Friday, November 25, 2011

Blood Beach

1980 *

Ugh. I got Blood Beach because I have a particular fondness for a good Beach horror flick, and I said "You know what movie I haven't seen yet, voice in my head? I've actually never seen Blood Beach." But the thing is I did already see this sandy stinkfest, it just completely burned itself out of my memory. Just like this quote from Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49:

"Oedipa wondered whether, at the end of this (if it were supposed to end), she too might not be left with only compiled memories of clues, announcements, intimations, but never the central truth itself, which must somehow each time be too bright for her memory to hold; which must always blaze out, destroying its own message irreversibly, leaving an overexposed blank when the ordinary world came back."

See, Blood Beach is like the nebulous consipracy at the center of that novel, except that instead of holding unknowable truths... it actually holds absolutely nothing. As each non-scene of the film heaved itself upon me, I thought "Oh, I have seen this before, because I remember this part. But I know I haven't seen the whole thing..." and I was wrong all the way to the single (sucky) shot of the monster at the end. Unfortunately, unlike the last time, I can still remember it.

This movie has a premise with the potential to be awesome: a monster that stalks you from beneath the ground and attacks by yanking you under. Look at that poster up there. Yikes, right? To see this awesome potential realized, go watch the first Tremors. To see this potential kneecapped at every turn, check out Blood Beach. Here's a gallery of fatalities:

Any impact these scenes may have is undercut not only by a complete lack of gore, but also by a complete lack of the idea of gore. It's all "help me, I'm sinking I'm sinking!" and that's okay I guess, but there's not even the tiniest "it's biting me!" or "it hurts!" or even "something's got my legs!"

There is one scene that starts out with a touch of horror, involving a girl whose friends have buried her in the sand. She screams that she's getting bitten and they dig and pull her out desperately, and...

Her legs are red. Like, streaked with red paint. A little. Later she is referred to as having been "disfigured" and possibly crippled for life. The claim is so outrageous I can almost hear the monster itself saying "Whaaaat? Dude, that shit is weak."

If I sound overly bitter about a movie that simply doesn't have much going on, it's because Blood Beach also has the gall to fill 90 minutes of the universe's time with itself. Ninety minutes of the characters going on and on about how they can't seem to do anything about the monster (which soon echoed my own concerns). Ninety minutes of repeating how they "dug up the beach" and didn't find anything, meaning that the ten seconds of nighttime excavation footage implies that they removed and then replaced all the sand on the beach in a single night. Ninety minutes of scenes like police chief John Saxon getting testy at a city council meeting over the extra manpower he needs, or his partner Burt "Rocky's brother-in-law" Young going on with a searingly unfunny shtick about how they do things differently in Chicago. NInety minutes of bland romance between some character and some other character, and at one point there's a long duet in a bar, and... um...

What was I talking about? Blood Beach? Huh -- I haven't seen it actually, but I have an instinctive urge to tell you to avoid it at all costs. And to say you'll only see the monster once, and it sucks.


JPX said...

HAHA, I reviewed this in 2008 as part of my “movie poster” series and I agree with your review 100%! I found it especially grating that they focus so much time on following the cops as they go about their (boring) police procedural business. You are absolutely correct; they squandered a great opportunity for a monster movie. It would be like watching Jaws but instead of focusing on the shark we are treated to 90 minutes of the mayor attending council meetings.

Catfreeek said...

Isn't it against the law to entice with blood in the title, and then fail to deliver said blood? It should be!

Johnny Sweatpants said...

Hilarious review! I especially love the last paragraph.

The last thing anyone wants to see in a horror movie is a town council meeting.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

Your review is also hilarious JPX!