Howdy folkses! Sorry we haven't posted anything for awhile. I know you've all been on pins and needles, breathlessly awaiting any scrap of news about our international pursuit of former Intern Kelby, his mystery accomplice and the MMT corporate funds and swear jar moneys they stole six months ago. You've doubtless been twitchy and irritable, leaping up at every ring of the telephone, email notification or knock at the door. Perhaps you've been able to rest only fitfully, and what little sleep you've managed to get has been tainted by anxious fever-dreams of mischievous cats and diminutive canine mimes taunting you with their bad breath, leotards and grotesque interpretive dance routines. Or maybe I'm just projecting. At any rate I haven't heard diddly-squat from our private investigator Tizwin since he and that jezebel La Tinque began their ill-advised romance and scarpered off to an extended holiday in Germany. They claim to be following up on Kelby's last known whereabouts, but I think they're just using that as an excuse to take a nice, long vacation on MMT's dime. That artsy little French Chihuahua is a bad influence. You just can't trust theater people.

Maybe Dr. Peter Venkman was right and this is a sign of the coming apocalypse.

That photo up there reminds me I haven't done a Water Log review since Spawn of the Slithis (1977) way back in December of 2017. I think it's about time we fished up something moist and stanky from the sinister depths of Million Monkey Theater's Sinister Cistern O' Terror, don't you?

The Water Log is an occasional series of limp, soggy reviews featuring lame and unconvincing beasts from the oceans, lakes, ponds, bogs, swamps, rivers and streams of this big old blue ball of liquid horror we call Planet Earth. Today's entry is an obscure surfer flick/monster movie mash-up somewhat in the spirit of The Horror of Party Beach (1964), but without the whimsical, naive charm that made that notorious stinker a bona fide cult classic of crap. It's a bit of an odd duck, rather muddled and lazy with a jarring mix of conflicting tones and a strangely unfinished feel. The very title, The Beach Girls and the Monster, betrays the lack of effort and imagination that went into its production, yet I still kind of enjoyed it in a mildly masochistic way. There's a modicum of depth to its character relationships, but its primary distinguishing feature is its faint but tell-tale aroma of sleaze--just enough to make it unpleasant but not nearly enough to make it interesting.

We cold-open on some bikini-clad beach girls twisting and gyrating to a generic surf rock earworm called "Dance, Baby, Dance." These young ladies are some of the once-famous dancers from the legendary Whiskey-a-Go-Go nightclub on Hollywood's Sunset Strip. The club would become a rocket-powered launch pad to stardom for dozens of bands and musicians over the years, including such diverse alumni as Johnny Rivers, The Doors, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, The Stooges, Kiss and Motley Crue. It's now a venerable institution in its 56th year of operation, but when this film was made it had only been open about a year and a half and was primarily known for bringing go-go dancing into the popular consciousness.

Would it have killed them to stay in frame?

We cut from the watusi-dancing bikini beach girls to a wacky fish-man monster lurching towards the camera from above like a rapper in an old-school hip-hop video. We get only a fleeting glimpse of it before the title pops up and obscures our view but I was still quite surprised they played their creature card right out of the gate.

We're thirteen seconds into the film and we've already seen both the beach girls and the monster. You can't say they didn't warn you.

As the credits end we see a couple of surfer dudes come in from the water and talk about getting some lunch. They debate whether to wait for a third guy who's fallen off his board in the surf, and ultimately decide to leave him out there to fend for himself because they're just so darn hungry and that's the kind of wacky, carefree guys they are. Also friendship and safety mean absolutely nothing to them.

Just a couple of hunky, surf-lovin' teenagers who are both clearly in their 30's.

Back at their little encampment a couple of girls are dancing to an instrumental version of the opening song on a portable reel to reel recorder as they wait for their dreamy muscle boys to return. When the boys arrive (without that third guy who might have drowned by now for all they know or care) one of them immediately reaches down and shuts off the music, and the ladies just stand akimbo, pout and sulk like disappointed children instead of turning it back on. It's worth noting that the dancing beach girls of the credit sequence are nowhere to be seen. These are three different ladies who can only kind of dance.

The hunky boy who didn't turn off the music sits down next to a perky blonde named Bunny (because she's a beach bunny, get it?) and he stares broodingly into space like a disaffected underwear model. Bunny fixes him a hotdog by passive-aggressively slapping ridiculously huge quantities of mayonnaise and mustard on it, then pouring about half a jar of pickle relish on top of that, then topping it off with a handful of beach sand. She plops it into his waiting palm and runs off giggling like a lunatic.

Mayonnaise on a hot dog?

As the rest of the gang laugh uncomfortably, Underwear Model Dude chases Bunny across a stretch of beach that's hidden from view by an outcropping of rock. He tackles her, perhaps just a bit too roughly, and they start making out. She lets him kiss her just long enough get him excited then pulls away, sprinkles a little more sand around his mouth and runs off again.

She appears to have some sort of fetish.

Underwear Model Dude weighs his fading priapism against Bunny's disturbing silicophilia and ultimately decides she probably isn't worth the trouble. As she runs around another outcropping of rock, coquettishly confident her granular charms must ultimately ensnare him, he decides to give up the pursuit and rejoin the gang back at the other end of the beach.

"Tee hee! How can he resist me? I'm both pretty and gritty!"

She finds herself staring into the mouth of a dark cave. She's a little spooked out at first, but decides the cave might be a great place to play hide and seek and maybe find some new and exciting form of mineral-based particulate matter to smear all over her beau's luscious chest. As she waits for the heaving beefcake hunk who will never arrive, a shambling, shadowy form emerges from the cave and chokes her to death.

He claws her face up pretty good, too.

He's the secret love child of the creature from the black lagoon and Oscar the Grouch.

The attack features some swinging, syncopated lounge fact it's probably the grooviest fish-man murder I've ever witnessed, and when you watch as many b-movies as I do bloodthirsty fish-men are pretty much as common as crabs. The monster completes his hep-hep jivin' and groovy homicidin' then escapes through a drainage pipe to the sea.

Pretty decent shot. Shame it's the only one.

One of the other gals comes looking for her friend and finds Bunny's battered body lying outside of the cave. We get a little stock footage of police cars zipping down to the beach and a couple of police officers arrive to take statements and examine the crime scene. As they question the kids we learn that the surfer dude who turned off the reel to reel player is a guy named Richard Lindsay and that he lives in a big house overlooking the beach. He will be our primary protagonist.

That's our hairy hero on the right.

The officer is interrupted in his questioning by a shout from his partner and goes over to the murder scene. The two are perplexed to find some big, clawed footprints leading down to the surf...

There are also some identical big, clawed footprints leading off to the right, but they don't bother to follow those.

We get one of those hackneyed old spinning newspaper transitions now featuring the headlines "Surf Beauty Clawed To Death" and "Is Surf Killer A Maniac Or A Monster?" How quaint. When the second headline fades out we're in what's supposed to be an office but it looks like they just set up a desk in a motel room. The local sheriff shows a cast of one of the footprints to a square-jawed, late-middle-aged meat-slab of a man, whom we learn is Dr. Otto Lindsay, the father of our hairy hero Richard. We're told he's a respected professor of marine biology. He's played by Jon Hall, a reasonably successful program movie actor best know today for his staring role in the enjoyable disaster melodrama The Hurricane (1937). The Beach Girls and the Monster was his sole directorial effort.

He's got a face like a landed cod.

Dr. Otto looks at the sheriff's casting and says the claws on it are "exactly like the South American fantigua fish," a carnivorous man-eater that can grow up to 100 pounds. When the sheriff says that whatever made the imprint had to weigh more that 250 pounds Otto falls back that old reliable sci-fi trope "mutation." He even says he's been doing some amazing experiments with mutation in his own lab and further insists that not only could a fish grow as large as the sheriff suggests, but it could also live outside of the sea so long as it somehow retained water in its lungs. So this respected professional biologist's opinion is that our killer is a giant, bipedal, carnivorous mutant fish with claws and lungs. Uh-huh.


Otto tells the sheriff that he hopes the police can catch the fish-man alive so it can be studied, but the sheriff is still pretty sure the culprit is a human and "probably some madman." Otto bitterly retorts "Or maybe one of those surfers who hangs around the beach all the time!"

The sheriff insists they're just a nice bunch of kids "trying to find themselves," but Otto goes off on a furious, spittle-flecked rant about how those surfers and their little tramp girlfriends are capable of anything, including murder, how he stridently loathes them all and how something must be done to stop them before it's too late.

I don't generally like to give too many spoilers about where a movie is headed this early on in a review, but this scene is pretty much a billboard-sized, flashing neon sign indicating that whatever the hell is going on with that damned fish monster this guy is behind it. If you were watching this movie rather than reading about it--which is just a hypothetical scenario and in no way meant as an endorsement or suggestion--you would doubtless have your own revelatory moment at this point in the narrative, and because it's my duty to give you a vicarious viewing experience as close as possible to the real thing I'm including the following pithy observation:

Dr. Otto Lindsay did it.

Arrest him now, sheriff so we can end the movie and go home!

We cut from Otto's office to a pair of shapely lady legs swinging off the end of a swanky home bar and the camera zooms out to show hairy Richard listening glumly to the owner of those legs making sarcastic and insensitive comments about Bunny's recent murder.

Is it me or is that bar enormous?

This is Vicky Lindsay, Dr. Lindsay's wife and Richard's stepmother. She's aggressively cynical and heartless, a borderline alcoholic and a two-faced, scheming harpy--and those are some of her better qualities. She's played by perennial good sport Sue Casey, a d-list actress who never broke through beyond b-movie support roles and bit parts in studio projects and TV shows, yet kept plugging away through a career that spanned almost six decades. She was 46 when she made this film, no longer a starlet but still quite attractive, and with an arch, worldly-wise aura of experience. Despite the poorly written part she's the best thing in the movie. She manages to create a sexy, sinister, duplicitous and occasionally sympathetic character out of what was basically a one-note, cardboard cutout. She's an actress who found few opportunities to shine but made the most of what she got.

She died on February 21st, 2019, which by an eerie coincidence was the exact date I first watched this film.

The upshot of this scene is that there are a lot of problems with the Lindsay family. Otto drinks a lot and hates the surfers for taking his son away from him and from a nepotistic career at the bio lab, Vicky drinks a lot and hates Otto for the loss of her youth and her rocky transition from wild party girl to bored housewife, and Richard drinks Coca-Cola and hates Vicky for being a nasty, conniving witch who probably cheats on his father. It's pretty much all-drinking, all-hating, all the time.

Otto comes home and says "I bumped into the sheriff as I was pulling in...he told me about Bunny," which is strange since we just saw him and the sheriff discussing the murder in his office. Methinks the writers were still revising the script when this scene was filmed.

As the unhappy family chats glumly in their living room another guy walks up to them and apologizes for interrupting. This is Richard's friend Mark. It seems he and Richard were in a bad car accident some time ago. Richard was driving and escaped unhurt, but Mark sustained some crippling damage to one of his legs. We don't see much evidence of this disability beyond a phantom limp that seems to come and go between shots, but Richard certainly believes in Mark's condition and in his own culpability for it. He's been working through his guilt by avoiding his job at his father's lab and going out surfing every day with his beach bum pals. Mark, meanwhile has been living with the Lindsays rent-free, serving as a conspicuous daily reminder to the whole family that they all have serious baggage and need a lot of therapy.

Mark is the oldest teenager I've ever seen.

Richard follows Mark back to his room to watch a 16mm Hawaiian surfing film and talk about Richard's intense desire to live his own life in his own way and break away from the stifling expectations of his father. During this scene I kept thinking how familiar Mark's voice seemed. The actor playing him, Walker Edmiston was a prolific actor who worked on dozens of projects over 57 years including extensive voice work on such varied programs as The Flintstones (1962), H. R. Pufnstuf (1969-1970), Down and Dirty Duck (1974), The Transformers (1985-1986), The Great Mouse Detective (1986) and The Last Airbender (2006) among many others. The reason I knew his voice, though was because he did a lot of voice-overs for coming attractions in the 60's and 70's and I've been seriously binge-watching Trailers From Hell...but I don't have a problem, I swear. I can stop any time I want.

Here's some stock footage of people surfing to distract from my chronic film trailer addiction issues. There's almost two full minutes of this stuff, by the way.

Mark is a sculptor and wants to show Richard something back in his private studio, complete with a huge, professional kiln, set up permanently in a house where he's living rent-free on his best friend's guilt. It's quite a sweet little deal he's got there. He excitedly unveils a cheesy little statue of a mermaid and Richard immediately exclaims "It looks like Bunny!"

No. No it doesn't. It looks like a cheap souvenir you'd find between the oyster shell fridge magnets and the "Gone Fishing" driftwood lawn ornaments at a beachside gift shop in New Jersey.

Mark asks Richard if he thinks Bunny's family might like to have it. My immediate, visceral reaction was "Oh, God, no...please don't do that to those poor bereaved people!" but Richard says he thinks they'd love it and tells Mark he should go over there and give it to them right now. Because a grade-school art class-level clay sculpture of their recently murdered daughter, depicted half-naked with a fish tail instead of legs is sure to help them come to grips with their sudden, brutal loss.

Mark says he'll give it to them the following day because he wants to stay home and work on his most recent opus, and when Richard leaves to go pick up his girlfriend, Mark takes the sheet off a hideous bust that's supposed to be Vicky. Then he has a sort of tortured internal orgasm as he glares at it and whispers her name.

I feel so dirty right now.

Cut to Richard and girlfriend Jane pulling up to the house in a big, solid 60's convertible that looks just about heavy enough to survive an anti-tank shell blast. They sure don't make 'em like they used to. Jane is a tiny little brunette who had been dancing on the beach right before the hot dog incident and who was unfortunate enough to have discovered Bunny's body. She apologizes to Richard for not wanting to go down to the beach so soon after the murder and when she starts to cry about finding her best friend shredded into fish food just the previous day he tells her "Don't feel bad, honey...let's try and forget it," because for an emotionally stunted ape like Richard basic human experiences like grief, trauma and empathy exist only to be dismissed out of hand.

"I had a feeling once, honey...but then I burped and it went away!"

Vicky comes out of the house to joyfully emasculate Richard in front of his girlfriend and make a few suggestive comments about them having the house to themselves. She takes off to go to the beach and leaves Richard so steaming mad that he can't stop whining about what an infuriating, nasty, sex-crazed shrew she is. When Jane finally gets him to shut up she basically tells him he's a fool, without enough sense to see how Vicky is purposely manipulating him for the exasperated reactions he's so eager to provide. He dismisses her highly insightful observation and awkwardly changes the subject because any feelings unrelated to his own righteous indignation and escapist pleasures are just too scary for him to explore.

A stark preview of their future life.

They finally go out back for a dip in the pool when Mark suddenly shows up to tell them about the talk he had with Bunny's parents when he went to drop off the dime-store mermaid abomination. They ask him to join them for a swim but he says Vicky is coming soon to pose for his sculpture. He seems plenty upset when they tell him she's only just gone down to the beach and might be gone an hour or more. Mark goes inside to drink and wait for her and the two young lovers have a little make-out session in the pool, after which Richard gets out to try and impress Jane with his less-than-exceptional diving skills.

When he mounts the board he has to tug his trunks down to hide his erection. I wish that was a joke.

Down on the beach Vicky is just finishing up her swim and sashays out from the water like a catwalk model in a Frederick's of Hollywood fashion show. Whenever she's alone onscreen the music is vintage sultry strip-club, replete with a raunchy saxophone and crisp high-hat backbeat, inviting us to ogle at her impressive figure as she removes her bathing cap and daubs herself delicately with her dainty little towel.

Somebody else heard the strip club music, too.

Otto...I mean the "monster"...half-heartedly reaches out towards her as she bends down to pick up her beach robe, but she walks off with it before he can grab her and he slinks back behind the rocks.

He's still tired from yesterday's murder.

She walks back up to the house to find a half-drunk Mark waiting for her in the studio. She sits down and he starts in on the clay bust, becoming increasingly frustrated with her because she won't keep her head still long enough for him to work. Vicky purrs that artists fascinate her because they're "so different from other men." "Not in all ways," he assures her, clearly flustered by her flirting.

She tells him all her friends were men before she married Otto because she found them "so much easier to get along with," but that now she's lonely because she hasn't got friends anymore. She puts her arms around him, saying "I'll bet you know what it's like to be lonely." Then she gives him a deep, wet, lingering kiss.

She's only teasing, however, taking cheap advantage of his undisguised lust to make herself feel desirable again after five years in a barren, lifeless marriage to an older man who can no longer satisfy her sexually. She pulls away from him with a smirk, leaving him frustrated, angry and aroused. He pleads with her but she sneers "Did you think I'd make love to a cripple?"

That's gonna leave a Mark.

She walks off with a dismissive flip of her robe. Mark turns around to mutilate her clay effigy, muttering under his breath "I could kill her!"

This might have been an effective red herring if the movie hadn't already stood a foot away from us and shouted through a bullhorn that Otto is the killer.

Speaking of Otto, Richard and Mark drive out to the lab that evening to pick him up from work, and we learn that Richard brought Mark specifically so he wouldn't have to talk with his dad about going back to work with him. It's clear this is a discussion Richard has been avoiding for a long time, but tonight Otto is determined they're going to have it. Mark can see where the wind is blowing and offers to walk home so father and son can have it out.

It's basically an extension of the discussion Richard had with Mark earlier, but with Otto showing us how unwilling he is to accept his son's need to make his own way in the world. He transfers all of his anger and frustration onto Richard's surfing friends and carefree lifestyle, repeatedly decrying the laziness of it and referring to the girls, including Jane, as "those beach tramps."

His head was carved from a solid block of congealed Brylcreem.

Unsurprisingly this angry, dismissive rant does not endear Richard to his father's point of view and by the time they get home Richard is offering to move out and live off "the money mother left me."

Well...that went well.

Otto turns to Vicky for some validation but only gets a verbal kick in the bollocks for his trouble. She's had enough of Richard, enough of Mark and enough of him. She says there's nothing left of their marriage worth saving, that there was "never a hell of a lot to begin with" and storms off. The camera pans in on Otto's hand as he crushes the whiskey glass she left behind. The obviously plastic whiskey glass.

They didn't even bother to dub in the sound of breaking glass. It sounds like he's squeezing an egg carton.

We cut to Mark walking on the beach and, lo and behold! His limp is back! He hides behind a rock and ogles the Whiskey-a-Go-Go girls, dancing with wild abandon, and we get a whole minute of midriff-level, gratuitous boob and butt shots.






We're exactly halfway through this thing now and I must say The Beach Girls and the Monster has provided a jiggly abundance of youthful female flesh, a brooding surplus of parental angst and a full-to-the-brim, simmering cauldron of barely-contained psychosexual frustration, but very little of the titular monster. A more honest title might have been something like Dances With Dysfunction, or Boredom on the Beach, or maybe Washed-Up Actor Jon Hall Has A Midlife Crisis.

Back to the action...such as it is. As Mark turns away from his lascivious voyeuristic glowering, fondles his game leg and wanders away to masturbate behind a rock somewhere we dissolve back to the house where Otto is making a sloppy, ham-handed play at initiating some awkward sexy times with Vicky. She pulls away from him, disgusted, makes it clear she isn't willing to continue with the sad charade their marriage has become and says she intends to leave him. Otto responds with "You're mine, and I keep what's mine, always!" Sounds kind of threatening, no?

A little later we see Vicki dressed up sexy and making a phone call to an "old friend" named Paul. Otto picks up the phone in another room and hears her making plans to meet the guy out that night under the guise of "going out with the girls." The edits go back and forth between Vicky talking and Otto listening in, and are cut in such a way that we only ever hear her side of the conversation, presumably so they didn't have to hire another actor to overdub Paul's voice.

Otto confronts Vicky and tells her he doesn't want her going out, not because he knows she's cheating on him but because "there's a killer loose around the beach." She basically tells him to pound sand and slithers away to see her old flame.

"Talk to the hand cause these diamonds and furs I bought with your credit card don't want to hear it!"

Now we get the obligatory "party on the beach" scene with bonfire, bongos, and bikinis. The change in tone is so painfully abrupt I'm considering suing for whiplash: we've instantly transitioned from a dreary domestic drama to a goofy, light-hearted comedy with a bunch of wacky dancing and jiggling and singing and smooching and joking and laughing...and it's somehow far more horrific than anything the monster could possibly have done.

It also appears to have been lit by a single car's headlights.

The excruciatingly labored attempts at humor in this dismally unfunny scene include:

A kid wearing a sign that says "I use that greasy kid's stuff" adjusting his hair with an absurdly oversized comb...

...a "snake-in-a-can-of-peanuts"...

...a fake gun that says "bang"...

...googly glasses that pop out of their frames...

...and a cross-eyed guy with a fake arrow through his head.

It's amazing what you can do with a second-hand movie camera and a $25 gift certificate to Spencer's Gifts.

In between songs one young couple wanders off from the group to smooch behind some rocks, but they are not alone...they're being stalked by the long-lost fish-man monster who after many days of refusing to appear on set has finally been enticed out of his trailer with promises of cocaine, Jack Daniels and as much pickled herring as he can eat. He once again emerges from behind a rock and creeps closer and closer to the unsuspecting victims, so near they can almost feel his foul, steaming, herring-scented breath...

Then we cut back to the gang at the bonfire for five solid minutes of embarassing music and allegedly zany comic-relief mayhem.

"Why do I even bother?"

First Richard takes his guitar and sings a cheese-drenched, spanish-inflected ballad called "More Than Wanting You." I'd have called it "More Than I Can Stomach," but the kids seem to like it. It inspires a whole lot of kissing and mooning and longing looks from the ladies.

That brunette looks like the girl I took to my prom who broke my heart like a politician's promise. Well I'm a fancy, big-time movie reviewer now, Allison and I don't need your validation anymore.

Next we get the worst ventriloquist act ever immortalized on film, featuring "Kingsley the Lion," who's actually just a big plush head voiced by a guy wearing beatnik sunglasses and a big fake beard. he sings a horrible song called "Monster in the Surf," which seems incredibly callous and inappropriate considering their friend was just viciously murdered by a monster that actually came from the surf.

Shameless hypocrite Jane, who earlier that afternoon appeared oh-so-distressed by the tragedy, cheerily joins Kingsley in this cheeky, vivacious duet, singing playfully about the beach-combing killer beast who, amongst other personal attributes has "one big eye," or possibly "two," yet regardless of the number has "enough to get you." We also learn that he "tries to drive a Woody," but sadly cannot because he is "not a goodie."

I was not aware there was a strict moral code associated with operating this vehicle.

"Oooh, I scared!" Jane squeals playfully, affecting an insipid little-girl voice, and the rest of the kids sing and clap along on the very site of Bunny's death with a breathtaking lack of irony or self-awareness.

Also that lion looks stoned.

The song ends and the gang all scatter to go do a little night surfing. Allison Look-Alike has forgotten her swim fins and sends her boyfriend Tom to go find them. As he pokes around the bonfire we cut to Mark hobbling around by himself a little further up the beach, ostensibly brooding over his unrequited lust and Vicky's savage rejection.

He's the living embodiment of a sad trombone.

The monster suddenly emerges from the shadows and attacks Tom. Mark can see them but can't run fast enough to intervene. He calls for help but the crashing waves obscure his cries. By the time he reaches the bonfire the monster has crept back into the darkness and Tom is dead.

Die-er, die-er, pants on fire!

There's never any mention of the couple the monster was stalking before the movie suddenly turned into Beach Blanket Bingo (1965), by the way. It's as if that sequence never happened.

Mark reaches Tom before anyone else has noticed that he's been attacked and as he bends over the body to see if he's still alive we hear Allison Look-Alike scream. She runs in with the rest of the gang and claims she saw Mark committing the murder. Like the real Allison she's quick to jump to conclusions.

Richard runs off to call the police and when they arrive he asks them if they think there's a connection between this murder and Bunny's almost identical murder in the same place less than two days before. He really is not bright. The police begin to question Mark and Allison Look-Alike shows up again, ranting and screaming and beating on Mark until the police pull her away.

This brings back some memories.

As the police try to get a coherent statement from her Mark finds a little springy piece of rubber on the beach that's obviously a piece of the tassel-like seaweed stuff from the monster suit. It's clear from his expression and the way it stretches when he tugs on it that he's realized the monster is fake. You'd expect he would immediately share this bit of corroborating evidence of his innocence with the police but instead he sneaks away while they're talking and steals a police car.

Mark has watched a few too many episodes of The Fugitive (1963-67).

Meanwhile a very tipsy, out-of-breath Vicki is dropped off at home by the mysterious, faceless Paul. She thanks him for a wonderful evening and it's starkly implicit that naughty, adulterous sex was involved. Cue the smarmy stripper music as she stumbles into the house and heads straight for the bar. She pours herself some brandy and sees a note that's been left there conspicuously for her to find.

Never trust a typewritten note in a b-movie.

The camera is set firmly at the level of her posterior, and the music gets raunchier and raunchier as she sways drunkenly down a hallway towards Mark's room. She enters and starts calling for him only to be attacked and killed by the monster.

She died as she lived: half-drunk and looking for nookie.

Outside by the Pool we see Mark sneaking in the back of the house, then we cut to Richard and Jane driving home from the police station in her jaunty little white sports car. Richard is pontificating about the possibilities of fish mutation and the experiments he and his father used to do at the lab, and he speaks of a scientist in Switzerland who used radiation to grow a turtle to three times its normal size. He's basically laying down the narrative groundwork for the monster to potentially be real, which makes absolutely zero sense at this point. Between the strip of rubber Mark found on the beach, the fact that the killer has a key to the Lindsay's bungalow and his ability to type a deceptive missive to fool his intended victim, it's pretty damned obvious by now that the "monster" is really a man.

This is demonstrative of the movie's biggest flaw, which is its constant undermining of its own narrative tension and the fundamentals of its plot. Immediately after the initial murder we meet a central character whose attitude and behavior screams of guilt and complicity in the crime, then we're presented with the possibility that Mark might actually be the killer but are almost immediately shown how it couldn't be possible due to proximity and logistics. We twice see the monster stalking potential victims only to have the attacks abandoned and the scenes forgotten. Even the central conceit of the film, the question of whether the killer is a man or a monster, is given a definitive answer despite the movie trying to maintain some bogus and demonstrably false ambiguity about it.

"Let's just keep driving until we find a better film."

Richard decides that since the killings both occurred on the beach below his house that the monster might be using that old cave and drainage culvert to hide in. Naturally he wants to go have a look, and down to the beach they go, armed only with his hairy ape-arms and their can-do American attitude. They poke around aimlessly for a couple of minutes then simply give up and go home.

All they find is a slightly confused cat.

Back at the house Dr. Richard Kimble...sorry, I mean putting the pieces of the mystery together in an attempt to clear his name. He pries open a locked closet next to his room and finds a spare head for the monster suit! No sooner has he made the discovery, however the monster shows up and attacks him, shoving him into the nearby kitchen. He fights back valiantly and eventually manages to grab a knife. He stabs the beast and knocks off the mask. Richard and Jane come in just in time to see Mark collapse and get a good, clear glimpse of Otto's enraged, twisted face.

"I'd have gotten away with it, too if it weren't for those meddling kids!"

Otto surely knows the game is up, but he takes off in Jane's little roadster in one last, desperate bid to escape. Rather too conveniently the sheriff pulls up to the house just as he pulls away. Richard and Jane explain that Mark is dead and his dad is the killer.

The Sheriff calls for all available units to join the pursuit. The mustache cop from the first murder scene responds and immediately spots Otto turning onto a treacherous road surrounding the Los Angeles canyons.

He looks like a spokesman for Winchell's Donuts.

Richard, Jane and the sheriff hop into the cruiser and we get a climactic chase with hairpin turns, steep precipices and terrible rear projection effects.

Oi veh...that's really bad.

Along the way Richard asks the sheriff what could possibly have made his dear old dad go nuts and and start bumping off geriatric teens, and the sheriff helpfully theorizes "I think he thought he was doing it for you!"

Because if there's one thing Richard needs it's more unresolved guilt.

Otto's driving becomes more erratic. He's wincing in pain from the stab wound and probably losing a lot of blood. Eventually he takes a curve too fast, crashes through the guard rails and plummets over a cliff.

The car somehow changes from a mid-60's MG into a mid-40's Packard.

When Richard, Jane and the sheriff pull up there's nothing left but burning wreckage and bitter regrets.

"I'll get over it, Jane. When it comes to emotional trauma I can ignore anything."

The End.

The Beach Girls and the Monster is undeniably just a cheaply-made relic of the brief 1960's vogue for wacky beach movies, but I can't help thinking it could have been something more.

There are already so many seedy elements here. Between the ass-level shots of go-go dancing beach babes, the smarmy music, the suggestive dialog, the brutal killings and the tawdry family melodrama they'd have been better off ditching the whole monster suit subplot and making a shamelessly explicit exploitation horror flick. It wouldn't have been a great film but a swinging surf movie/hardcore slasher mash-up with serious gore and nudity might at least have been memorably shocking rather than banal and forgettable. If this film had been made five years later with an eye towards the growing grindhouse market we'd probably be watching it today on a deluxe edition Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome.

Perhaps some retro hack producer with a half a million dollars to launder for a Latvian mobster will someday see this review, write a remake called "The Bikini Beach Massacre," gather a bunch of strippers to star in it and hire Kelby to direct. It could be part of his work release program when the law finally catches up with him and sends him back to prison.

Final Observations:

--The opening credits and advertising materials prominently proclaim "Music by Frank Sinatra, Jr.," but in reality he only wrote the lyrics for the song "Dance, Baby Dance." The rest of the incidental music was written and recorded in a single session by a local Los Angeles surf rock band called "The Illusions."

--"Monster in the Surf" was written by Walker Edmiston and Elaine Du Pont ("Mark" and "Jane") and performed by them for the beach party scene. The long beard Edmiston wears as Kingsley the Lion's operator both hides his face and obscures the movement of his lips, as he had no training or skill in ventriloquism.

--This was Jon Hall's final film. His last public appearance was at the premier of the Dino DeLaurentis remake of The Hurricane (1979). Hall committed suicide a few months later after a long struggle with cancer.

--Hall had been briefly considered for the role of Flash Gordon in 1936. a role which, of course went instead to Olympic swimmer Buster Crabbe.

--I really did go to my prom with a girl named Allison and she really did break my fragile, teenage heart.

As always, Cheers and thanks for reading!

Written by Bradley Lyndon in March, 2019.

Questions? Comments? Expressions of disgust? Why not skip the middleman and complain to me directly?

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