Blood Beach (1980)

Sure, Jaws was frightening. But now, “just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…you can’t get to it!”

A woman walks her dog along the beach before she is pulled under the sand by an unseen creature. Her screams alert Harry Caluder, a harbor patrol office who is swimming in the ocean. He reports her disappearance to LAPD detectives Royko (Burt Young, Amityville II: The Possession) and Pianadosi, who can do nothing without a body.

The woman’s estranged daughter, Catherine (Marianna Hill, Messiah of Evil) calls Henry about her mother. Even after she finds a dog with a severed head, no one can figure out what has happened. The cops believe that a serial killer is at large, but much like the aforementioned Jaws, the powers that be want them to keep a lid on it after the media starts using the term “Blood Beach.”

Aftar another attack on a teenage girl, Captain Pearson (John Saxon, making every movie better just by his presense) begins digging up the beach to discover the killer.

Meanwhile, Hoagy (no, not Michael Caine, but a co-worker of Henry) is closing the harbor patrol when a man attacks his girlfriend. She knocks the rapist to the ground and the creature castrates the man. And then the beach devours Marie, the French stewardess who lives with Henry, leaving only her hat and an eyeball.

Oh yeah — Harry and Catherine used to be lovers and now try to reconcile.

Finally, someone survives an attack, a man who was using a metal detector on the beach. However, he’s in shock and unable to explain what happened. And when Hoagy tries to warn Mrs. Selden, who has watched the murders throughout the film, he’s pulled under while she simply looks on.

Catherine decides to investigate the access tunnel to the beach where they found the survivor. She discovers the remains of every victim as Captain Pearson installs motion detectors, cameras and explosives all over the beach. Soon, a giant worm emerges and the cops blow it up real good.

That said — Dr. Dimitrios believes that because its a worm, it can regenerate. With small sinkholes showing up all over the beach, he just might be right.

Blood Beach does what we expect from Jaws but inverts the danger. There’s some fine character work by Burt Ward, Marianna Hill is as lovely as ever and there are plenty of monster attacks to keep everyone in suspense. It’s not the finest in horror, but it’ll do once a few beers have started to work themselves into your brain.

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