Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"Psycho Beach Party": spoof of Gidget, of slasher films, and of body shaving in a BluRay re-release from Strand of the 2000 film (1987 play)

Psycho Beach Party” (directed by Robert Lee King, 2000) is obviously first a spoof of the 60s Gidget-movies, spiced with old horror film conventions that don’t quite add up.  It also has a little of the “in your check” style of a few (subsequent) “horror” films by David DeCoteau on Phase-4 (check label).  Th film is based on a 1987 play by Charles Busch.
Actually set in Malibu in the 1960s, the story concerns Florence Forrest (Lauren Ambrose), the first female surfer (which I doubt), who becomes “Chicklet”.  She seems to have a personality disorder (maybe fitting into the environment at NIH in 1962 that I’ve written about as my own experience).  In time, a few gruesome murder victims (that is, some amputated body parts) show up “On the Beach”, or near it, and she is the prime suspect.  There is no Hitchockian subtlety.

There are plenty of male boyfriends, who practice “all that body shaving”, supposedly because competitive swimmers have to reduce water resistance (similar to what competitive cyclists have to do).  The total number of chest hairs in this movie is absolute zero (there is one character with inverted dirty triangle simulating what he misses the most).

The film opens at a drive-in, where a female villain, in a black-and-white film, acts as “The Giant Behemoth” totaling a play city.  I guess a drive-in movie sequence is a convenient way to link in a bck story. The color of the film itself is over-saturated and garish (like in “The Gang’s All Here” from the 1940s). 

The “men” include Thomas Gibson, Nicholas Brendan, and Matt Keeslar.  There is minimal “gay” intimacy toward the end. 

The film was actually shot in Australia.

The film was originally released in 2000 but only now is coming out on DVD BluRay from Strand Releasing, Aug. 18, 2015. I watched a private Vimeo screener. There had been a 2005 conventional DVD.

The official site for the DVD from Strand is here.  Strand says it is a "cult classic" and has been remastered, in its screener email.

The Richmond Triangle Players (VA) are performing the stage play this summer, link.
Picture: Provincetown, MA, last Saturday, and a Cape Cod beach scene, my trip, Aug. 2015. 


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