All Things September: Byron Haskin’s “September Storm”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWelcome to our newest feature, “All Things (insert month here)”, in where during the last 15 days of each month I’ll try to see as many films as I can which feature the name of the month in the title. It’s September, so time to give my two cents on Byron Haskin‘s 1960 B picture, Stereo Vision. Oops, I mean September Storm.

Ahoy matey, and welcome aboard the 1960s B movie vessel known as the SS September Storm. Now, as much as I want to invite you to stay, I can’t wholeheartedly do so until I have first given you some proper cautionary warnings as to what awaits you once on board.

First off, everything will be shown to you in STEREO VISION. For the uninformed, that means colors will be washed-out, static background noises will be noticeably audible, and a general air of dull suckiness will encompass all that your eyes see.

Secondly, those climbing aboard this film are willfully consenting to go along with whatever the director’s Captain’s idea of a sea adventure is. Here that means a foursome of actors trying – and failing – to do their best line readings through an abundance of stagnating scenes where such usual fun water activities like scuba diving, boating, and treasure hunting are stripped of all their luster, thus having all the appeal of spending a secluded weekend with a stuttering property law enthusiast.

Oh, I forgot to mention the dress code. Nobody, and I do mean nobody, is allowed aboard this ship(wreck) without the proper uniform. Not to worry though, the wardrobe department has gathered the latest in awkwardly fitting and uncomfortable homoerotic attire. For the men we have snug fitting pantless wetsuits with g-string attachments. And for added comfort, because a g-string wetsuit isn’t comfortable enough, you’re going to want to throw on a pair of boxer shorts underneath. Now be sure to hike up those boxers way over your bellybutton. There, isn’t that comfortable? Talk about a dry butt hole – instead of one material being crammed up your buttocks, now you have two. Nothing will be getting up there.

By now you have to be wondering what the point of the September Storm is. Why should you board this movie? Well, having been on this ship once, that’s something I too have been wondering. Very briefly, here’s the point: Four adults are on a yacht in search of buried gold coins. There’s the caretaker of the yacht whose pretending he actually owns the boat in order to win the affection of a beautiful brunette, who he will later “in good fun” try to rape. Then there’s two shifty sea men (haha, I said seamen) who, knowing that the ship doesn’t rightfully belong to the caretaker, persuade the woman to convince the caretaker to let them take the ship out to sea in order to find a chest full of buried booty. Speaking of booty (how’s that for a demeaning sexist segue?), I almost forgot to mention the brunette’s role in all this. Well, what’s a woman to do? This is 1960 after all, and for the most part women existed in movies such as these just to be eye candy, and to give the men something to fight about. I mean it’s not like it is today, where women have an abundance of diverse and empowering roles to choose from. Sarcasm? Anybody?

Ultimately, this film isn’t quite bad enough to fall into the so bad it’s good territory, yet it also isn’t nearly good enough to be deemed watchable entertainment. Do yourself a favor; stay on dry land and avoid boarding this movie if ever you see it sailing your way.

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