Hey folks, Harry here... For many of you, it is impossible to imagine having connections to obscure genre films going back decades and decades, but I grew up in a collectibles shop that specialized in Comic Books, Movies, Animation and genre film culture. One of the very first genre magazines that I can remember is this one:
There was something about a goofy monster approaching a girl in a pink bikini on a beach kinda smiling that made me want to see HORROR AT PARTY BEACH. Inside that issue was Wally Wood comic art of the film - and there was always something about Wally's work that appealed directly to my geek soul.
I didn't see this film as a kid though. I read this magazine published by Warren Publishing til it fell apart at the edges. I loved the oh so funky look of the monster. Love the poster for the film. And Dad always told me it was a funky combination of the BEACH BLANKET BINGO style movies and the Roger Corman teen horror flicks - and that had me sold.
Ultimately the movie lived up to its funky pedigree. When I did finally see it, I discovered that the DVD had another film on it called THE CURSE OF THE LIVING CORPSE. That was also directed by Del Tenney, the man behind HORROR AT PARTY BEACH. After wallowing in the funky fun of these two, I looked him up and discovered he was also the man behind I EAT YOUR SKIN, which is less of a cannibal movie like the title would make you believe, and is actually a film about creating a zombie army to rule the world with. So that was funky fun.
I never met Del Tenney at any conventions - and today when a reader forwarded me a link to this story about Tenney's death, well I just had to write something up. These folks that made funky fun genre flicks, they fed an industry that didn't know how to respond to the public's thirst for fun and funky horror. HORROR OF PARTY BEACH was one of those films that in the days prior to the internet, I was looking for. Everytime I dug in a bin of used VHS' I was looking for it in the back of my head. One of those titles where I knew I had to find it, if nothing else than to know it couldn't be better than Wally Wood's illustrations.
Dan Tenney never made a great film, but he inadvertantly created a magnificent little movie obsession of mine that took me over 25 years of my life to actually fulfill. For that, I give thanks to Dan Tenney. Apparently people would ask him how he could make such awful movies and he would respond, "I laugh all the way to the bank!"
To end this, what is Dan's biggest contribution to this wonderful world of film that we love so much. He gave Roy Scheider his film debut. If you check out the link above, you'll discover there was a lot more to Tenney than these films. He had a stage presence that included working with Henry Fonda.
Rest In Peace, Del Tenney, you earned it.