This SHITs for Reels – Beach Edition

Mike Sargent, staff

“The annual migration of the idiot” is Welcome to Spring Break (1989) and the accompanying beachsploitation horror, Biker on spring breaker violence, corrupt city officials, T & A sexism, an annoying priest, and unholy death explosion by electrocution motorcycle. Not cool.

An island bound ship with Little Richard harbors cheating art burglars with a stolen painting and scantily clad dancing teens that must thwart the bandits in this rock and roll skin diving Catalina Caper (1967).

While the boys surf, swimsuited ladies twist to rad Frank Sinatra Jr. surf rock from a reel-to-reel tape player. Then someone finds a ping pong-eyed seaweed creature feature cave with a disapproving doctor and anti-surfer propaganda in Beach Girls and the Monster (1965).

Deadlier Than the Male (1967) swimsuit-wearing villains with harpoon guns manipulate oil barons and battle an insurance investigator with Bond-like music, cigar guns, and a giant computer game of chess.

As rad, creepy Theremin music plays in the background, a man rings a small bell while he’s being killed by another cheap ping pong-eyed bullet-proof fishy Creature Of Destruction (1967). A psychic hypnotist plus a couple of swimsuit-laden rock and roll beach parties just add to the monstrous fun!

Actor Bob Cummings plays a professor studying the sex life of swimwear-suited post-adolescent surf dwellers, including Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, who cavort to wild surf rock courtesy of Dick Dale & His Del-Tones at the Beach Party (1963), while frustrating the absurd antics of the local leather-jacketed bikers Rats and Mice.

Bikini Beach (1964) is a bikinisploitation classic sequel featuring another Funicello/Avalon jealously-driven pun-full narrative with rock and roll, featuring Little Stevie Wonder, slapstick bikers, a guy and his ape out to prove teenagers are irresponsibly interested in sex, a fake-accented British rock star/race car driver, and artist Don Rickles with a talking pet hawk.

The terrible Avalon/Funicello ballad(s) continue(s) in Beach Blanket Bingo (1965,) where the puns disappoint, the songs are getting sickeningly sweet, the sexism is louder, the twists are more ridiculous, the misadventures are sky-high, and this blanket is definitely wetter.

Don’t let the rad Claymation title sequence by Art Clokey (Gumby!) fool you. Frankie is in the South Pacific cheating on Annette while using a racist character aka broken-speech-speaking witch doctor (played by Buster Keaton) to manipulate her with a surveillance pelican and a magic bikini. Annette falls for the motor biker anyways. I learned How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965) into the trash.

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