In the wake of the Jaws hysteria in the second half of the seventies, filmmakers looked for alternative ways to make us fear the water. Killer whales. Piranhas. Humanoids from the deep. But what if the trouble wasn’t in the water…but on the beach? BLOOD BEACH!
That’s right. This is the 1980 film about the man-eating sand. People get swallowed by the sand because their hat blew onto the sand or they’re hunting for treasure under the boardwalk or they want to help a wounded seagull – always when no one else is around to witness it happen.
There so much greatness going on in this movie. The lead dude is so fricking hot, especially in his short shorts. John Saxon plays…a tough talking detective. Imagine that. Burt Young, best known in horror circles as the abusive dad in Amityville II: The Possession, is also a detective who references “queers and perverts” in one breath.
A near rape ends in boob flash and a dude getting his wiener bitten off. A bunch of kids giggle when they tell the detective they “found a wiener.” They actually say that. There are boom mikes floating into view way too much (maybe because I have a full screen print? Not sure). The leading lady gets soaked in a shower of dead bodies. No one is safe, not even dogs or kids. And John Saxon has the most crucial line in the film: “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, you can’t get to it.” Even the guy he’s talking to rolls his eyes.
And yet, with all that goodness, plenty of people getting sucked into the sand, and the film running less than an hour and twenty-five minutes, it drags! The pacing is definitely slow. And there’s no subtlety. Just when people think it’s safe to go back on the sand, as the end credits role, we get endless shots of little sucking sand holes appearing next to oblivious sunbathers. OKAY WE GET IT. SEQUEL COMING.
There was never a sequel to Blood Beach.