director Del Tenney
I get some weird notions in my head. Particularly when it comes to movies that I want to see. After watching director Del Tenney’s I Eat Your Skin (1964) and seeing that he was also behind camp classic The Horror of Party Beach, I was like: “I gotta watch it! Pronto!”
I was familiar with The Horror of Party Beach from Michael Medved & Randy Dreyfuss’s The 50 Worst Films of All Time and the Golden Turkey Awards. I had laughed about the snippets about the monster looking like he’s pingpong balls for eyes and hot dogs coming out of his mouth. I’ve kind of had a penchant to actually go and watch the films from that list, all the classic bad movies (Turns out the list is really a mishmash of really bad movies and some art films that annoyed them).
The funny thing about The Horror of Party Beach is how much I frickin’ enjoyed it!
Sure, it’s got some bad acting, casting, dialog, silly monsters, and all that sort of stuff but it’s miles better than Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959). It’s actually got some pretty interesting cinematography going on. And then it’s got girls in bikinis dancing to the grooving surf tunes of The Del-Aires who perform such songs as “Wigglin’ Wobblin'”, “Joy Ride”, and “The Zombie Stomp”. It is indeed a snapshot of its time.
It’s actually pretty hilarious how the monsters come about. Some radioactive waste gets dumped into the sea and mixes with algae and plankton and who knows what else, attaches to the skeleton of ancient pirates and POOF! You’ve got some very silly-looking Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) rip-offs. It would actually make a semi-hilarious triple feature with that and Humanoids from the Deep (1980) another sea creatures and chemical waste movie from a later and more gory time.
I’m telling you, though, I really liked the movie. It’s bad, of course, but nowhere as bad as you might think. It’s actually hilariously charming and funny. I Eat Your Skin is a much worse movie (though also not without its charms).
So, inspired, I’ve decided to work my way through the Wikipedia list of worst films, simply because it is a more legitimate list than Medved and Dreyfuss. I’ll give them credit for possibly originating the search for bad movies and for helping to crown Ed Wood, Jr. and give him his name for all eternity as worst director of all time. But really, their list is filled with totally inapt listings.
And for my money, I think I kinda loved The Horror of Party Beach.