Mermaid Island Theater is proud to present three movies from cult favorite director, Jeffery Zacks. Friday night we will be showing Beach Party Harlot (1967), followed by Beach Party Swingers (1968) on Saturday Afternoon and concluding with Beach Party from Beyond! (1972) this Saturday night.
Jeffery Zacks, whose real name was Jerry Ferkowichman, was a native of Mermaid Island who went to Hollywood and made a name for himself working for Russ Meyer. Jeffery wanted to make his own movies so he convinced the city council of Mermaid Island to give him tax credits that would let him film here. He promised that he would make a film that showed the best of Mermaid Island and would make the world take notice of this little small town.
What Jeffery actually created was an hour and a half of jiggling breasts, ludicrous excuses for women to lose their swimsuits and some rather creative sand sculptures that emphasized the female form. Starring Jeffery’s first wife, the luscious Linda Zacks, Beach Party Harlot chronicled the wacky hijinks of college kids getting naked and wet. Most of the cast were untrained actors and rumors have it that it featured the younger generation of actual Mermaid Island Inhabitants.
The movie was banned in 40 states for “promoting unhealthy promiscuous feelings in the youth” by the Surgeon General. Cardinal Mice in New York led a very public burning of the film and the famous breast oriented posters. The Hollywood press called it the new Plan 9 from Outer space.
It was a huge box office hit. The Mermaid Island City Council was in the process of suing Jeffery X for slander when the first wave of tourists came in and turned the tiny island into a boom town. The lawsuit was dropped and Jeffery was invited to make a second film.
Things to watch for in Beach Party Harlot!
- For fun, count how many hands are groping Linda during the suntan lotion scene!
- Keep an eye out for the busty blonde who gets a sunburn. That’s Susan Holder, our very own Mermaid Island senior librarian!
- The sand sculpture of the giant breasts has a real topless woman lying in the cleavage. Most people miss her because of the giant sand breasts!
- All of the underwater scenes were filmed at a local hotel pool. You can see the colored tiles beneath the swimmer’s feet!
- Linda Zacks spends 74 minutes of this 90 minutes film topless.
Jeffery went right to work on Beach Party Swingers where he turned the focus from young college kids getting naked to hot married couples getting naked. It starred Mary Bender and Robert Davids as two newlyweds who get inducted into the ridiculously large swinger scene at Mermaid Island in between cookouts and losing swimsuits. Once again most of the cast were untrained actors but current Mermaid Island residents insists that the naked amorous people featured were all out of towners.
Things to watch for in Beach Party Swingers!
- During the opening credits, you can see famous Mermaid Island landmark, the Bikini Bar, which opened that very summer!
- The unnamed redhead with the submissive husband was actually played by a pair of twins! You can tell them apart because one twin’s left breast is bigger than the other while the other twin’s right breast is bigger than the left.
- Partway through the film, the Lifeguard is played by an entirely different actor yet is supposed to be the same character.
- During the wife-swapping barbecue, a real life couple was having sex on top of the dune to the left. They were apparently not noticed until after filming had been completed and were never edited out.
- Mary Bender is topless for 85 minutes in this 94 minute film.
Beach Party Swingers was another big hit. It broke box office records for drive-in theaters and adult theaters. Jeffery was blacklisted from Hollywood but he was having too much fun to care.
He went to work on Beach Party Jubilee in 1969 but halted production one week in. Jeffery suffered a nervous breakdown and insisted that the beach itself had commanded him to stop making movies. He left Mermaid Island and moved to Brazil where he filmed movies for the South American grindhouse industry.
In 1972, Jeffery got a divorce and moved back to the United States. With a minimum film crew and just his own money, he began work on Beach Party from Beyond! The Mermaid Island City Council granted him permission because they were desperate to cash in on that sweet sexploitation tourist money.
The movie Jeffery produced was a surprise to everyone. Filmed only at night, it tells an incoherent story of a nude woman, played by starlet Patricia Waters, who stumbles into a midnight party of strange beings. These strange beings wear grotesque rubber masks and no two look alike. A series of bizarre and nearly psychedelic incidents occur until finally the party ends in a burst of light. When the light fades, everyone is gone except for a life like sand sculpture of Patricia’s character.
Beach Party from Beyond was a flop when it was released but future generations have come to appreciate the mysterious film. Jeffery sadly died shortly after the film was made from a drowning accident and didn’t live long enough to see his cult status secured.
Things to watch for in Beach Party from Beyond!
- Some of the strange beings appear to have three very realistic looking arms.
- Patricia Waters has a mole on her left breast that is in a different place in every scene.
- At one point the strange beings sing a song that is utter nonsense but weirdly hypnotic. It is at the sixty-six minute mark so be sure to not to be using the restroom when it happens! It is weird as crap.
- At the end of the movie, stick around for the end credits where Jeffery forgoes giving any credits and just writes a long rant about how the water at Mermaid Island will one day drown us all.
- Patricia Waters is topless for 96 minutes of this 99 minute long film.
Come in a bikini or swimtrunks and tickets are half-price!