Tuesday, July 28, 2015


THE NIGHT VISITOR opens with a nighttime shot of a old frozen seaside fort(?) that's now being used as a insane asylum.  Suddenly a figure comes running across the rocky, snow covered coast.  He's wearing nothing but his underwear and a pair of boots.  It's Max von Sydow and he looks totally miserable.  Half-frozen and bluer than Papa Smurf's penis he scampers through the woods and to an isolated farmhouse.  He breaks in and spies on the residents...then it's time for a little murder and a return trip to the insane asylum wear he breaks back in.  What could the point of all this be?

The first act of THE NIGHT VISITOR was great, filled with mystery and tension, but then you get into the police investigation part (lead by Trevor Howard) and it all falls apart.  The cops have two suspects in the murders: Max and a local doctor (played by Per Oscarsson).  All they have to do is hide a guard outside of Max's cell door and another outside the doctor's house and the case would be solved, but no...instead they let the murders continue and only react afterwards.

The story might've had holes all through it, but the cast was a real treat.  Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow are two of my favorite actors, so them plus Trevor Howard and Per Oscarsson...well, I was about as happy as a movie lover could be, even with the overly complicated story.


Frankie and Annette finally got married, but after Frankie had a horrendous surfing accident, they moved to Ohio.  Now, many years later, they've come back to LA to visit their daughter who lives on their old stomping grounds.  This brings back all kinds of old memories.

I was really excited to see an updated Beach Party movie, but while watching it I was very confused as to why there was none of the old characters or familiar faces.  Turns out that this film was made by Paramount and since Orion owned the rights to the original AIP Beach films, Paramount ended up bringing in 17 writers (at the cost of 2 million dollars!!!) to make a parody of beach movies.  That's totally mind-boggling.

As it is though, BACK TO THE BEACH is a fun film, filled with goofy laughs and silly characters.  At the beginning of the film, Frankie is a uptight square, but once he meets an old flame (Connie Stevens) he gets all fired up and starts singing.  Naturally, this pisses off Annette so she has a pajama party.  Stuff happens and in the end Frankie has to win a surf competition.

Quick pace, lots of hot chicks in the background, great songs (the highlight being Pee-Wee Herman singing "Surfin' Bird"), pre-prison Lori Loughlin looking hot, various familiar faces including Dick Dale, Gilligan, the Skipper, that psychotic newspaper kid from BETTER OFF DEAD.  If you enjoyed the older Beach movies then you'll definitely get a kick out of BTTB.  I just wish they had done something special during the closing credits...bloopers or maybe more dancing.

This is totally unrelated to BACK TO THE BEACH, but just look at the movie selection you had if you went to the theater while BTTB was playing: THE MONSTER SQUAD, DIRTY DANCING, MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, FULL METAL JACKET, CAN'T BUY ME LOVE, BORN IN EAST L.A., ROBOCOP, THE LOST BOYS, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, LA BAMBA, SUMMER SCHOOL...SUMMER SCHOOL!!! I think I'm going to go watch SUMMER SCHOOL right now!

Part 1 - Beach Party (1963)
Part 2 - Muscle Beach Party (1964)
Part 3 - Bikini Beach (1964)
Part 4 - Pajama Party (1964)
Part 5 - Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)
Part 6 - How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965)
Part 7 - The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966)