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Blood Beach rocks, it has everything a Saturday night movies needs from
a giant phallic monster to a scene where every few moments the mic
drops into shot. A popcorn monster flick giving a unique angle on the
Jaws theme. Some good gore FX and a good few jumpy moments elevate this
one above the usual rubber monster crowd and the sand FX are actually
I have been keeping an eye out for this one for a while but have as yet not found a copy. It could keep you away from the seaside forever, Jaws will keep you out of the water but Blood Beach will put you back in the car and send you home.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Those darn film producers of the 1980's were at it again! They were trying
to scare us from going back into the water again! First Steven Spielberg got
us with "JAWS" followed by the infamous inferior sequels, then we were
treated to a double-dosage of "TENTACLES" paired with "ORCA", then there was
the hilarious "PIRANHA" and its sequel that featured mutated Piranhas with
wings(!!!) and then there was 1981's "BLOOD BEACH" - Hollywood's answer to
all those endless 'monster-in-the-water' movies that were swamping our
mega-plexes. Someone must have come up with the bright idea, "Instead of
putting our monster in the water... how about we put it in the sand!", hence
the catchy tag-line to this cinematic gem, "Just when you thought it was
safe to go back in the water - you can't get to it", which is about the only
smart thing connected to this movie.
The premise to "BLOOD BEACH" is typical of the 80's horror-film movement. Unthinkable monster + a cute little dog becoming hapless victim of said monster + helpless girls and women either disappearing or being attacked by said monster + one male to solve the mystery and destroy said monster + questionable ending. The funny thing is, I haven't seen this movie on television for many years and it is pretty much obsolete from most video stores. Whenever I happen to see a copy floating around, I get a nostalgic feeling about the times when it was fun to see movies like this.
"BLOOD BEACH" opens with those 'all-too-familiar-scenes' - a young woman jogs along the beach at that time of early morning when there never seems to be anyone around... the sand begins to suck her in as she screams helplessly (reminiscent to the brilliant artwork featured on the poster of this movie) and while the viewer never actually gets to see the monster at this point, we're left to wonder about what it might actually look like.
Police detective Harry Caulder, (portrayed by David Huffman) is assigned to investigate this particular case. The only evidence left on the sand is an eyeball, possibly belonging to that of the victim. The next victim happens to be an old lady who ALSO happens to be the mother of his ex-flame, Marianna. Accordingly, the strange happenings and Caulder's investigation will bring these two characters together to try and solve what it is that is munching on these helpless victims and also give them time to rekindle that old flame as they become a modern day 'McMILLAN AND WIFE' detective team. A further 80's cliche' here would be the scene involving a night-time 'beach party', complete with frat boys and slutty girls and the obligatory couple who wander off to 'make out' but instead meet a grisly demise.
It isn't until the last 5 minutes of "BLOOD BEACH" that you actually get to see the monster. It's this huge papier-mache 'sea cucumber'-like creature that lets out a roar similar to that of a tiger and an elephant combined. Where did it come from? We don't know. Why is it there? We don't know. All we do know is that our hero and heroine manage to blow it up and leave the scene thinking that the terror of this creature will reign no more.
Wrong. Enter cliche number 158 when the film draws to a close. The beach that remained deserted due to the frequent 'disappearing acts' is now flooded with tourists and beach-bums. A mother turns her back on her young child who is playing with the sand. The next moment when she turns around to check on him, he is gone. If "BLOOD BEACH" was a box-office smash hit, perhaps they could have green-lighted "BLOOD BEACH: THE OFFSPRING", but alas, it was not a hit and ended up being a guilty pleasure to those us who like to watch bad 80's horror films on video, complete with the grainy imagery and 'worn out' sound-track.
There is something still very appealing about "BLOOD BEACH". Perhaps it is the appearance of Burt Young as a police sergeant (better known as Paulie from the Sylvester Stallone "ROCKY" movies). Or perhaps it is the value of the genre itself. 80's horror movies will always be regarded as cinematic treasure. Good or bad, we needed those movies - and in today's politically correct climate, "BLOOD BEACH" is the perfect anecdote for a Saturday night viewing with all the lights in the house turned off. Just prepare yourself for the unintentional laughter!
My rating - 6 out of 10!
BLOOD BEACH is slow-paced and not as chock-full of scares and action as I hoped it to be, but the saving grace is the music score by composer Gill Melle. It's an eclectic combo of jazz and synthesizer that embodies the atmosphere of the haunted beach. The main theme is a rumbling warning of doom. If you're a sound track aficionado, check it out because I don't think this music has ever been released on record or tape, let alone compact disc.
Sure, BLOOD BEACH sounded like a cool title to sell some tickets, but what are you expecting? It's more of a joke to consider this a horror movie because there is meaninglessness to why people sink in the sand. Is this my imagination or is it the film's fault? The true effects of horrifying chills and shivers are absent, making this cheesy beyond belief. Interesting about this one is the mystery behind what lies underneath the sandy beach, and until you finally discover WHAT the thing really is, you may be asking to yourself, "WHAT IS THAT THING CALLED?". Bloody scenes are fairly gruesome, but there's too little of them. Noteworthy is Jerry Gross, who distributed B-movie films, including the gross-out X-rated horror flick I DRINK YOUR BLOOD. Maybe things aren't so bloody here after all. Blecchh!!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
On a popular California beach line, passers-bys and beach-goers are
suddenly being sucked into the sand without much of a trace. What is
it? Maybe a serial killer or it could be some sort of a monster feeding
on unexpected victims. So now everyone is looking at the local police
force to figure this one out and find a solution quick to prevent more
people disappearing from this beach. But along the way, David and
Mariana who have got together to find out what caused the death of
David's friend and Mariana's mother help them out.
No matter how bad this film is, I actually found to be a marginally amusing failure. Hmm, but I can say that it doesn't live up to its title though. It must have looked great on paper and the movie poster is quite striking, but this neat idea doesn't translate to the big screen with flying colours. This incredibly, low-budget b-grade schlock goes for that 50s style type of monster feature and don't forget an obvious influence from "Jaws". With those things in mind it's not as fun and charming like it should be, and even the cheese element feels half-baked by being very clammy and blunt in its direction and overall handling. What really pumped up the film's slack energy was a couple of delightful support performances from the always-reliable John Saxon and very cynical Burt Young, who both played officers investigating the case of the ominous beach killer. Even though the script is dreadfully static with a lot of ponderous wallow, but amongst those stretches are sprinkles of poignantly dark, witty humour that's actually quite humorous. But what really hurts the film is that it's quite unspectacular, the main leads; David Huffman and Marianna Hill are truly bland and the pacing limps along with only a few pockets of thrills until it reaches its all-to-easy, anti-climatic showdown.
The creaky plot is pure, junky nonsense by providing the usual run-of-the-mill avenues and with some redundant scenes that just tread water for far too long. The origin of this monster lurking under the sand is never mentioned and the material doesn't blossom by skipping on many plot details. Some sharper editing could have made this a far better effort than it's overall drawn-out feel. Although, I quite liked the concept behind this flick and while it slowly grinds away with many repetitive shots and loose suspense. It didn't bother me too much, but I just couldn't stop thinking - only, what if the director entwines some verve and blood to the attacks. That's right it does skim out on the gore, although there's one attack mid-way through which showed some promise, but other than that - they are quickly done within a matter of seconds with very little in the way of any build up and blood. Most of the deaths are just people getting sucked under the sand. Which, is fine by me because the opening attack sets the mood quite well, but you couldn't help but think there could have been some more creative juices flowing within those moments, as it just falls into the same trap and pattern. As usual tacked onto the film is an open-ended conclusion that's surprisingly effective and maybe who knows, a sequel, which could have brought to the table the things that, this film was lacking. Across the broad is a forceful synthesizer score that just has that moody, but more so mechanical feel about it and the monster effects are immensely tacky when we 'finally' see a glimpse of it in the final 10 minutes. It's something cross between a large plant and clam.. Well, that's what I think. But with the lighting it's quite hard to see clearly in the dark sequences and that's when our monster friend makes it's appearance. The photography is pretty much the norm with the traditional killer's POV shot.
This obscure picture is a pretty limited and rather bungled production and it simply shows in the final product. But if you're in an undemanding frame of mind for some mindless 80s gruel, you might get something out of it to make it worthwhile. I found it to be mildly tolerable for what it was.
This one had been on my wish-list ever since I saw a few fragments of it when I was a little kid. But being a sober guy, I wasn't expecting much of it. And that was a good thing . Basically where "Jaws" made the water an unsafe place, "Blood Beach" tries to do this for the beach. But "Blood Beach" is very much inferior to Spielberg's classic. Mainly because "Blood Beach" is rather slow and boring. "Jaws", at times, also wasn't all that about action & horror, more about the characters really, but it had a fine plot structure, good dialogues and decent acting to keep things going. But I shall not just dismiss "Blood Beach" as a bad B-monster movie (though it certainly isn't a good one). The main attraction amongst the cast is John Saxon, who is the best actor of the lot, injects a nice amount of sarcasm in his role and simply has the best lines of the movie. Then there's Burt Young, who's just great as Sergeant Royko, bragging about Chicago all the time, eating various sort of junk-food in almost every scene and referring to someone's brain as "vegetable soup". The music was pretty memorable too, with a dark cello theme and some jazzy saxophones. And the beach-monster was just too weird. It looked like a giant, dusty, plastic flower. But unfortunately it's only shown in a few shots when it emerges from the sand near the end. The shots over the end credits leave room for a sequel ("Blood Beach 2: The Offspring", would have been a very appropriate title, I believe), but that never happened. "Blood Beach" could have been a cult classic, but unfortunately the movie feels just a bit too mainstream (and too uneventful also) for it to be one.
It may not be great but, it's got John Saxon in it, it's got a bit of
blood and hell, it's not any worse than all the rest of the flicks that
had Blood in the title from this period. And it must have been at least
a pain in the ass to do those "sinking in the sand" effects!
Maybe if they release this thing on DVD (why are most of the Vestron flicks still not out?), may be then it'll get at least the same attention and cult like favor that My Bloody Valentine and other such crap gets.
All in all, a drive-in classic. After all that's what it was made for!
See it and judge for yourself!
This movie has an interesting story and you're not likely to predict what it is that is taking the lives of the characters in the film. The story takes place on a beach and when people begin to disappear it haves you wondering what it is. It will, however, keep you interested and the ending is not half bad either. To say that this is the best SCARY movie would be incorrect, however to say that it is the most unique is quite true. I really enjoyed this movie and I can honestly say that it had it's own unique style. See it if you haven't and if you can find it. It is a rare one and they don't make horror films like this anymore!!! This was a suspenseful film that caught me off guard on a few occasions and I hope I never have to experience that kind of terror. Released in 1980 to movie theatres and to video in 1982, this movie had a strange story, but a good story as well!!!
After several people mysteriously vanish from a South Californian
beach, authorities begin the search for whoever or whatever is
responsible. Believing some kind of ravenous subterranean creature to
be the cause of the disappearances, harbour patrolman Harry (David
Huffman) and ex-girlfriend Catherine (Marianna Hill) begin looking for
the beast's lair.
The cleverest thing about this predictable early 80s monster movie is surely it's amusing, Jaws-inspired tag-line 'Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water - you can't get to it.'; but even though Blood Beach displays very little else in the way of originality, rarely rising above routine B-movie fodder, there's just about enough fun to be had with it to still make it worth your while.
Huffman and Hill are forgettably bland, but the presence of seasoned character actors John Saxon and Burt Young more than compensate for the lacklustre leads, both guys giving enjoyable performances, Young as an uncouth copper from Chicago with zero tact, and Saxon as his tough but fair superior. Also worthy of mention is the lovely Lena Pousette, who shines as Marie, Harry's sexy blond air-hostess 'friend with benefits'.
The film also features several well executed deaths scenes, victims swallowed up by the sand in convincing fashion, and there's some fun to be had with the gore, including a would-be rapist having his junk chewed off by the monster and a cascade of dismembered body parts tumbling onto the unfortunate Catherine. Blood Beach's jump scares are about as clichéd as they can get (eg. a screeching cat leaping into frame) but they are still effective. Sadly, the monster is only revealed in the film's closing moments, and isn't all that impressive, looking like a giant papier-mâché plant (quite how that thing burrows underground, I'll never know!).
In an ending typical of 70s/80s monster movies, the creature is blown to pieces, but as the closing credits roll, new activity under the sand suggests that the horror isn't over yet (although a sequel has yet to surface).
5.5 out of 10, rounded up to 6 for IMDb.
'Blood Beach' is a fairly typical example of a B-grade horror film. The
acting is just competent enough to keep the plot going, but no-one
would scratch their heads wondering why these artistes aren't better
known. There's the stoic male lead doing his best to look moody despite
the early 80s low lighting. There's the predictable love interest, the
sceptic, the comic relief, and the wise all-knowing scientist who
no-one listens to. All the boxes have been checked here. The plot is
straightforward and threadbare, and the budget would be equal to what
Spielberg spends on a typical lunch.
However, I really enjoyed this thing as a kid, and watching it again recently reminded me why. For one thing, the film-makers know their financial limits, and the menace threatening the sleepy Southern Californian beach is wisely kept out of sight until the very end, and even then, you don't get a truly good look at it. This is a wise approach even when you do have money to play with, as it builds suspense, and avoids disappointment. Additionally, 'Blood Beach' is mostly filmed on-location, so there are few desperately cheap-looking sets. Finally, the film ends the way all good horror films do, though I just wish it hadn't been made so obvious earlier on.
I think the main reason 'Blood Beach' gets a low score is probably that it gets a little slow in places. This isn't helped by the two-dimensional characterisation, that if developed in a better script, could probably have alleviated the problem.
Nonetheless, it has its redeeming features as mentioned, and it's a good bit of late-night disposable viewing if you like horror and there's nothing better on.
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