was too easy, there had to be a punishment for not being able to watch a movie on the list and for having to substitute it for another movie. We decided the most suitable punishment was to swap the movie we could not find with not 1 but 2 bad movies from the 'subs bench' list of 25.
Our first from the subs bench is a 1960's Sci-Fi B movie, which to me is fantastic news and so I added my 2 new Dane friends to my Christmas card list, (they were subsequently removed when I discovered what the 2nd movie was, but more about that in my next blog). Regular readers will know I do like a bad Sci-Fi B movie. I love the wobbly sets, the campness and the aliens which are quite clearly just a bloke with a gorilla suit on and a goldfish bowl for a helmet.
And so it was with some relief and a feeling of optimism that I started to watch a movie, which I hoped would join Plan 9 and Robot Monster as one of my favourites.
Unfortunately, it did not work out that way.......
#73a The Horror of Party Beach (1964)
The Horror of Party Beach is a Sci-Fi B movie based on the beach party movies of the 60s. Trying to be very much of the time, it fused pop surf music with 50s style monster movies. The movie features a band called The Del-Aires, who are actually really good and an atomic monster, who is actually really bad.
We begin with the hero of our movie, Hank Green, (John Scott), taking his girlfriend, Tina, (Marilyn Clarke) to the beach. Tina is a fun time girl and is knocking back copious amounts of booze and is ready to pahrtay! Hank also used to be fun, but it appears that he would rather stay at home and alphabetise his vitamin collection as he scolds Tina for being a bit of a laugh. To get away from her whiny fella, Tina runs off down the beach to a party which is in full flow with garage surf music and silly dancing.
Meanwhile, some men are dumping radioactive waste from a boat just off the coast of where the mad party is going on. The barrels they dump sink to the bottom and because they were sealed with Pritt Stick and chewing gum, break open and release their black goo. The radioactive treacle lands on some human skulls on the sea bed and a reaction occurs. The skulls form into horrifying atomic monsters, hideous, ugly and grotesque in appearance, they are a bit like Piers Morgan, only with more personality.
Back at the party and Tina's flirting with the leader of a motorcycle gang, (Mike, played by Agustin Mayor, which sounds a bit like a council official with wind). This does not go down to well with Hank and fisty cuffs break out as he tries to prove to Tina he is still fun and a bit butch. Unfortunately his fight with Mike is so camp it makes the WWE look like all in bare knuckle cage fighting.
Jolly well miffed, Hank decides to leave and Tina decides to go for a swim. Whilst sunning herself on some rocks out to sea, she runs into the atomic monster and quickly becomes the first victim.
Hank is gutted, if there was any killing of Tina to do, he was the one to do it, presumably by nagging her to death. He soon gets over it though and begins flirting with Elaine Gavin, (Alice Lyon). Elaine decides to cancel attending a slumber party that evening as she is worried about Hank and what has caused Tina's change of status on FB from 'living' to 'dead'.
The slumber party goes ahead and a good time is had by all. That is until the atomic monster turns up and promptly kills the 20 or so slumberettes! It's fair to say this rather takes the mood out of the party and the celebrations come to an abrupt end.
The monster's numbers grow and next they kill 3 women who were having a changing a flat tyre by the side of the road party. As their numbers grow, however, their intelligence seems to shrink as their next victims are shop mannequins. Not only are they thick enough to mistake these for humans, they are so forgetful that they leave one of their arms behind after slicing it off on the broken shop window.
Hank takes this arm to Elaine's dad, Dr Gavin, (Allan Laurel), who is a consultant on all sciencey stuff for the police and has been trying to find a way to destroy the monsters. Dr Gavin is an intelligent man and speaks a lot of scientific sounding words throughout the movie and wears a very nice crisp white coat. None of them make sense and the various explanations of the existence of these atomic monsters seems to change in each scene. No-one seems to notice and they regard him as a genius, after all he is wearing a white coat. Dr Gavin goes on the Eddie Izzard principal that people pay attention to 70% of how you look, 20% how you sound but only 10% to what you say.
The answer on how to destroy the monsters is not resolved by Dr Gavin, but by his very stereotypical black housekeeper, Eulabelle. Eulabelle accidentally knocks over a beaker of sodium and the arm bursts into flames and is destroyed. Hank then proceeds to buy every ounce of sodium in a 100 miles radius of New York City.
With the knowledge of how to kill them in hand, the team set about trying to locate all of the monsters. Elaine is the unlucky one to find them and is attacked, fortunately Dr Gavin and Hank, who by now has a dustbin full of sodium, arrive in time. They fling the sodium and the monsters explode in a nice firey mess.
The film ends with Elaine and Hank sharing a kiss as The Del-Aires play us out. Tina is by now a very distant memory.
I have to admit, I am not sure if I love this movie or if it was disappointing. I have seen a lot of bad Sci-Fi lately and maybe this just came at the wrong time and I am suffering from bad Sci-Fi overload, (which is impossible, so it must be the movie!).
The acting in the movie is bad, by no means is it Madonna bad, but it's borderline. And that is a problem, because the acting in say, Plan 9, is truly awful but entertaining. Tor Johnson's mumbling nonsense, for example, is brilliant to watch and the cops scratching their heads with their guns and knocking over polystyrene graves is hilarious. In Horror Beach, however, the actors in this are just lifeless, dull and uninteresting.
The actors are not completely to blame though as the characters they are given are one-dimensional, stereotypical and there is not a character in this movie that I warmed to or was even remotely interested in. Hank comes across as an arrogant, boring ex-jock who has all the charm of a cheese sandwich. He is stereotypically male from a certain era and you do expect him to say to all the ladies, 'don't worry your pretty little head about it'. The ladies would not be offended however, but only because not one of them has been given a brain cell by the writers. Even Elaine, who is supposed to be very smart, just goes all gooey eyed in the presence of Hank and unable to comprehend what her father is saying, (although to be fair, no one understands what he is bloody saying).
In a movie set in the swinging 60's with feminism, anti-racism and a wave of liberal attitudes emerging, this film is very much stuck in the past. Even though this was made in 1964, I can imagine at the time that it would have felt very outdated and stereotypical and that the surf pop sound was just shoe horned into it so that the movie appeared to be 'down with the kids'.
Eulabelle's character is by far the worst. Having a black servant in your picture, probably wasn't the best idea, but to then make her speak slowly and appear backward is just ill judged. Having Eulabelle carping on about voodoo and the like throughout the movie, is just plain insulting. Even the writers of 'Mind Your Language' or 'Soul Plane' probably couldn't believe what the director, Del Tenney, was trying to do here.
The monster itself is awful. This is a good thing and makes me like the movie a bit more because a 'good' bad B movie, should have a daft looking monster. Trying to explain what it looks like is tricky and indeed the movie itself does not know what to call it. Monster, Sea Creature, Atomic monster and even Zombie were used to describe it in the movie and various posters for the movie.
To me, the monster is like Jar Jar Binks with the Cookie Monster's eyeballs. Or the costume which Hannibal Smith wears in the opening credits to the A Team, (please see below). My friend actually thinks he looks like Arsenal mascot, Gunnersaurus, (please see below) and you know what, I think he may have nailed it!
Either way the monster is crap, and in no way scary whatsoever.
The best thing about this movie by a country mile, is the soundtrack. I really do like The Del-Aires music and one song in particular, 'Zombie Stomp', is incredibly good. I was humming this song for days. This creates a problem for the movie in that I would rather have watched The Del-Aires for 90 minutes than the piece of crap Tenney dished out.
So did The Horror of Party Beach join my growing list of B movie films which I really love? Well the problem is I don't know, I want to love it but it just doesn't hit the mark for me. It misses the charm and warmth of the Plan 9 or Robot Monster movies, it's bad, but not funny bad. It never really catches me and apart from the music there is nothing I would want to visit again.
But I know I should like it as the ingredients are there, crap monsters, awful acting, no storyline. The problem is, you can have all of the ingredients but if you don't know how to put it all together you could end up with a 'soggy bottom'. The stale characters, the fact half of the movie seems to have been shot in pitch black, (it may just be my copy, but for much of the movie I could not make out a damn thing on screen) and the lack of any warmth or entertainment make this movie truly hard to like.
In trying to make a hip version of a typical B Movie, Tenney unfortunately was without a clue. Still, it could have been worse, it could have been Danes Without A Clue.