Stephen Romano’s RETRO 13 – Blood Beach
Hello, kids! Stephen Romano here. Pictured below is my all-new poster tribute to Blood Beach, a true horror classic from the VHS age—a film that has never been officially released Stateside on DVD, Blu-ray, or HD. You can currently only see this bad boy in the good old U S of A if you look it up on YouTube or shell out a few bucks for a vintage cassette. It’s really worth the trouble.
BLOOD BEACH is among the “classier” and more original post-modern exploitation pictures—because it’s a film in which the quirky characters are far more important than the monster. In fact, you almost never really see the monster at all. The beach itself is the real horror, where people get sucked under the California sand at random by something weird that screams.
In 1981, when this film was released, the ad campaign was designed entirely around that gimmick—that the sand was the bad guy. The hapless victims of Blood Beach are dragged away into oblivion and wash up later as ripped-apart remains or living dead corpses. Believe it or not, the picture freaked a lot of us out because of that. In fact, when I caught the film, I have to admit that I was even a little disappointed at the climax, where they finally showed the monster. For me, not being able to trust the ground under your feet was far scarier than any silly rubber creature they could trot out. (If ya wanna get a nice good look at grabby tunnel-critters, stick with films like Tremors.)
Also, as I mentioned, the characters were just memorable as hell, spouting wonderfully campy dialogue. When the L.A. cops, for example, are asked for their opinions about the mysterious Blood Beach killings, sergeant Burt Young (of Rocky fame) glibly suggests in his all-too-incongruous tough guy NYC drawl: “There’s only one place to look when something like this happens—in the headquarters of the American Go To Hell Nazi Paaaaarty!” It’s classic camp horror cinema for 1980s nostalgia seekers and a creepy, atmospheric horror film, all on its own.
Apparently this got “re-made” recently as something called The Sand, but that version is still held up in release. I’m not sure how I feel about that, to be honest. But I’m the guy who boycotted Clash of the Titans: The Remake (“Now with 200 percent more CGI monsters!“), so I guess I’m a purist.
The original theatrical poster, when the first film was initially unleashed by The Jerry Gross Organization, celebrated the creepy-beach-sucks-you-down angle.
The slug line under the title was a riff on the famous ad slogan of Jaws 2, released just three years earlier. I always thought it was a clever, killer bit of marketing, but it only championed one angle of the movie, the slug was dated—and it was a re-touched photograph, not a swell painting. For RETRO 13, I went back to horror basics and charged up the gore factor, both celebrating the film’s key protagonists and adding an actual bloody beach. This allowed me to paint the awesome John Saxon (A Nightmare on Elm Street), the beautiful Marianna Hill (Star Trek), and the late character actor David Huffman (Firefox), who was tragically killed just a few years after Blood Beach was made. This happened when David heroically pursued a criminal into a park in San Diego and was stabbed to death with a screwdriver.
Yes, sometimes you really can’t trust the ground under your feet, folks.
This first edition of RETRO 13 is dedicated to David’s memory. Click here for the full-size image.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This poster is intended as FAN ART only and is designed to be shared, for free, for anyone who wants to own it for themselves. Download it, share it, spread the horror! And come see me at my website for more fun.