Back in the 1950s and ’60s, toxic waste could do anything: mutate animals to hundreds of times their size, give people super-human powers and, in the case of camp classic The Horror of Party Beach, turn submerged skeletons into killer Muppets. Apparently, it can even make crude racial stereotypes into heroes…sort of. The role of Eulabelle (Eulabelle Moore), one of the few significant black characters to be found in horror movies of the era, is remarkably un-evolved from the maids and mammies of three decades earlier. She’s not only a maid and a mammy, but also a superstitious spook and an all-around halfwit.
Eulabelle’s boss is Dr. Gavin (Allan Laurel), a doctor of ambiguous pedigree whose area of specialty appears to be condescension. He puts his degree to good use when Eulabelle suggests that the 30-something “girl” who was killed earlier in the day was the victim of voodoo. “Now, that’s ridiculous, Eulabelle,” he chides her. “I want you to get this idea of voodoo out of your head. I have no doubt we’ll find a perfectly reasonable explanation for the girl’s death.” The “reasonable explanation”, of course, turns out to be atomic sea monsters.
Later, with all the grace and couth of a hippo, Eulabelle bursts into the doc’s lab as he and his team are examining a monster’s severed arm. “What all you doin’ sneaking an’ peekin’ in the dark?” she shouts, then explains her appearance: “It’s so quiet up there in the house. I get scared by myself all alone at night.” Just when you think the white folk are fixin’ to chuck her into the woodpile, though, her imbecile-dom starts to pay off. When she sees the monster’s arm in the lab, she screams “Oh lawd!” and knocks a beaker of sodium onto it, inadvertently discovering the beasts’ Achilles heel.
Later, in full mammy mode, Eulabelle chips in by delivering a “Win one for the Gipper” speech to encourage our hero Hank, who’s been calling sodium suppliers without luck. “You got to try, Mr. Hank. C’mon!” she exclaims. He follows her advice and — voila — immediately finds a supplier. THEN, she gives Dr. Gavin the idea (again, unwittingly) that the quarry could be the home base of the monsters…which it, of course, is. So, the good ol’ lynch mob goes down there and kills ’em all. Yee-haw! And what does old Eulabelle get for saving the day? Er…suffrage?