There's a Monster in the Surf! (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!)

A short clip from the ultra low-budget monster/beach mashup, The Beach Girls and the Monster, directed by former matinee idol Jon Hall in 1965. The puppet is Kingsley the Lion, voiced and operated by the late Walker Edmiston, who you may know better as the voice of Ernie the Keebler Elf, Orson the Vulture from H.R. Pufnstuf, or my favorite, Enik the benevolent Sleestak on the original Land of the Lost TV series.

I had already seen The Beach Girls and the Monster a couple of years ago, and while it is a pretty dismal affair, I also found it to be enjoyably schlocky in only the way that a cheap guy in a monster suit movie can be. At 3:30 a.m. this morning, as I awoke to start what was to hopefully be a 24-hour period of monster movie watching, I ran into this TV print of the film, known as The Monster from the Surf, on one of the nostalgia channels cramming up cable TV these days.

The song reminds me of a tune my brothers and I used to sing when we were young (having created it) called The Monster's on the Loose, which is structured pretty similarly with a simple repeated chorus featuring the song's title, though our long lost verse lyrics (I can only remember a couple of lines) were a bit more complicated than these.

The cutie-patootie with the squeaky voice and the pert you-know-whats is Elaine DuPont, for whom this would be her final acting credit. (She had a lot of uncredited roles in films like Jailhouse Rock and I Was a Teenage Werewolf, amongst others.) I think she is adorable in this film. This film was also Jon Hall's final feature role, after launching to stardom with John Ford's The Hurricane in 1937. Hall not only directed The Beach Girls and the Monster, but also served as the cinematographer (and maybe even wore the monster suit to boot, but I'm not going to tell you that).

I sort of ended up loving this movie all the more after seeing it this morning, and even knocked it up a tick in my rating system, having found enough to make me believe I had graded it too harshly the first time. It's still a really low rating (a 3 out of 9), but when a film makes you smile as broadly as it did to me as I watching it in the pre-dawn haze, you have to give it a little dap.


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