Summertime and the return of the Bad B’s



Summertime is here and one of the funniest pastimes for me, as a movie critic, is just reading the synopses of some of the old Beach Movies that people flocked to see during the summer. (I think they flocked to them, or they wouldn’t have made at least seven of these Bad B Beach films!)

I recently compiled a short list of the best of the blurbs. Here are a few favorites:

  • It’s a Bikini World: When a female scientist turns down a playboy’s pass, he poses as his own brother to win her heart.
  • Muscle Beach Party: The beach gang goes head-to-head with the bodybuilders at a new gym that’s interfering with their strip on the sand.
  • Gidget: A young girl dreams of winning acceptance from a gang of surfers.
  • Gidget Goes Hawaiian: A surfer girl triggers romantic confusion during a Hawaiian vacation.
  • Beach Blanket Bingo: The surfing gang rescues a beautiful girl from a gang of evil bikers.
  • How to Stuff a Wild Bikini: When he’s stationed in Tahiti, a sailor hires a witch doctor to keep an eye on his girlfriend.

Frankie Annette 3

We all talk of the light and lovable period of time when these films were made. Sure, they were sexist and made light of violent biker gangs and surfers without jobs or ambition in life. Sure, the films exposed the dumbing-down of America and the vapid content was overkill, even topping the syrupy sentiment of the hits Doris Day starred in during this era.

There may have been some maturation of the character of Gidget as she progressed through the series of moronic pictures. But, the entire culture of Beach movies was enough to produce the counter-culture that came into existence in the late sixties.

The films stand alone as some of the worst series of films ever made. Only some bad-b Japanese movies are in the running to compete with the moronic vapidity on display in this film series. But…if you like Bad-B movies, and I admit to being quite a connoisseur of the art, then some of these films may actually make it to the finals.

Not quite on the order of Plan 9 from Outer Space, but some of the material in these films is noteworthy. And by that I mean, worthy of taking note of how poorly the film was made, edited, written, acted in and directed.

I have written about Bad-B’s before, and I’ve resurrected that post for those fans of Bad B. If there are some films that may have slipped under the radar, please write to me at I’d love to compile a list of reader Bad-B’s for a new top 10 List. Here’s one from Rotten Tomatoes:

10. Showgirls- 1995
9.Battlefield Earth-2000
8. Glen or Glenda-1953
7. Plan 9 from Outer Space-1959
6.Robot Monster- 1953
5. Howling II-1985
4. The Black Gestapo-1975
3. Frankenstein Island-1981
2. Road House- 1989
1. The Oscar-1966

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