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Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives

Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode guide: 817- Horror of Party Beach

Movie: (1964) Teeners in a beach community are oblivious when dumped radioactive waste creates a batch of monsters.

First shown: 9/6/97
Opening: Tom harmonizes his overtones with the fundamental
Intro: Servo’s “fundamental” turns out to be pre-recorded; meanwhile “Apearlo” and “Brainguyus” settle in with a delighted Callipygeas and suspicious Flavia
Host segment 1:The manly beach dance is postponed because Mike’s trunks are a bit small
Host segment 2: Apearlo & Brainguyus’ jam becomes a beef commercial
Host segment 3:Tom’s a newsy with very up-to-date news
End: M&TB sing “Sodium;” meanwhile as Callipygeas and Brainguyus bond, Apearlo and Flavia trade…er…pleasantries
Stinger: A less-than-manly beach dance
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (266 votes, average: 4.72 out of 5)


• I was generally a fan of the “chase through time and space” thing in season eight, and I contend that more host segments worked than didn’t. But when it comes to the “Roman times,” story arc we’re now into, well, for me, not so much. Everybody tries real hard, and I bet it seemed funny in the writing room, but many of the Roman Times host segments just don’t come up to the level I expect from this show. Call it the exception that proves the generally witty and hilarious rule. Fortunately it only lasted a few episodes, and fortunately for this episode, the goofy movie, and the terrific riffing of it, more than make up for any shortcomings elsewhere.
• Paul’s take is here.
• This episode was included in Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXXVII
• Crow is referred to as a “golden spider duck”—that sounds like something that was in a fan letter, though I don’t think they ever said that.
• One reference the reference guide doesn’t note: Observer mentions “Bitter Dregs,” during segment 2. He’s referring to tune sung in the Star Trek episode “Plato’s Stepchildren.” Watch it here.
• During that bit, they eventually begin playing Aaron Copeland’s “Rodeo,” and Kevin yells “Beef!” That’s a reference to the now-largely-forgotten “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” commercial campaign that featured that Copeland piece.
• By the way, the music is actually being played by Lisa Fuglie (of the group Monroe Crossing) and Karen Mueller.
• Movie comments: Did the makers of this movie really think the monsters would look scary? Really? Also: The voice of our heroine Elaine is dubbed. But I’ve never heard an explanation as to why.
• When this movie was in theaters, movie-goers had to sign a “fright release” before they entered the theater.
• I hadn’t seen this one for a while, and I’d forgotten Eulabelle. Wow. Were these kinds of characters really still acceptable in 1964?
• The movie was filmed in the Stamford, Conn. area, (although it has some very nice shots of 1964-era Manhattan, when our hero makes his Sodium run).
• According to this bio, the Del-Aires broke up not long after shooting this movie.
• This movie “was billed as ‘the first horror musical,’ but we MSTies know better. The similarly-hyped 812-THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES WHO STOPPED LIVING AND BECAME MIXED-UP ZOMBIES was released the year before.”
• The great “Sodium” song has one extra joke connected with it—check out the credits where the song’s “lyric” is credited.
• No cast and crew roundup: Nobody involved in this movie worked on any other MST3K movie.
• CreditsWatch: Produced by Jim, directed by Kevin. With this episode Patrick is added to the “Set Design” credit and he will be there for the rest of the run of the series. A Jennifer Turner helped Andrea with hair and makeup. Intern Joseph Olson finished up a four-episode stint. This is the last episode that “The authors of the First Amendment” would be thanked at the end of the credits.
• Fave line: “Look Polish, everyone!” Honorable mention: “Do farts have lumps?” “I had a generally positive impression of white people before this movie.”

163 Replies to “Episode guide: 817- Horror of Party Beach”

  1. Thad Boyd says:

    First one I ever saw.

    If you think the Roman times arc is inexplicable in context, imagine what it was like coming in partway through the episode, and also you’ve never seen the show before.


  2. Lupe Vallejo says:

    Only until a few months ago did I notice this from the opening credits, that I always get a kick out of when I watch this episode. Due to being partially obscured by Crow’s hockey web, the Still Photographer for the film is Mary Ann “Milfs”. And if you include Mike’s obscuring the name, it’s “Marv” Ann Milfs. And I’ve also always wondered why Elaine’s voice is dubbed for the entire film. Mike and the bots are very amused by that. Another observance comes at the very end when the Del-Aires fishish with the song “Elaine” in the end credits. The Drummer suddenly freezes and gets a confused or worried look on his face and then looks behind him, as if a commotion or noise has startled him.


  3. littleaimishboy says:

    Lupe Vallejo:
    …Elaine’s voice is dubbed for the entire film. … at the very end when the Del-Aires fishish with the song “Elaine” in the end credits. The Drummer suddenly freezes and gets a confused or worried look on his face and then looks behind him, as if a commotion or noise has startled him.

    “Elaine’s real voice! It’s broken free somehow!! AIIEEE!!!”


  4. Jason says:

    Mike’s delivery of “There’s no reason to leave C, I find” when the sleepover girl is strumming the guitar gets me every time.

    Every time I hear the Chris Farley line I have to remind myself that he was still alive when this episode aired.


  5. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    I should perhaps mention that, in the interim, I’ve learned that the reviewer whose website I linked to falls squarely within my personal parameters of pants-crapping insane, so please, proceed with caution.

    The best bit with Eulabelle is when the doorbell rings and they say “Oh, I’m black, I’ll get it.”

    “Oh, I’m a servant, getting the door’s part of my JOB…”

    A great episode, and I love Eulabelle! She’s one of my favorite MST3K characters. Amdist a blander-than-bland cast, she actually shows real (if stereotypical) character. She also seems to be the only one who recognizes the urgency of the situation. Not only does she discover the secret anti-monster weapon, only at her insistence do the oddly unmotivated scientists locate it. Later she directs the characters to the monsters’ secret hideout for the final showdown.

    So, in a way, she’s personally responsible for rendering an entire species extinct. When (in the lab), she realizes that she’s helped discover a way to destroy the Party Beachures, she moans to herself “Oh, lord…lord…” her ultimate meaning up for interpretation.

    All this points to a suspicious cleverness on her part. Could she be some sort of covert operative, or even a divine agent? How did this New England family manage to get a housemaid straight out of Song of the South anyway? Regardless she’s among the more memorable MST3K characters.

    People move. Stuff happens in their lives and they relocate. Happens all the time. And I’m in a position to say that one of the the most obvious reactions to being in the South is to GET OUT. ;-)

    Since sooner or later almost everyone comes to Manhattan, we could presume that Eulabelle did that, then relocated to Connecticut.

    one of my faves.the swimsuit host seg is hilarious, another fave.i think the drunks are probably my favorite characters in a movie with a number of decent characters to make fun of.

    They at least prevent the film from having a completely woman-only body count, making it not QUITE as “misogynistic” as it might otherwise have been. I s’pose.

    “Bosco puts hustle in your muscle,
    Bosco puts wee in your knee.”I sing this at work a lot for some reason.

    How’s that workin’ out for ya? ;-)

    Funny enough, I know the guy who was in the Hot Dog Monster suit.

    He had such Bela Lugosi/Lon Chaney/Boris Karloff dreams and ended up with Hot Dog Monster. Very sad.

    On the other hand, he did date Elaine for a while!

    So, no real upside for him, then.


  6. Johnny Drama says:

    So much love for this one from the commentators. Outside of a few amusing host segments (the non-Roman ones), this one does very little for me. It falls into that dead zone of the last half of Season 8. People seem to absolutely adore this era, but for me, it’s strictly the pits. If this movie had been done in Seasons 2-7 or 9 or 10, I feel it would’ve been a better episode. But unfortunately, it falls in the worst era (for me).


  7. bartcow says:

    I have a Del-Aires record (issued on Norton a few years back), and I tracked down an original 45 that has “Elaine” on the b-side. They’re actually a pretty decent garage rock band, if you’re into that. “Zombie Stomp” is pretty killer.

    One of the reasons I’d heard they broke up was after a fight broke out in a dive where they were playing, and two police officers were essentially assassinated. Horrifying story, and no wonder they decided maybe playing in clubs wasn’t for them anymore.

    Ah, found this, if you want to know more:


  8. Watched this one very recently and I found that it highlight the things that the new season does better. This is one dull ugly looking movie and the riffing is fairly slow. It seems to get by with shameless sexuality of the whole thing and there are a few spots of absolute hilarious movie/riff combo heaven. A cleaner print and better sound could have helped this episode a lot but I had to break this episode up over 3 sessions to get through it. A lot of classics in Season 8 but this is not one of them even if the movie is memorable.


  9. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    One of the reasons I’d heard they broke up was after a fight broke out in a dive where they were playing, and two police officers were essentially assassinated.

    These days that’d probably be considered a selling point…


  10. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Hot dogs or pickles? Not since potatoes or stuffing…

    Wouldn’t it have been something if they could extend those things out of their mouths like tentacles? Yes, that sure would’ve been something, all right. They might have gone on to a long unhealthy career in Japanese horror…

    They clearly filmed over several months, and I guessed they figured no one would notice (or care).

    From here, they were spot on the money.

    I nearly forgot! We get to witness another delightful misuse of Carbon-14 testing in this film. Apparently in addition to detecting objects from the future, 14C testing can be used on fresh crime scene specimens to identify the DNA sequences of killer monsters.

    Prove that it can’t. I dare ya.

    The real bright spot in these is Bridget Jones as Flavia.

    AKA Flav-a-flav? AKA Scapula? AKA Gravyboat? AKA…

    What is the deal with movie bikers?They are always dressed so inappropriately for the beach. Is it a sign of their toughness that they can stand to wear leather jackets in the hot sun?

    “Some of us prefer to sacrifice comfort for style.”

    Besides, showing one’s colors is a serious business in gang subculture. I think.

    The Bolem:
    And has no one commented on the oddness of the bikers using teamwork to battering-ram their leader head-first into our hero for a finishing move?

    Maybe that’s their signature move OSLT.

    Dr Gavin “I have no doubt we’ll find a perfectly reasonable explanation for the girls death.” Tom “Like giant squirrels.”

    Like this thick voluptuous fellow?

    He doesn’t blow up bridges, he tears them down.

    I just assumed that “Resusci-Annie” (cruel, but fair) found out that all the characters’ voices were coming out sounding like they were recorded in the basement pool at the Y

    Why is it Resusci-Annie, anyway? You don’t resusciANNE people, you resusciTATE people. So shouldn’t it be Resusci-Tatum? I’ve asked this before, haven’t I? Oh well.


  11. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Because I’m weird (which often but, alas, not invariably results in creativity), I’ve transcribed most of Stephen King’s comments on this movie from his nonfiction book Danse Macabre:

    “…”The Horror of Party Beach” will yield a technological aspect upon analysis — you see, all those beach blanket boppers in their bikinis and ball-huggers are being menaced by monsters that were created when drums of radioactive waste leaked. But not to worry; although a few girls get carved up, all comes right in the end in time for one last wiener roast before school starts again.”

    “…The producers of “The Horror of Party Beach”…were two Connecticut drive-in owners who saw a chance to turn a quick buck in the low-budget horror-movie game (the reasoning seeming to be that if Nicholson and Arkoff of AIP could make X amount of dollars churning out B-pictures, then they might be able to make X[squared] amount of dollars by turning out Z-pictures). The fact that they created a film which foresaw a problem that would become very real ten years down the road was only an accident…but an accident, like Three Mile Island, that perhaps had to happen, sooner or later. I find it quite amusing that this grainy, low-budget rock ‘n’ roll horror picture arrived at ground zero with its Geiger counters clicking long before “The China Syndrome” was even a twinkle in anyone’s eye.

    “The producers of “The Horror of Party Beach” never sat down, I’m sure (just as I’m sure the producers of “The China Syndrome” did), and said to each other: “Look — we’re going to warn the people of America about the dangers of nuclear reactors, and we will sugar-coat the pill of this vital message with an entertaining story line.” No, the line of discussion would have been more apt to go like this: Because our target audience is young, we’ll feature young people, and because our target audience is interested in sex, we’ll site in on a sun-and-surf-type beach, which allows us to show all the flesh the censors will allow. And because our target audience likes grue, we’ll give them these gross monsters. It must have looked like boffo box-office stuff: a hybrid of AIP’s most consistently lucrative genre pictures — the monster movie and the beach-party movie.

    “But because any horror film (with the possible exception of the German expressionist films of the teens and twenties) has got to at least pay lip service to credibility, there had to be some REASON for these monsters to suddenly come out of the ocean and start doing all these antisocial things (one of the film’s highlights — maybe lowlights would be better — comes when the creatures invade a slumber party and kill ten or twenty nubile young things…talk about party-poopers!). What the producers decided upon was nuclear waste, leaking from those dumped canisters. I’m sure it was one of the least important points in their preproduction discussions, AND FOR THAT VERY REASON it becomes VERY important to our discussions here.

    “The reason for the monsters most likely came about in a kind of free-association process, the sort of test psychiatrists use to discover points of anxiety in their patients. And although “The Horror of Party Beach” has long since been consigned to oblivion, the image of the canisters marked with radiation symbols sinking slowly to the bottom of the ocean lingers in the memory. What in Christ’s name are we REALLY doing with all that nuclear sludge? the mind enquires uneasily — the burn-off, the dreck, the used plutonium slugs, and the worn-out parts that are as hot as a nickel-plated revolver and apt to stay that way for the next six hundred years or so? Does ANYBODY know what in Christ’s name we’re doing with those things?”


  12. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Crow (as drunk): Do farts have lumps?

    The fact that this has been mentioned so often as a favorite riff reminds me of what I doubt I’ve ever mentioned before (and which I know doesn’t matter to anyone anyway): Bodily function humor does absolutely nothing for me. It’s one of the quickest ways to turn me against anything. We all have our quirks. Fortunately, the Brains don’t indulge in it all that much.


  13. PJ says:

    The riff “Is there anyone who likes pickles as much as I do?” reminds me of “It Came From Hollywood” when Gilda Radner made a similar observation about it.

    Unintentional on MST3k’s part. WHo could watch that film and not make that observation?

    “It Came From Hollywood” is mandatory viewing for any MSTie.


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