Beach Babes from Beyond Review
Beach Babes from Beyond’s single achievement is its cast list. This is a film which finds room for a Travolta, a Stallone, a Swayze and an Estevez, though maybe not the ones you’re thinking of. Here you’ll find Joey Travolta (younger brother of John), Jackie Stallone (mother of Sylvester), Don Swayze (younger brother of Patrick) and Joe Estevez (younger brother of Martin Sheen, uncle to Charlie and Emilio) – it’s the kind of star wattage through osmosis rivalled only by those Richard Simmons’ fitness videos for senior citizens which gathered together the parents of various big names: Sal Pacino, Harry Hoffman, Pauline Fawcett and Jackie Stallone (once again).
The film marked a new side-project for producer Charles Band. Beach Babes from Beyond was the first release from Torchlight Entertainment, which would focus on “non-violent, very erotic fantasies” made directly for the video market. The intention was to put out approximately nine or ten pictures a year, although fortunes seemed to have dwindled; alongside Beach Babes from Beyond and its sequel, Band produced Huntress, Blonde Heaven, Test Tube Teens from the Year 2000 and little else. They were an odd mix – ranging from Beauty and the Beast-inspired erotica to high school sex comedy – with Beach Babes from Beyond taking on the 1960s beach movie popularised by Gidget, Beach Party and their numerous offspring.
In its favour, Beach Babes from Beyond at least recreates the innocence of those earlier movies. It isn’t interested in parodying and taking the piss out of this particular subgenre (unlike, say, 2000’s Psycho Beach Party) and, as such, there’s no snark or malice involved. Certainly, it’s fully aware of its own ridiculousness – the crux of the plot is that three blonde aliens stage a bikini contest in order to prevent Estevez from losing his beach hut – but then that’s also true of the vast majority of Band’s output. The problem is that it’s all far too slim to sustain even a 74-minute running time and so director David DeCoteau (operating under the pseudonym Ellen Cabot) feels the need to pad out the picture with seemingly endless bikinis-and-bottoms montages and the obligatory sex scenes. Cult movie favourite Linnea Quigley pops up in a supporting role to leaven the boredom (as does former boy wonder Burt Ward) but it’s not enough. Indeed, even the novelty of all those siblings wears off once you realise how much of a slog Beach Babes from Beyond proves to be.
Beach Babes from Beyond is the seventh entry in 88 Films’ Grindhouse Collection. Unfortunately, it’s also the weakest in terms of both the film itself and its presentation. Blighted by an NTSC-PAL transfer, the image is interlaced, a touch on the soft side and suffers from some excessive haloing. Admittedly the picture quality was never great to begin with – there is heavy use of filters to make the picture look a lot sunnier than it really was – but this only makes things worse. The soundtrack, meanwhile, is a DD2.0 affair that comes across well enough though no doubt has to contend with limitations in the original. There are no optional subtitles, for the hard-of-hearing or otherwise.
Extras include 17 minutes of extended scenes consisting of saucier material than that which made the final cut. We also get a VideoZone ‘making of’ featurette (totalling 15 minutes) that both introduces the Torchlight Entertainment range and takes us on set. Plus there are a host of trailers for Beach Babes from Beyond and other Charles Band-related titles.