Sunday, 11 August 2013

5 Horrors Hit the Beaches

**Please note that there may be spoilers throughout the blog**

 Before Jaws, the beach seemed to be a very peaceful place.  Sure those noisy teens would be partying in a G rated kind of way and maybe the occasional monster or creature would rear their ugly head but for the most part, it was a pretty safe place to be.  Then in 1975, Steven Spielberg brought Jaws to the screen and changed the face of the beach forever.  After that it was not longer safe to go swimming and dozens of creatures emerged from the once calm waters and created a tidal wave of terror.  Rip-off shark movies, squids, octopi and all kinds of fish & fish creatures were attacking scantily clad beach girls and people were loving it.

 Here are 5 Beach Horror movies

5. Blood Beach (1980) - Harry is on his way to swim to work at the beach patrol office when he hears his name being called.  It's his ex girlfriend's mom out for a walk with her dog, so he says hello and heads to the water.  Moments later, his ex girlfriend's mom screams in terror as she is swallowed up by the beach!  Harry hears her cries but is too late and she has disappeared into the sandy terrain.  The police think he's crazy and tell him that the dame will just turn up eventually and not to worry.  Unfortunately, a rash of these disappearing people occurs and the police learn that a creature underneath the sand is the culprit!  Harry's ex-girlfriend, Catherine returns after she hears about her mother and her and Harry must now help the police search out this evil under sand creature!
  This is fun low budget film.  I really liked the monster and when it attacks people, there's lots of blood. Also, it's creepy seeing it's victims flailing right before they get sucked into the ground.  But like most creatures, in these films, when you see finally get to see it, it's not as scary as you imagined but it should give you a chuckle.
  David Huffman (Firefox, F.I.S.T) (RIP) stars as Harry and Marianna Hill (Schizoid, The Baby) plays his ex-girlfriend Catherine.  John Saxon (Nightmare on Elm Street, Cannibal Apocalypse) shows up as the cranky police chief but isn't in it too much and Burt Young (Rocky, Carnival of Blood) plays a cop that likes to talk about Chicago for some reason.  The story is good but the horror gets a little lost in the relationship subplot of Harry & Catherine and like usual the police in this town are absolutely useless and have no idea what to do about catching this thing.  This is cheap beach movie that is fun to watch after a day in the surf.

4. Barracuda (1978) - Young university professor, Mike Canfield and his students are taking water samples at a chemical plant to prove the water is being polluted by the plant.  Mike puts on his wet suit, jumps in the water and retrieves his samples.  When he comes back to shore, he finds his students being harassed by the guards of the chemical plant.  One guy gets a little fresh with a female student and Mike bops him.  The police show up and they cart Mike off to jail.  Luckily, the police have a bigger issue to deal with than Mike because they have just found out that the there are killer barracuda's in the lake!
  Mike joins forces with the police because he's sure the chemical plant people are to blame and the sheriff's daughter is pretty hot.  After getting his samples back from a lab, Mike realizes that this town could have bigger problems the carnivorous fish.  Can Mike and the sheriff save the small town from the barracudas or is there something more sinister than killer fish afoot?
   This movie was pretty twisty story wise.  What I was expecting was a story about killer fish and it turned into this heavy handed eco conspiracy movie done badly.  Wayne Crawford (3:15, Stickfighter) does an alright job playing Mike, a Greg Brady looking dude whose character actually vaguely reminds me of Jim Brown in Black Gunn, believe it or not.  Just because like in Brown's character, Crawford's character doesn't sleep with the leading lady, not because he doesn't have an opportunity but he chooses not too.  Which is weird but those characters are so in tune with their cause that they won't let anything distract them.
  Anyway, there are some decent scenes with the barracudas and I wish they would have stuck with just that concept, but the story drifts off and the killer fish are soon forgotten.  You don't need glasses to see the ending coming a mile away but it does tie up everything nicely.  Not the best but still it's a fun little time waster that should be seen before taking a dip in the lake.

3. Humanoids From The Deep (aka Monster) (1980) - Some strange things are happening in the small fishing village of Noyo, California.  The day after a family of fisherman's boat explodes, the wharfs guard dogs are all murdered, except for Johnny Eagle's dog.  Unfortunately, Johnny has been against a cannery opening in town and apparently he wants the fishing rights given back to his people that were stolen, so it the locals think that it must be him messing everything up.  Luckily, Jim Hill and his brother Tommy stop the mob from lynching Johnny at the local dance hall but Hank Slattery, local goon warns them that they aren't finished yet.
  The next morning, the sheriff has a number of reports of missing teens and does nothing about it.  Jim takes a scientist, Susan from the cannery, on a tour of the coast and they discover that these humanoid monsters from the deep are the cause of the missing teens and killing of dogs on the island!  They soon learn these monsters want to continue to evolve their species with the girls from their town and eat whoever is in their way!  Can Jim and Susan convince the town to stop these creatures before they rape and devour the town?
  I've wanted to see this for a while and I was not disappointed.  Humanoids was strange mix of 50's sea creature and grind house no holds bar attitude.  These monsters weren't just hungry for human flesh but horny as well.  I don't think I've seen a monster rape scene like this since "Night of the Demon"(1980) and there was only one in that movie.  Director Barbara Peeters (Starhops, Summer School Teachers) goes all out and has at least three creatures gettin it on with some unwilling ladies, which is disturbing and strange.
  Anyway, the script is good and the special effects are done really well.  There is a lot of blood shed on both human and Humanoid sides.  If you are looking for something peculiar & out of the ordinary before you go for a swim, you should definitely check this out.   

2. Piranha (2010) - While fishing alone, Matt Boyd feels the earth trembling and a whirlpool vortex opens up in front of him.  Lucky him.  It releases dozens of piranhas that gnaw his flesh to the bone and he is left for dead in the water.
  The next day, the town is filling up with people for the Annual Spring Break bash and everybody is excited about hitting the water.  Sheriff Julie Forester has found the body of Matt Boyd and hires to shut down the beach with no luck.  City officials say no way.  She soon learns that the water will not only be swarming with springbreakers but with hungry swarms of piranha looking to feed on their meaty flesh! Can Sheriff Julie find some way to stop this massacre or is it too late?
  This is probably my favourite remake and I think director Alexandre Aja (High Tension, Mirrors) does an awesome job putting this horror comedy together.  He gives the audience what they came to see, which is piranhas attacking and eating people and tons of boobs.  It's a beach movie!  I'm not a huge fan of CGI blood but they mix it up quite well with the organic gore for this B-movie remake.  Also, there are so many nods to films that came before it, like right off the top, Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws, Krippendorf's Tribe) getting killed in a boat and the name of Jerry O'Connell's (Stand By Me, Police Academy 5) character's boat has a little shout out, being called "Barracuda".
  Elizabeth Shue (Adventures in Babysitting, Back To the Future 2) does a great job as the single mom sheriff, Julie and even gets reunited with Christopher Lloyd (Back To the Future franchise, Baby Geniuses), when they find the oceanographer, Carl Goodman to help them fight the fish.  Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction, People Under The Stairs) and Eli Roth (Hostel, Cabin Fever) are also great in supporting roles.
  This movie is a ton of fun and it has everything you could want from a beach movie.  Lots of gore, boobs and an ending that will leave you hanging. This is one remake that you don't want to bury in the sand.

1. Jaws (1975) - Sheriff Brody finds a body of a girl mutilated by what seems to be a shark on the beach just before the town of Amity's big 4th of July weekend party.  City officials know that this will hurt the town, so they round their wagons and say she died in a boating accident.  Unfortunately, the shark is still hunger and comes back for a child sized snack and eats a local boy.  Brody is only able to shut down the beaches for only 24 hours because of the city council doesn't want to hurt tourist season.  Will Brody be able to kill the shark and enjoy it's beaches again for the summer or has this shark come to a buffet of fools and he's got his bib on?
  Fantastic flick! Director Steven Spielberg (Duel, Firelight) tells a terrifying story of a town menaced by a shark.  It's cool that he uses an old school horror technique and doesn't let you see the creature until the end of the picture.  He uses the brilliant scoring of John Williams to indicate when the shark was around and like Pavlovian dogs we cringed in terror.  Even now when I hear that music, it sends a chill up my spine.  Roy Scheider (Naked Lunch, The Punisher) is excellent as Sheriff Brody, a man living on an island but who's afraid of the water.  Also, Richard Dreyfuss (The Sentinel, Another Stakeout) is very good as a young oceanographer, Hooper trying to help Brody catch the shark.  My favourite character though is Quint played by Robert Shaw (A Town Called Bastard, From Russia With Love), a crusty old seamen... umm, that truly knows the capability of this ocean monster and wants to destroy.  And like a modern day Captain Ahab, he'll stop at nothing to catch it.  There is some terrific PG-13 violence and a lot of bloody water scenes.  The final battle is intense and the epilouge is terrific and put a smile on anybody's face.  A modern classic that will drive anyone from the water to the shore.

It's nice to see in recent years, companies going back to the beaches for horror.  People love to see creatures coming from the oceans and it's no wonder the Syfy is making a killing on Sharknado and Sharktopus.  They are low budget films with just enough skin and scare to satisfy all kinds of tastes. So, the next time you go into the water, remember these films and when something brushes up against your leg, you better pray its a twig.



  1. "Walter Salami presents..." along makes Barracuda worth seeing.

  2. Blood Beach is a classic, and hard to find nowadays.