The Horror of Party Beach
|The Horror of Party Beach|
Theatrical release poster.
|Directed by||Del Tenney|
|Produced by||Del Tenney
Alan V. Iselin
|Written by||Richard Hilliard|
|Edited by||Leonard De Munde
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox
Regal Films and Dark Sky Films
|June 1, 1964|
The Horror of Party Beach (working title Invasion of the Zombies) is a 1964 American horror film in the beach party genre, directed by B-movie maven Del Tenney, which Tenney himself described as "a take-off on beach parties and musicals".
At a small East Coast beach town, a boat dumps radioactive toxic waste into the ocean, which lands on a sunken ship and the skeletons of shipwrecked dead sailors. The skeletons and water plants are mutated by the waste, transforming into half-human, half-fish monsters that makes their way to the surface.
Hank Green, an employee of scientist Dr. Gavin, attends a beach party with his immature girlfriend, Tina. Tina is drinking alcohol, and, when Hank disapproves, they argue. The party catches the attention of a motorcycle gang. Tina flirts with the leader, Mike, while Hank talks with Dr. Gavin's young-adult daughter Elaine. When Hank tries to take Tina away, Mike fights him. Hank wins, and Tina apologizes to Hank, but he leaves. Mike is taken home by his gang. Tina swims to some rocks far away from the beach, where one of the monsters kills her. The sight of her body causes commotion on the beach.
After Tina's death, Elaine worries about Hank but is reassured by her father. Eulabelle, Dr. Gavin's housekeeper, suggests that some kind of voodoo is responsible for Tina's death. Gavin refuses to believe this. Later that night, Elaine cancels going to a slumber party with her friends. The monsters, whose numbers have increased, attack the slumber party and kill most of the girls. This news spreads quickly.
Three female travelers drive through the town on their way to New York. Their car's tire goes flat near Fingel's Quarry. While attempting to fix the tire, they are killed by the monsters. One of the monsters, stalking two girls in town, is enraged when they are picked up before it can kill them. The monster, noticing a clothing store with female mannequins on display, breaks the window with a punch, ripping off its arm. Dr. Gavin and Hank study the severed arm, which is still alive, and they cannot figure out how to kill it. Eulabelle accidentally spills a container of metallic sodium on the arm, which kills it, giving the scientists a way of destroying the monsters. Two drunks are killed by another monster.
Dr. Gavin and Hank search for the monsters. After discovering that the monsters can be tracked by their trail of radioactive water, Hank drives to New York City to obtain sodium. Dr. Gavin initially has no luck in finding the monsters. Eulabelle tells him that Elaine went to look for the monsters at Fingel's Quarry. Dr. Gavin rushes off to help Elaine, bringing a small case of sodium with him. Elaine tests the water for radioactivity, and the monsters chase her. She trips between two rocks and injures her leg. Dr. Gavin arrives and throws sodium at the monster attacking Elaine, killing it. Another monster attacks, but Dr. Gavin is out of sodium and must defend his daughter himself. Hank, who is bringing more sodium, is stopped by a police officer, who leads him to Fingel's Quarry. Hank saves Dr. Gavin by killing the monster attacking him, and the group kills the remaining monsters.
Hank visits Elaine, who is recovering from her leg injury.
Unlike the beach party movies filmed up to that time, this film was shot in black & white and on the Atlantic coast. Produced in Stamford, Connecticut, the beach scenes were filmed in an area of town called Shippan Point. The film was shot in three weeks.
The biker gang in the film was played by the Charter Oak Motorcycle Club of Riverside, Connecticut.
The monsters for the film were constructed at Gutzon Borglum's sculpting studio at Mount Rushmore. There were two monster suits, and when they dried, one was too small for the stuntman. Production assistant Ruth Glassenberg Freedman had a son, Charles Freedman, who was 16 at the time. He fit perfectly into the suit and thus portrayed a monster in the film.
The "underwater" transformation scene of the monsters was actually shot on a stage with images of fish in an aquarium superimposed over the dissolving stage shots. Chocolate syrup was used for blood during the monster attack scenes.
The advertising for the double feature of Horror of Party Beach and Living Corpse capitalized on a gimmick first utilized by director William Castle, in which some newspaper advertisements included a call-out that stated: "For your protection! We will not permit you to see these shockers unless you agree to release the theater of all responsibility for death by fright!" Theaters were encouraged by the distributor to have patrons sign a "Fright Release" before they took their seats. The trailer for the double feature also included this claim.
Although billed in its promotional material as "The First Horror Monster Musical," all the songs heard in the film were presented as either soundtrack music or source music, as opposed to the style of a traditional musical with songs sung by central characters of the story. Ray Dennis Steckler’s The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies also made the same claim a few months earlier.
As a tie-in, a monographic fumetti comic book by Wally Wood and Russ Jones detailing the film's story was released by the Warren Publishing Company under its Famous Films masthead. It had a 35-cent cover price.
Edward Earle Marsh (aka Zebedy Colt) composed the film's soundtrack; Wilfred Holcombe was credited as the musical director. Marsh and Holcombe wrote three songs that were performed in the film: "Joy Ride", "The Zombie Stomp" and "You Are Not a Summer Love."
Gary Robert Jones and Ronnie Linares, both of The Del-Aires (a Paterson, New Jersey rock band who play themselves as a local band), wrote one song together, "Drag," and one song each: "Wigglin' Wobblin'" (Jones) and "Elaine" (Linares). The Del-Aires performed all six songs in the film. 
The Horror of Party Beach was included as one of the choices in the 1978 book The Fifty Worst Films of All Time.
In popular culture
- The Horror of Party Beach at the Internet Movie Database
- Internet Movie Database Trivia
- The Horror of Party Beach interview with Del Terrey, The Del Tenney Double Feature DVD, UPC 030306773193.
- Chad Plambeck, Bad Movie Planet November 15, 2009
- The Comic Book Database
- Glenn Erickson, DVD Savant
- "The Dynamic Del-Aires". Bad Movie Planet. Retrieved 2006-05-08.
- "Mystery Science Theater 3000 Unofficial Episode Guide: Season 8". The Satellite News. Retrieved 2006-05-08.