Blood Beach (1980)

   

Directed by: Jeffrey Bloom

Written by: Jeffrey Bloom & Steven Nalevansky

Starring:

David Huffman .... Harry Caulder
Marianna Hill .... Catherine Hutton
Burt Young .... Sergeant Royko
Otis Young .... Lieutenant Piantadosi
Lena Pousette .... Marie
John Saxon .... Captain Pearson
Pamela McMyler .... Mrs. Hench
Darrell Fetty .... Hoagy
Stefan Gierasch .... Dr. Dimitrios
Eleanor Zee .... Mrs. Seldon

Special Appearances:

Ian Abercrombie .... Man in Mayor's Office
Mary Jo Catlett .... Harriett Crabbe

Release Dates: Deauville Film Festival: September, 1980 (France); Theatrical: January 28, 1981

Rating:

 

It's summertime in Santa Monica, California as a resident named Harry Caulder (David Huffman) is going for his morning swim while he greets his neighbor Ruth Hutton (Hariet Medin) while walking her dog but then while he's swimming he hears her screaming as a mysterious force is sucking her into the sand.
Later on he reunites with Ruth's daughter Catherine (Marianna Hill) who is a former childhood friend of his and tells her the news that she could possibly be dead. Catherine also meets up with a crazed eccentric bag lady named Mrs. Seldon (Eleanor Zee) who tells her about people's fates at the beach and the nasty things they do.
Suddenly, more and more people are getting sucked into the sand or having near deaths while hanging out at the beach. Some teenagers find it exciting that this is happening and decides to hang out regardless to find out what will happen with reporters interviewing them.
A police chief named Captain Pearson (John Saxon) gathers his men to try and search what is causing all of this and commands everyone to evaccuate the beach until they find out why this deadly terror is happening.
Harry remembers going underneath a burned down building near the beach that was never torn down which scared him a great deal which might be a clue to what monstrous thing is doing this to the residents at the beach.

 

There's a nice natural discussion between Harry Caulder heading out to the ocean at the beach while talking to a lady while jogging with her dog. There's some cheesy close up shots on her being sucked into the sand while her screaming seemed a bit lacking. Of course this film was dated so I'm sure that makers did their best with this at the time. There's also a good shot on Harry swimming while hearing the screams and acting a little alarmed which seemed quite good.
There's a nice discussion with him towards Catherine Hutton on the possibilities that her mother could be dead which looked good and serious with good side shots on both of them when they have their discussion.
There's good shots looking down on a dog getting out a door and running to the sandy beach to check on things with a good shot on some sand being sucked in while there's nice shots on a character named Marie undoing her hair and then making out with Harry in bed plus a nice take on Catherine calling for her dog and then walking out to the beach to try and find her dog. All of this looked quite interesting.
There's good discussions with Sergeant Royko getting a bit cocky about how the dog was murdered towards the main character's at a police headquarters which showed a nice setting to everything.
There's a nice cheesy close up shot on a woman panicking and trying to struggle out of some sand while lying there with the crowd around her getting anxious and running up towards her which almost looks like a cheesily directed from a Jaws ripoff type of scenery.
Good brief scene with a reporter towards some teens at a beach being questioned why they'd still hang out after the scary incidents and good reactions on them as partying types which looked a little dated like the rest of the moments in this flick but natural as your stupid everyday teenagers.
There's a nice dark shot on a lady walking her bike down a stairs to the sandy beach and then slowly walking towards an injured bird and speaking softly to it with a nice suspenseful approach by a rapist rolling around with her and then a nice shot on him with menacing expressions while trying to crawl towards her along with a shot on her looking frightened and a great intense painful reaction towards him after the sand below him is attacking him with another great shot on this bastard screaming in terror.
There's a good camera shooting down on Captain Pearson, Lieutenant Piantadosi and a police office with their discussion about a possible creature in the sand with good shots on each Pearson and Dr. Dimitrios talking to one another.
There's a nice shot on Marie trying to catch her hat in the breeze landing on the sand with a good camera shot looking down on her being sucked in. This was a great shot out of all the scene's.
There's a good shot on Harry discovering a hole in the sand after realising what happened to someone he knew.
There's perfect shots and a discussion between Harry and Catherine at a seawall discussing what this creature could be killing people at the beach.
There's lots of good shots on Harry exploring underneath a burned down building which looked dark and creepy along with him discovering a crack near a passageway.
There's a good scene with Hoagy towards the crazy Mrs. Seldom at the beach and trying to get her to come with him and then a great shot on him getting sucked into the sand with him hollering which looked intense. as well as Zee looking frightened which looked alos well done.
There's many great shots on everyone at the area trying to flush out the creature.
I remember when I was in grade 3 a schoolmate on my bus on the way back home after school told me about this film but of course I was too young to watch it.
Now watching it the film was quite cheesy and tried so hard to be original but it didn't go too far. Plus the film was close to being considered obscure which of course during it's time alot of low budget horror film's were getting made but flopped at the box office. There's alot of nice scenery on the beach in Santa Monica which looked pretty and can see teenagers who enjoy horror digging it. It's also very mysterious as you wonder what is sucking them underneath the sand which seems almost creative. Yet when they discover this creature doing this there's no explanation to where it came from. Of course there's a tale told by the lead actor about his fear of a building that was burned down and never touched as a child and how it looked scary so his fear kind of created this monster.
Alot of b-grade horror film's tried to imitate Jaws but using different types of themes and this seemed to be one of them except it's not your fear of what's going to happen when you get into the water it's what happens when you lie in the sandy beach that causes the terror. The filmmakers tried to have the same reactions on the cast members when the terror happens except is looked a little too corny.
There's some good romantic discussions with the lead character's which was a nice touch to the story plus the ending left a door open for a sequel which never fell through since this one was considered forgettable which is a bit sad. During the very early 80's like this one, lots of non-mainstream and obscure low budget horror films during this time period left an ending that the horror isn't over yet but a part 2 never saw the light of day since it wasn't a successful time for the horror film craze even if lots were being made.
Bottom line: This film was quite bland, corny and very dated. It's a bad movie but it wasn't as terrible as critics made it out to be mainly cause it bombed during it's theatrical release. It can be fun to watch if you're in a real good mood for a cheesy horror flick plus it had a few known cast members too which helped the film a bit but not a whole lot. It's imaginative and can scare any kid to go to the beach if they watched this but as a grown up it's not too scary at all.

The acting was a bit cheesy and dated but some really stood out well in the film like lead actor the late David Huffman (Harry Caulder) (Bless his soul) in which he was a natural with his calm and sympathetic attitude in the film and acted incredibly natural for all that was going on and showing some nice dynamic energy too. Did well talking softly towards his fellow actress out on a dock about a tragic situation which almost seemed emotional. Shows a good upsetting expression on his face after finding out on what happened to someone. Does well acting upset too in another scene which seemed natural. Has a nice serious discussion telling another actor about his fears going to a burned down building near a beach as a child in which he really brings it out on what he had to say. Does a great job reacting scared by what he spots in a certain scene. He had that great nice guy next door type of appeal too in the film which was a great plus too. He was a very talented but underrated actor who starred in nearly obscure film like this and deserved to get better work. He sadly died in 1985 and although he wasn't famous for acting in horror film I did put a memorial on him in the Celluloid Casket Case since he deserves to be remembered.
Marianna Hill
(Catherine Hutton) at first seemed a bit lacking but she really got with her character later on in the film since she knew how to have a nice calm attitude without getting overly emotional and showing a nice strong behavior too. But yet there's a moment when she screams after finding out what happened to her pet in which she showed low energy on this and needed to look more convincing here. She was great by being soft spoken in the film to top it all off along with showing a good sympthetic attitude. She did show a good intense screaming after what she spots in a burned down building as she does this well. So she brought a good character in the film alltogether deserving good credit.
Burt Young
(Sergeant Royko) was another nice character actor with his sarcasm and cocky attitude playing one of those difficult Sergeants in the film who gets on your nerves. He really focused well at what he was doing in the film and brings his lines across nicely every time when he has a dialogue with anyone.
John Saxon
(Captain Pearson) plays a police chief like he often does if you've seen Black Christmas or A Nightmare On Elm Street since he does this part so perfectly with a good strictness and a serious attitude in the flick. He was one of the best character actors in the film. He brought a terrific firmness to top it all off when he commands anyone when a mission is about to be planned. There's a great powerful moment with him instructing people in a room about the murders with a nice no bullshit firm attitude which was one of the best performances out of the whole cast that was used in this film. He has a terrific one liner about not getting to the water at the beach which at the same time was very impressive with his seriousness although he tried to touch a bit of humor to this. Does well telling others off at a meeting about what is happening by being harsh which was well energised.
Darrel Fetty
(Hoagy) brings some humor to the screen as someone who is not on the ball with his work but shows a nice outgoing attitude too. He had the right looks for this part to top it all off. I could see him getting more work in these types of flicks since he really was an attraction to the story.
Eleanor Zee
(Mrs. Seldon) knew how to act crazy and outrageous as a bag lady in the film really coming across freaky like with her superstitions about the sand sucking people in and was a good key role to the horror plot of the film in which she made her character really come to life. She showed a great tense presence in her performance and seemed cheesily creepy when she did this. Does well by acting frightened after spotting a deadly incident which looked well performed.

A headless dog is exposed in the sand
A girls legs are bloodied
A persons crotch is bloodied

There's many cheesy low gloomy keyboard playing. Plus there's the odd weeping violin music too with some fast paced tones too. Then there's some nice romatic trumpet playing with some chimy keyboard music for a romantic scene used in the film. Of course there's the odd deep piano pounding too. All of this brought together by Gil Melle.

Karen: (While talking to a reporter at the beach) I don't know what would you call it?
David:
Blood beach man

Pearson: Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, you can't get to it.