HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Psycho Beach Party Surfin' Slasher-thon
Year: 2000
Director: Robert Lee King
Stars: Lauren Ambrose, Thomas Gibson, Nicholas Brendon, Kimberly Davies, Matt Keeslar, Charles Busch, Beth Broderick, Danni Wheeler, Nick Cornish, Andrew Levitas, Amy Adams, Kathleen Robertson, Nathan Bexton, Buddy Quaid, Jenica Bergere, Channon Roe
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Romance, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Remember the Beach Party movies of the 1960s? Wholesome fun with surfer dudes and bikini girls, twisting away on golden sands - they were a stone-cold groove, baby! Here, Broadway satirist Charles Busch crafts a campy plot that pokes gentle fun at the halcyon days of Gidget (1958), Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965), but with a psycho-horror twist. A wild sex-kitten go-go dancing over the opening credits sets the tone as we segue into the drive-in theatre where a knife-wielding maniac slashes a moviegoer’s throat.

Elsewhere, it’s a glorious California summer for some fresh-faced teens. While dishy, beach bunny Marvel Ann (Enchanted (2007) star Amy Adams) flaunts her bikini-clad curves to lure surfer stud/ amateur psychologist Starcat (Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Nicholas Brendon), aspiring surfer-girl Florence ‘Chicklet’ Forrest (Six Feet Under’s Lauren Ambrose) wants to prove she can ride the waves. “Surfing’s a man’s domain. No minnows in the shark tank”, rebukes Starcat, but grows to respect and falls madly in love with his new surfing buddy. Poor Florence has bigger problems. In a nod to The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Crazy Mixed-Up Zombies (1964), the sight of whirling circles prompts a schizoid transformation in our lovable heroine. She becomes her foul-mouthed, psychotic alter-ego Ann Bowman.

This makes her prime suspect in a string of murders investigated by Captain Monica Stark (Charles Busch in drag) and Officer Cookie (Jenica Bergere). Someone is killing people who are physically ‘imperfect’: a girl with a hair lip, a boy with one testicle, a nasty disabled girl (Kathleen Robertson). Is Florence the culprit? Or maybe it’s her mom, Ruth Forrest (Beth Broderick) who has a secret to hide? Or surf legend the Great Kanaka (Thomas Gibson), who so turned on by Ann Bowman he can’t help triggering Florence’s psychotic episodes. Meanwhile, Florence’s intellectually inclined gal pal Berdine (Danni Wheeler) becomes girl Friday to Hollywood sex kitten Bettina Barnes (Kimberley Davies), star of such films as “Tarantula Queen of Hoboken” and “Sex Kittens Go Bossa Nova”. The gang gather for a wild party at Bettina’s pad, where the killer is set to strike…

Psycho Beach Party is an absolute hoot, chockfull of lovable characters and pithy, quotable dialogue (“Some people were born to die”; “Her alibi is as tight as Sandra Dee’s butt”; “It’s an existential fate worse than death!”). With luaus, love triangles and surf showdowns evoking all the Beach Party clichés, Charles Busch and director Robert Lee King (who went on to write offbeat teen comedy: Slap Her, She’s French (2002)) also craft a silly, yet engrossing murder mystery, with touches of John Waters-style, sexual perversity. Two buff, surfer buddies play-wrestle a little too enthusiastically; Mrs. Forrest tries her best to seduce Lars (Matt Keeslar) the hunky, foreign exchange student; and Florence and Berdine’s “best friends forever” speech nearly leads to a lesbian kiss.

Buffy veteran Nicholas Brendan knows his way around a snappy one-liner, but star of the show is undoubtedly Lauren Ambrose. Switching from wide-eyed, adorable Florence to vamp it up magnificently as Ann Bowman, she even pulls off a tertiary persona in sassy, black chick Tylene. It’s a tour de force that renders this a potential cult film classic. The film is full of incidental pleasures like the opening pastiche of Attack of the 50ft Woman, former Neighbours actress Kimberly Davies impersonating Mamie Van Doren, her go-go dance showdown with the excellent Amy Adams, and a chance to hear Beth Broderick, that nice aunt from Sabrina the Teenage Witch, scream: “You mother****ing ****suckers!”

Even the romance and Florence’s traumatic past prove affecting. Which makes it all the more unfortunate that Busch and King spoil things with a faintly mean-spirited, double-twist climax. Still, it’s a rare instance where a “gotcha” ending almost redeems things, plus you can savour the killer’s crazed confession (“I was born into a family of freaks! My mother was blind, my father was deaf, my sisters were midgets!”). What would you expect from the author of the hit play “Vampire Lesbians of Sodom”?
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 5305 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Darren Jones
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: