Saturday, March 21, 2009

Blood Beach: Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back Into the Water, You Can't Get To It

1981's Blood Beach is one of those movies in my child of the video stores of the 80's psyche that managed to elude me for years. Movie Time Video had a copy, a clamshell box if I remember correctly, but for some reason or another, I never rented it or watched it and it never made it into my collection until a couple of weeks ago. I have fond memories, however, of both the box art and the tagline, "just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, you can't get to it." So Thursday night after some Canadian Club and soda, I decided it was time to embark on the Blood Beach odyssey. Here's the reasons I thought it was going to be sweeeeet: it's called Blood Beach, it has a great fucking tagline, and John Saxon is in it.  John Saxon typecast as a hardassed cop is reason alone enough for me to wanna get down on some Blood Beach. 

Okay, so here's the gist: something is attacking? killing? kidnapping? people at the beach (Venice, maybe? I don' t know if they specify). Some of the people are sucked right into the sand and some, including a dog, are mutilated. The police, led by the great John Saxon, are called in to investigate and turn up nothing. Some geologist even dig up the beach resulting in a great big nothing, too. The main characters, a harbor patrol dude and his ex-girlfriend whose mommy was one of the first victims of Blood Beach, inexplicably decide to investigate an abandoned building and find some decapitated body parts, and then a rubbery suited monster shows up. There's no explanation for any of it, really, no one mentions toxic waste or the environment or pollution or anything like that and then the movie ends and that's it. 

It's got a couple of worthy WTF moments, though. Namely, rarely do you see a movie in which the title and tagline are actually part of the dialogue. Blood Beach is one of these rare films. My man, John Saxon, actually speaks the tagline, kinda off the cuff as he stands on the beach as the invesigatory (is that word?) expedition turns up a big, fat nothing. And the title is spoken by a teenager enjoying the beach despite the recent unpleasantness of the disappearances and mutilations. He's all like, "It's blood beach, man, hehehe." Teens today, I swear. Or teens in the early 80's, I swear. 

Also, the music is also kinda WTF. It's either eerie ominous or sexy ominous. I don't know how else to describe it. Oh, and there are two kinda arty sex scenes involving the harbor patrol dude. He gets it from two different babes, a stewardess (they called 'em stewardesses back in 1981) and from the ex, who he is helping investigate her mother's disappearance. I know I always like to get some from my ex who is helping me locate my mother who was sucked into the sand. It takes my mind of the task at hand. 

There's also one cop character that keeps talking about Chicago. Even if it has nothing to do with the scene at the time. He'll be like, "In Chicago, we have better hot dogs" or something equally inane. I don't know if he actually did say this exact line, but there is nary a scene with this guy that he doesn't mention how they do it in Chicago, no matter what 'it' is. 

And John Saxon doesn't appear until the 19:35 mark. The movie isn't that long, maybe a bit over an hour-twenty. Almost twenty minutes is far too long to wait for an appearance by John Saxon and his eyebrows. But I overall, I liked Blood Beach. It took me nearly twenty years to see the freakin' movie, and I won't say it's a total disappointment. It's not scary at all, sand eating people isn't really scary. And it's not really quite ridiculous enough for my tastes either, save for the few moments mentioned above. It is ridiculous, I'm just a tough customer when it comes to utter ridiculousness. Maybe twenty more years, and I'll watch it again. 

Now, I have to finish listening to Foreigner's greatest hits. They're coming to Richmond soon, and I'm soooooo there so I've got to brush up on the lyrics to Head Games and Cold as Ice. Which always makes me think of that Aqua Teen episode with the Foreigner belt. 

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