Del Tenney, director of ‘Horror of Party Beach,’ dies

horror-of-party-beach

Word has reached monster movies fans of the death of director Del Tenney, who passed away in February at 82.

del tenney

Tenney produced and directed several films, including a drive-in double-feature classic, “I Eat Your Skin,” but he was best known as the director of “The Horror of Party Beach,” a grandly silly 1964 exploitation movie that was often shown on a double feature with “The Curse of the Living Corpse.”

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Tenney’s “The Horror of Party Beach” is one of those movies that could only have existed in the wild exploitation days of the 1960s, when drive-in theaters meant that even the lowest-budgeted, most ludicrous movies could be seen by millions of teenagers.

With its mix of Beach Boys-style rock and roll – courtesy of the Del Aires, who perform “The Zombie Stomp” in the movie – frantically dancing teens, beach blanket bingo and a biker gang, the movie had a little something for everyone.

Perhaps typical of a low-budget monster movie from the 1960s, “The Horror of Party Beach” seems pretty vague – or pretty confused – about what its monsters were. In the trailer alone, they’re referred to as atomic monsters, demons, the living dead and zombies. Huh?

horror party beach curse corpse double

The ads for the “Party Beach” and “Living Corpse” double-feature were among those that warned that, in order to see the movie, viewers had to release the theater from liability in the case moviegoers died from shock.

Tenney made his movies in the Stamford, Conn., area, and years after he lit up drive-in movie screens he made a (legitimate) name for himself, according to online obituaries, as a leading light in live theater. Henry Fonda made his last stage appearance in a production at the company that Tenney shepherded.

Here’s to Del Tenney. Our drive-in nightmares were better because of him.

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