The beach movie has come a long way from the days of Frankie & Annette, Gidget and The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini.
On second thought, maybe it hasn’t changed at all. They’ve always been about the same things: babes, beefcake, and trying to get laid without getting sand in your nether regions.
Of course, the beach films of yesteryear could only hint at it, but you knew that beneath the Aquanet and Brylcreem, those kids were waiting to sexually explode (in between having to dodge all those giant radioactive insects so prominent in that era).
The beach films of recent times don’t have to hint at anything, and can be as blatantly sexual and nuded up as they want. And they don’t have to tiptoe around the "love that dare not speak its name" either, although if you read between the lines of those 60’s films, we were always there, usually represented by an overly-enthusiastic kid who was never really interested in the girls, and for some reason always wore a fisherman’s hat.
You know the guy I mean.
But there’s one thing that the beach films of yesterday and today definitely have in common. Most of them are terrible. But there’s "terrible" and there’s "fabulously terrible."
The first beach film I recall seeing pretty much traumatized me for life. It was called Blood Beach, and I saw it on late night HBO in the mid-80’s. I was 11-years-old and seeing people dragged beneath the sand by a toothy cucumber put me off the beach for years (and to this day I still hate the feeling of sand beneath my feet).
And I knew if I was ever attacked by that creature, I’d be in awful trouble, because I didn’t have a heaving bosom. The monster in the movie usually had trouble dragging some of the larger-chested girls under because their chests would get stuck, as if they were spring-loaded.
Skinny little me? I’d slide down like oysters on the half shell.
So where am I going with all of this? Basically, I hate the beach, and rarely venture onto its deadly granules. But I love beach movies, especially if, like Blood Beach, they transcend the genre and become cult classics.
All of the guilty pleasures on the following pages have something to recommend them, whether it’s beefcake, music, beefcake, sharks, or beefcake.
A lot of beefcake.