Jun 12, 2015

Beach Party Blogathon: The Beach Girls and the Monster (1965)

Take a beach party movie a la Frankie and Annette, mix it with the creature from the Black Lagoon, and shake it till it loses most of its brain cells and that's The Beach Girls and the Monster (1965).

Far from his heyday playing hunky leading man to Dorothy Lamour and Maria Montez, John Hall directed and starred in this low budget stinker which would also be his last film. With a hip surf score courtesy of Frank Sinatra Jr. and lots of dishy looking youngsters, this is nevertheless a long hour that feels padded despite its short running time.

Still, it's got some goofy moments that have to be seen to be believed and a simultaneously irritating and amusing surreal sense of just about everything.

I thought I'd missed something, but no, this is exactly how the movie begins

The movie starts abruptly with a bevy of girls in bikinis bopping for dear life on the beach. Apparently they were real go-go dancers, so it isn't shocking that no matter what happens, those kids keep bopping away like Energizer bunnies.

No need to worry about the build up of suspense here, the beach monster makes his first appearance mere minutes into the film. After tossing a fistful of sand into her boyfriend's face, a beach girl trots up the beach, and takes sudden interest in a dark cave. Apparently the monster has been hanging around in this dank alcove, waiting for the opportunity to snag a go-go dancer.

As he waddles out of his hiding place, the monster looks a lot like the tin woodman draped in seaweed. When you finally get a glimpse of his face, you don't feel fear, but rather, nostalgia for those old bathtub toys that squirted water out of the mouth hole when you squeezed them. Silly as he looks though, this guy is a killer and he strangles the curious girl.

Everyone is mildly concerned, the police are called and the teens keep right on dancing. They even continue to have weenie roasts and sing-a-longs on the beach at night. Despite the fact that their friend has been murdered and the killer is still on the loose.

This nonchalance about the threat of murder greatly irritates Hall, who is Dr. Otto Lindsay an oceanographer who lives in a house on a hill above the beach. He hates the beach parties and tells a policeman that "The boys are a bunch of loafers and the girls are little tramps." His son Richard is one of those loafers and it angers him that he has given up his work alongside him in the lab.

Hall, not in his prime, but still a handsome older man
Junior is taking some time to find himself though. After surviving a car wreck where he was driving and his friend Mark (Walker Edmiston) was crippled, he decides to live it up a bit and take some time to appreciate the beach girls. An aspiring sculptor, Mark lives with father, son and Lindsay's young wife Vicky (Sue Casey). This sexy stepmother attempts to seduce Richard and failing that, wedges herself into a tight dress and goes on the town.

Mark sculpts the doomed temptress Vicky
The killings continue, and so do the beach parties. Seeming to grow tired of the teens though, the monster kills Vicky after one of her illicit dates. Mark becomes suspicious, and finds a monster head in a locked closet. Could the doctor be the killer?

Yes! Dr. Lindsay manages to slip into his extra monster costume and strangles Mark, but he is caught by Richard and his girlfriend. The frantic doctor takes off in his tiny convertible, wearing half the monster costume and driving like a maniac until he plummets off a cliff.

How anybody manages to survive in this flick is beyond me. No one seems capable of taking the most basic self-protective measures. 

I mean, if you're going to keep partying on the beach all night, at least take some kind of a weapon? But no, instead they bring a guitar, and a decapitated puppet head called Kingsley the Lion (which was created by Edmiston, who was also a puppeteer and children's television host) who serenades the group of dippy teens. The constant barrage of gags in this scene seem very much the desperate efforts of the filmmakers to give the scene wacky charm. It's almost endearing.

Kingsley croons
So that's The Beach Girls and the Monster. It doesn't make any sense, the characters are mostly idiots, long scenes of dancing and surfing footage make the hour-long film feel twice as long, but the music rocks and it's not without its lame-brained charm.

This post is my entry in The Beach Party Blogathon, co-hosted by Speakeasy and Silver Screenings. To read more posts, take a look at the submissions for day one, twothree and four.


  1. Ha ha! That monster looks EXACTLY like a bathtub toy! Brilliant description.

    If I had started watching this movie without reading your review, I probably wouldn't last. But, oddly, now that I've read your thoughts, I actually want to seek it out. That is good salesmanship.

    Thanks for bringing the "bathtub creature" to the Beach Party!

  2. Oh my, if you're going to watch this movie all I have to say is stay strong! Thanks for hosting such a fun blogathon. I haven't participated in one of these for a long time and I had a great time.

  3. Gotta love these low budget disasters that leave us something crazy and fun to look at. I'm the type who enjoys these so I'll check it out someday I'm sure :) Thanks so much for being part of this!

  4. I'm so late in responding! Thanks for co-hosting this Kristina. It was fun to do a blogathon again. I forgot how much I love them when the theme is really good.