One part throwback to 1960’s Beach Party movies, another part slasher film, with a plentiful helping of “drag humor” to boot, Psycho Beach Party is a pop culture cocktail that isn’t going to go down easy for everyone. Although, the Los Straitjackets backed soundtrack will probably help those in need.
The film is over a decade old, foreshadowing cult cinema’s ever growing need to pay homage to its drive-in roots. Long before Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez got took their trip to the “Grindhouse.” And while it might not have the polish of their B-movie homages, it’s low budget nature makes it all the more authentic in recreating the look of a 60’s beach film.
The story follows the happy but insane surfer girl, Florence “Chicklet” Forrest (Lauren Ambrose) as she bums around the beach with her pals (including Nicholas Branden and Amy Adams). Unfortunately for her, a serial killer is slicing his way through the surf scene quicker than you can say “Wipe Out.” Can Chicklet conquer 1960’s sexism, the waves, and find true love? Why does that lady cop look so much like a man? Does any of it really matter? The answer is not really. This is the kind of lighter than air entertainment that you’ll likely forget moments after you view it.
It’s not for everyone either. While I find it to be an enjoyable flick, it’s high camp tone is likely to annoy those looking for a subdued form of entertainment. The dialogue is extremely silly, the sets look fake, and the murder scenes are barely glimpsed at. But all of that is likely on purpose. You’ll either dig it or you won’t. A lot of that depends on how many times you watched Vincent Price’s, Dr. Goldfoot movies as a kid. If you’re following that vibe, then by all means, rent this bad girl, daddy-o!