Happy Spring Break!
Spring Break is one of the things that I really miss about high school and college. Despite the fact that I don’t drink, I don’t swim, and I generally hate crowds, I always made it a point to celebrate Spring Break by going to the beach. Spring Break was more than just a week’s vacation from “preparing for the future” and everything else that I occasionally pretended college was about. Spring Break was a ritual. It was a tradition. Celebrating Spring Break was as much a required activity as dressing up for Halloween or going to fireworks on the 4th.
For the next two weeks, we’re going to celebrate Spring Break on the Shattered Lens. I know that some people are saying that no one should be celebrating the Spring Break this year. To be honest, there were people saying that before the pandemic broke out and there were be people saying that once the pandemic is under control. Wear your mask indoors. Social distance. Do whatever needs to be done and yes, definitely make sure that you know what’s going on in the world. But don’t ever let the professional killjoys tell you that you don’t have a right to enjoy your life.
If you want to check out a professional killjoy, just check out the scientist who is at the heart of the 1965 film, The Beach Girls and the Monster. Dr. Otto Lindsay (Jon Hall, who also directed) is an oceanographer who totally resents the fact that teenagers are partying on the beach. I mean, he’s even more obnoxious than that jackass lawyer who spent last year wandering around the beach of Florida while dressed up as the Grim Reaper. Obviously, some of Otto’s bad attitude can be explained by the fact that he’s old but it’s hard not to feel that there’s something bigger fueling his resentment. Maybe he’s angry that his young wife, Vicky (Sue Casey), doesn’t seem to be particularly happy with their marriage. Maybe he’s annoyed that there’s a sculptor named Mark (Waler Edmonston) living in his house. Mark is a friend of Otto’s son, Richard (Arnold Lessing). Richard was planning on following his father into the field of oceanography but then he discovered surfing. Now, the only thing that Richard wants to do is surf and hang out on the beach.
It’s a popular beach, though perhaps a little bit less popular now that people are being randomly killed on the sand. Who is killing off of all of the surfers and the beach girls? Richard thinks that it’s a maniac but Otto believes that it’s a prehistoric sea creature, come back to life and seeking revenge on all of the irresponsible young people who ruining the beach. Judging from the fact that the killer looks like some sort of humanoid-fish hybrid, we can only assume that Otto is right. But is he?
You’ll have to watch the film to find out and, fortunately, it’ll be pretty easy for you to do just that. The Beach Girls and The Monster is in the public domain and it’s been uploaded to YouTube about a dozen times. And you know what? You should watch it because this is an entertainingly dumb little movie. It’s not exactly a good movie, of course. The acting is …. not impressive. The killer fish is …. less impressive. But so what? This is a fast-paced and fun movie with a silly monster, a lot of beach parties, and just enough dancing to hold my attention. It’s nonsense but, in the best tradition of Spring Break, it’s entertaining nonsense.