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Cult Classic Horror Film Made In Stamford Was 'So Bad It's Good'

Del Tenney, a onetime Stamford resident, directed the cult classic "The Horror of Party Beach."
Del Tenney, a onetime Stamford resident, directed the cult classic "The Horror of Party Beach." Photo Credit:

STAMFORD, Conn. — The radioactive sea monsters have been reawakened. The Stamford Historical Society plans to show "The Horror of Party Beach" on Friday, a cult classic from 1964 that many say was “so bad it was good.”

Directed by Stamford resident Del Tenney, who established a legacy in film with several low-budget horror/exploitation films in the 1960s, the film features a cast of radioactive sea monsters. They wreak havoc at beach party to the sounds of rock n’ roll music.

Many still love the film even though it was filmed five decades ago.

“The horror sequences aren’t too bad for a low budget movie in the early 60s,” said Brian Walker, of Brian’s Drive-in Theatre, a website devoted to B-Movies.

But Walker said considering the film’s low budget, the fact that people still talk about it is “amazing.”

The film was the brainchild of Tenney and Alan Iselin, who owned drive-in theaters in the 1960s. Iselin said beach party and horror movies were popular in the at the time.

His film was no exception. Iselin remembers enthusiastic moviegoers showing up for midnight showings.

“It became a fun thing,” Iselin said. “People got dressed up in costumes.”

Others watched the film in the comfort and security of their own homes.

“A lot of people my age saw it on TV when were children,” Walker said. “From a child’s perspective, it’s a fairly effective horror film.”

Walker said he does remember being frightened by the movie as a child. He watched it the night before the Daily Voice interviewed him.

The movie still gave him a few scares, Walker said.

“There is still a scene or two that would make you jump,” he said.

Iselin said he is seeking distributors for a new version of "The Horror of Party Beach." But he said selling one could be difficult.

“It’s not an easy thing to do given the slash and burn movies that are out there,” he said.

Still, Iselin said he has reviewed many promising scripts.

“We have some great scripts that are very funny,” he said, adding that part of the original movie’s success was due to the fact that people could laugh at it while still being scared.

With a little luck and funding, perhaps Iselin will be able to reawaken those seas monsters once more.

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