Welcome to Awfully Good, where we celebrate movies that suck! To keep with the ongoing Enchantment Under the Sea Dance theme here at NOFS, tonight’s feature is The Beach Girls and the Monster. It’s a low-budget affair with a pretty sick soundtrack and a pretty bad monster, but we’ll get there in a minute. First, some ground rules: 1) Just because we call a movie “bad” or “trashy” or what have you, that’s not a slam. We wouldn’t be here if it was just dunking on these movies that were made in a weekend for two hundred dollars, we’re here to applaud them. 2) If you wear your socks in the pool, everyone is allowed to make fun of you. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at The Beach Girls and the Monster!
The Beach Girls and the Monster is a 1965 beach party/monster movie, much like The Horror of Party Beach. If you’re not familiar with that one, check out my Awfully Good review HERE and queue up a double feature! Since The Beach Girls and the Monster is only a little over an hour long, you could do a double feature of these two movies and still be done before your friend watching a single Avengers movie.
“…a low-budget affair with a pretty sick soundtrack and a pretty bad monster…”
Beach Girls and the Monster starts, like so many other films, with opening credits. What’s cool about this movie is that they show the monster, in broad daylight, during the title card. They were like, ‘Alright, I hear what you’re saying about building tension, buuuuut this dude’s cool and I wanna show him off’. The monster is kind of cool, in that no-budget ‘just drape something over him and give him claws’ style. Before long, one of the titular beach girls comes in from the surf to grab a bite. She makes the worst hot dog in the world (a pound of mayonnaise, pickle relish, and a handful of sand) and pranks one of the beach guys by putting it face down in his hand. Here’s the thing, though: even before she puts the sand on it, that’s a prank hot dog. Disgusting. Get it out of my sight.
The beach guy chases the beach girl down and they start making out on the beach, which in my restaurant experience is the exact opposite of what happens when you do that in real life. The girl gets up and runs off to a cave (or is that cove?) and gets rightfully choked out by the sea monster. Kids, the lesson here is that if you put mayo on a hot dog, you’ll have to explain your actions. In hell.
Everyone flies into a tizzy once they discover one of their Beach Girls has been attacked by a Monster, leading to spinning newspaper headlines. One reads “Is Surf Killer Maniac or Monster,” which would be a cool thing to put on a concert poster. Meanwhile, the cops go to a fish scientist and says “hey, we got these footprints from the crime scene. What kind of footprints are they?” and the fish scientist says “ah, these footprints belong to a fish!” And then he rants about how much he hates beach bums for a while.
The fish footprint specialist’s son Richard, one of the guys from the beach, is in the home bar. His very flirty boozehound stepmother Vicky tells him to stop moping about his dead friend, because it’s actually kind of funny, and that sentiment does not go over well. Richard goes to meet with his friend Mark, who stays with them, and they watch some stock footage of surfing. Richard also says “there’s more to life than just test tubes and fish,” which is probably my outlook too from here on out. Beach Girls and the Monster is at its heart a story about philosophy.
“I watch The Beach Girls and the Monster for two reasons and they’re both in the title. I’m not here for family drama.”
Mark is also a sculptor, and he talks to his work-in-progress statue of Vicky in the way that only sculptors who smooch their works talk. Meanwhile, Richard and his girlfriend (who might not have a name) are getting ready to have a little pool party at the house. Richard takes a big swig of Coca-Cola and says “it’s too bad the fish monster didn’t kill my BITCH stepmom” and I promise I am not even exaggerating that much. Then they go out to the pool. Richard does a bellyflop off of the diving board while Vicky is down at the beach getting stalked by the fish monster in slow motion. The film’s not moving in slow motion, just the fish monster. Anyway, I’d like to take this time to share a personal anecdote.
A long time ago (twenty years by my count, woof) I was at a hotel that had a pool with a high dive. We were all pretty stoked on that, and my chlorinated brain thought it would be funny to do a bellyflop off it. It was perfect in every way. Anyway, I can’t say that was the worst pain I’ve ever felt, but it was way, way more intense than breaking my arm or foot. That’s not in Beach Girls and the Monster, but I thought you might want to know.
Where were we? Oh, right, so Vicky makes it back to the house, unmurdered, and acts super rude to Mark. Then there’s some family drama with Richard and his dad the fish doctor, but that’s not important. I watch The Beach Girls and the Monster for two reasons and they’re both in the title. I’m not here for family drama.
There’s a party at the beach, and all the cool kids are there to plant their feet and twist a little bit. The tone and editing of this scene are so wildly different from the rest of the movie that I have to say this was an artistic decision, making Beach Girls and the Monster an art film. There’s some singing, some dancing, some hijinks, and then a guy with a lion puppet starts singing a duet with Richard‘s girlfriend. The song’s about how there’s a monster in the surf, and it’s super dumb and rad. Also one of the partygoers looks *very much* like a young Fidel Castro. Then the fish monster appears again and claims another victim! And that leads us into the third act, which I refuse to spoil, so if you wanna see how the tide comes in on this film you’ll have to check it out for yourself!
What’d you think of The Beach Girls and the Monster? Let us know over on Twitter, Reddit, and the Horror Fiends of NOFS Facebook group! For more beach girls but more importantly, monsters, stay tuned to Nightmare on Film Street.