Life's a Beach, Then You Die

Between 1963 and 1967, Hollywood cranked out more than 100 beach movies, including 1964's sensationally wretched The Horror of Party Beach, which not-so-seamlessly welded the genre to the existing sci-fi, nuke-disaster flick A with pop songs! By 1967, however, teens had crash-landed on an entirely new planet, smoking pot, demonstrating against the Vietnam War, and, in general, rebelling hither and yon. Beach movies wiped out. After 1967's lame It's a Bikini World, AIP abandoned the beach for good, roaring off into the wide exploitable expanse of the burgeoning counterculture in films such as The Wild Angels, The Trip, Psych-Out, Riot on Sunset Strip, and Wild in the Streets.

Avalon and Funicello reunited for 1987's inevitable Back to the Beach A they played parents, for crying out loud A and there've been periodic contemporary attempts to parody the Zeitgeist of the original beach movie, notably 1984's Surf II (duh, there wasn't a Surf I) and 1987's Surf Nazis Must Die. But the gang that mattered rode out its last wave in 1965 with Asher's swan song, How to Stuff a Wild Bikini. Of course, they're still hanging ten on video. As one of the nameless beach guys earnestly tells Avalon near the end of Beach Blanket Bingo, "You know something, Frankie -- skydiving's groovy, but let's stick to surfing."

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