Psycho Beach Party

Director: Robert Lee King

USA - 2000

Hoff! Hoff! Hoff! Hoff!


For the benefit of those with a short attention span...

Psycho Beach Party is an attempt to recreate and lampoon the beach party horror films from the days of yore. Thought-provoking satire, witty dialogue, sharp humor – these are all qualities Psycho Beach Party lacks.

The Guilty Party

Lauren Ambrose plays Chicklet Forrest – a girl struggling with her gender, boys in general, girls in general, the fact tEat your heart out, George Lucas!hat girls aren’t supposed to surf, and a minor case of delusional schizophrenia. She acts nave and silly for the most part, but when another personality takes over, wackiness ensues: naughty words, blunt sexual connotations, and jive talking. Look! That white girl is talking jive! Har har.

Danni Wheeler plays Berdine – Chicklet’s best friend before she started hanging out with the surfer crowd. Has a secret crush on Chicklet, but is considered unattractive because of her glasses. I always love it when they put glasses on an attractive girl to create the "ugly" look. Such a masterful make-over.

Thomas Gibson plays Kanaka – the resident surf legend who always talks in rhyme (anyone besides myself remember Wordsworth?). Falls for one of Chicklet’s alter-egos.

Nicholas Brendon plays Starcat – a surfer in Kanaka’s gang, and Chicklet’s love interest.

Kimberley Davies plays Bettina - a former b-movie star who befriends our surfing heroes and resides in a beachside haunted house.

Matt Keeslar plays Lars – a Swedish exchange student who lives at the Forrest home. You can tell he’s foreign because of his unbelievably thick accent and lack of knowledge pertaining to American social skills (i.e. common sense). Why, look! They're HOMOSEXUALS!

Charles Busch plays Captain Monica Stark – the police chief in charge of investigating the rash of bizarre murders that have been plaguing the beach. As the two names imply, Captain Stark is obviously a man dressing up as woman. Why? Because it’s "funny."

Nick Cornish and Andrew Levitas play (respectively) Yo Yo and Provoloney – two more surfers from Kanaka’s gang. They look macho and tough, but are riddled with sexual ambiguity. That’s "funny" too. The name "Provoloney" is probably a reference to the character being Italian. Again, "funny."

Beth Broderick plays Mrs. Forrest – Chicklet’s Mom. Prim and proper on the outside, but sexual repression is about to make her explode.

The Killer - unfortunately, not Chow Yun-Fat. Has a thing against the handicapped. When identity is revealed, severe disappointment rears its ugly head.

My "thoughts" on the film. Thinking! Ha!

Spoofs are a tough genre to tackle. If done correctly, the humor can be razor-sharp, the criticism poignant. Heck, if you’re really good, you can even sneak a message in there. But for every positive there is (at the very least) one negative. In other words, if done poorly, spoofs can suck eggs. Psycho Beach This is just *begging* for a punParty, unfortunately, falls into the latter category. It tries to be funny. It tries to be sharp. It tries to be satirical. It fails.

For one thing, the damn movie just isn’t funny. I can count on one hand the number of times I laughed. Actually, "laugh" may prove too strong a word. "Chuckle" might suffice. Not an open-mouth chuckle, mind you. More along the lines of a couple casual snickers. Did I miss something? Am I wrong to think that spoofs are supposed to be, at the very least, humorous? Psycho Beach Party, instead, substitutes humor with dullness, a lack of action, and an abundance of unfunny jokes. Trust me, I know what isn't funny.

The predominant gag of the film are the not-so-subtle homosexual overtones. Again, if applied correctly, this could have provided some great gags. Some serious knee-slappers. I mean, think of all those Frankie Avalon and "Skippy" Funicello movies where the girls were ga-ga for the guys, and the guys were ga-ga in return. There was no gray matter, only black and white. Well, what if Frankie didn’t fall for Annette? Instead, maybe he had a thing for Cubby? That would"Golly! I hope that's not *my* career being flushed down the toilet!" surely add a bit of friction during Beach Blanket Bingo. In this film, however, said overtones are executed ham-handedly. King beats the viewer over the head. Look! These two guys are always wrestling each other, even when a hot chick is running around in a bikini! They’re HOMOSEXUALS! Oh, you don’t get it yet? Ok, we’ll add yet another guy to the equation who sprays the sparring couple with baby oil as they grapple. They’re HOMOSEXUALS, I tell ya! Actually, the baby oil bit was kind of a hoot. But only a minor hoot.

And though I may not be the most politically-correct guy in the world, I have to admit that I was a little offended by the film’s portrayal of Lars. Over the course of many years I have had the privilege of hosting several exchange students in my home. We’ve had Swiss pDon't askeople who know nothing about cheese; we’ve housed Japanese people who have had little to no interaction with Gamera; and we even had Germans who despised David Hasselhoff! Can you believe it? They hated David Hasselhoff! But in all fairness, I’m probably going a little overboard on my dislike of Lars; I think it stems from all the experiences I’ve had with my fellow Americans asking the aforementioned exchange students stupid questions. Once, during Driver’s Ed., some moron asked the Swiss kid, "Do they have cars in Switzerland?" to which Achille replied, "No, we ride goats." Man, people never cease to amaze me.

Two words: No monsters. Let me get this straight, a group of teens (not actually teens, but they play them on TV) frolicking, partying, and dancing (poorly) on the beach - but no monster? No radioactive mutant rising from the depths to seek its revenge against the pollutant-riddled society that spawned it? ExactlyNo hockey-masked freak running around hacking up fornicating young ‘uns with a cuisinart? No crazed alligator/shark/whatever picking off young surfers from the waves? What’s going on around here?! Who ever heard of a beach-themed horror movie that doesn’t feature some kind of menacing beastie? And not only do they lack a creature, but they replace the necessary abomination with one of the worst killers that comes to recent memory. When you finally discover the perpetrator of the film’s nefarious deeds, you too will be severely disappointed.

So, if you’re looking for a throwback to the good ole days of beach movies, or perhaps a horror movie, or even a nutty spoof, with Psycho Beach Party, you’ll be barking up the wrong tree. It’s not scary, has no nostalgic value, and perhaps most importantly, it’s not funny. Not at all.

I was going to make a joke about head, but this is a family-oriented site



These are the times of which to cherish...

- Mrs. Forrest preaches throughout the film about how women are supposed to stay home, clean laundry and indulge in needlepoint, yet towards the end, she throws all of her domestic morals out the window for a tryst with Lars. So first she’s the model of domestic tranquility, then suddenly she’s running around in nothing but a bra trying to tackle the Swedish stud. Irony! Komedy! Oh, my sides!

- Is that a testicle in his mouth?!

Words to live by:

"Just look at these urine stains! They may never come out completely!"

"There are ghosts, all right. I feel it in my nuts."

Q: "Are you incognito?"

A: "No, I’m German-Irish!", spend some of your hard-earned cash!

You don't want to buy this crap anyway

This has a beach in it!

This has a beach in it, too!


-- Copyright 2000 by J. Bannerman


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Dancing Girl During Credits? Indeed!