Modern Pulp Jan 24 2009
BLOOD AND SAND
28 years ago today Blood Beach was released. But why?

Time: circa 1980.

Place: the offices of Compass International Pictures.

People: CIP execs, several potential third party investors, and writer/director Jeffrey Bloom.

Pitch: Bloom has explained the premise of his film. He’s said it’s Jaws, but on the sand. It’s the anti-Jaws, on the anti-ocean. But it’s better than Jaws because it shows what a hollow conceit it was to assume the ocean was even reachable. What arrogance. What hubris. “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water,” Bloom says, tossing out what he hopes to use as the film’s tagline, “you can’t get to it!”

Reaction: The money men nod. All of this is of merely passing interest, because they don’t care about anything but profit, truth be told. These are the same people who just produced the theatrical release Roller Boogie. If they can get a good movie for their investment, okay, because who wouldn’t want to hear “And the winner is Blood Beach!” at the next Academy Awards? But mainly they just want to make money.

One of them says, “It sounds good, Jeffrey, but we’re worried about the special effects budget. These monster movies, they all want the moon for budget and most of it seems to go into the effects. Spielberg spent millions on that mechanical fish. He could have made eight, maybe nine percent more profit by cutting back on the fish, maybe used a rubber fish, know what I mean? But these artist types, you can’t tell them anything. So, without putting too fine a point on it—exactly how much is this vicious sand monster going to cost us?”

Response: Bloom is ready for this moment. He’s replayed it in his mind a hundred times. It’s crucial now to get the wording precise. He says, “Nothing—because you never really see it.

Result: Shellshocked silence at having bathed in the pure white light of genius, except for one money man, who makes a slurping sound as he wipes away the saliva that’s started to trickle from the corner of his mouth. And then, in unison, the money men scream: “It’s a go! Make it hap’n cap’n! What are we, paying you by the hour? Haven’t you left yet? Go go go!

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
July 23
1984—Miss America Resigns
Vanessa Williams, who had been crowned Miss America and was the first African American woman to win the prize, resigns her title after Penthouse magazine purchases and slates for publication a series of lesbian-themed nudes Williams had posed for when she was younger. After resigning she files a $500 million lawsuit against Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione but later drops the suit.
July 22
1992—Cocaine Baron Escapes Prison
Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria, imprisoned leader of the Medellin drug cartel, escapes from a posh Colombian jail known as La Catedral after he learns authorities intend to move him to a real prison. His taste of freedom doesn't last—he's killed in a shootout a year-and-a-half later.
July 21
1925—Jury Decides the Teaching of Evolution Is a Crime
In the famous Scopes Monkey Trial, American schoolteacher John Scopes is found guilty of violating the Butler Act, which forbids the teaching of evolution in schools. The sensational trial pits two great legal minds—William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow—against each other. Ultimately, Scopes and Darrow are destined to lose because the case rests on whether Scopes had violated the Act, not whether evolution is fact.
1969—First Humans Reach the Moon
Neil Armstrong and Eugene 'Buzz' Aldrin, Jr. become the first humans to walk on the moon. The third member of the mission, command module Pilot Michael Collins, remains in orbit in Apollo 11.
1972—Chaos in the Big Apple
In New York City, within a span of twenty-four hours, fifty-seven murders are committed.
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