Ah, summertime. There’s really nothing quite like it: The smell of freshly mown grass, the sound of children playing Blind Man’s Bluff or Sly Fox while mom prepares a pitcher of ice cold lemonade to help wash away the sweltering midday heat. Chances are that if your Summers Past have looked and sounded anything like the above description then you also came of age to the steady drumbeat of classic and cheese drenched summertime cinematic offerings such as The Blob, Creature from the Black Lagoon and Tremors. These are well-loved and copiously watched films, much like that dog-eared paperback of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road or The Giver by Lois Lowry that eternally hangs out on your nightstand: Worn and weathered from all of our attention, fondness and outright love. Well Gentle Readers, it’s time to make room for a potentially new Picnic Days favorite – Director Dustin Ferguson’s (Angry Asian Murder Hornets) latest filmatic opus, The Beast Beneath.
Premiering this August 7 at 10pm Central Standard Time on WGUD-TV’s extremely popular After Hours Cinema show, The Beast Beneath has a plot delightfully ripped from the annals of other fun summer horror offerings: A record breaking earthquake impacts a tiny vacation town. That’s bad. Wanna hear something even worse? A two thousand year old prehistoric creature is let loose amongst the swells and the butter and egg men, wreaking havoc and destruction in its wake. A hero arises in the form of Billy (actor Eric Prochnau, late of Meathook Massacre 6) and his scientist sis Julie (iconic genre star Brinke Stevens, best known for the 80s classic Slumber Party Massacre). Together, this intrepid brother-sister duo set out to crack the case of the beast and write a finish to the prehistoric death and destruction that has enveloped the resort town in its reign of dreadnought terror. Wait a minute, Patient Viewers, there’s a catch in the best tradition of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws: The town’s mayor – played by the legendary Mel Novak (Game of Death, Tales of Frankenstein, Tales from the Campfire 3) – undertakes a crafty and cunning plot in order to cover up the beast’s rampage. Murray Hamilton would be proud.
“I wanted to take this opportunity to create a throwback to the 1970s made-for-TV Creature Features I loved so dearly,” proclaims director Dustin Ferguson on his Beast Beneath inspirations. “Films like Rattlers, The Savage Bees and even the drive-in hits Bog and Blood Beach served as a big inspiration for this. I only hope I managed to do that era justice.”
We here at Vents are pretty sure that Ferguson has nothing to worry about in regards to tonally capturing an era that specialized in off the hook wonkiness that would make the Wachowski Brothers look like a couple of pikers.
So set those rabbit ears due North this August 7 for the world premiere of The Beast Beneath on WGUD-TV. The host with the most – noted film historian and raconteur Lee Turner – will be our guided tour master for the proceedings and as an added bonus this broadcast will showcase a scene exclusively in 3D. If that doesn’t whet your appetite Ghouls and Gals, then I’ll forfeit my collection of EC’s Tales from the Crypt!