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.
October 22
1926—Houdini Fatally Punched in Stomach
After a performance in Montreal, Hungarian-born magician and escape artist Harry Houdini is approached by a university student named J. Gordon Whitehead, who asks if it is true that Houdini can endure any blow to the stomach. Before Houdini is ready Whitehead strikes him several times, causing internal injuries that lead to the magician's death.
October 21
1973—Kidnappers Cut Off Getty's Ear
After holding Jean Paul Getty III for more than three months, kidnappers cut off his ear and mail it to a newspaper in Rome. Because of a postal strike it doesn't arrive until November 8. Along with the ear is a lock of hair and ransom note that says: "This is Paul’s ear. If we don’t get some money within 10 days, then the other ear will arrive. In other words, he will arrive in little bits." Getty's grandfather, billionaire oilman Jean Paul Getty, at first refused to pay the 3.2 million dollar ransom, then negotiated it down to 2.8 million, and finally agreed to pay as long as his grandson repaid the sum at 4% interest.
October 20
1947—HUAC Hearings Begin
The House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood, resulting in a witch hunt that destroys lives, ruins careers, and makes Senator Joseph McCarthy the most feared politician of the era.
1968—Jackie Kennedy Marries
Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy marries Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis. The marriage comes as a total surprise to the American public, and results in a terrible backlash against her and also makes her the number one target of paparazzi for years.
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