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Psycho Beach Party

Rated [R], 94 minutes
Starring Lauren Ambrose
Screenplay by Charles Busch, based on his play
Directed by Robert Lee King

IN SHORT: Movies this bad are why God invented Percocet.

There's a reason Hollywood stopped making beach party movies back around 1963 or 1964. . .

They sucked.

There's a reason why the gay community has embraced the beach movie as a kind of icon . . .

ah, hell no, that's too easy.

Actually, it was the Beatles and the rest of the Brit rockers that killed the beach movie. On a totally different tangent, it was Charles Busch who made a name himself outside of the New York gay community for his onstage female impersonations back in the 1980s. Busch steps aside to let a biologically correct female play the lead in Psycho Beach Party, a kitchen sink mish-mash of beach movies and bad 1950s horror/terror flicks. Whatever made the play popular downtown has made it to the screen, we guess. While Busch's rep may have gotten recognition outside of the East Village, drag humor is still drag humor. An acquired taste.

The flick follows the beach genre strictly. Would be popular babe Florence Forest (Lauren Ambrose) desperately wants to hang out with the coolest guys on the beach, the surfers. All that's holding her back is a flat chest and an inability to surf. When she goes to the reigning king of the beach, the Great Kanaka (Thomas Gibson) , he laughs at her flatness. Which triggers a schizophrenic personality change, from Flo to Anne Bowman, which Kanaka likes.

Do you think it's possible that Flo, psycho that she obviously is, is responsible for the slasher killings down at the Drive-In, where The Pizza Waitress with Three Heads starring Bettina Barnes (Kimberly Davies) is playing? Police Detective Monica Stark (Charles Busch), the first female homicide detective in LA is . . . suspicious.

Flo, accepted by the surf bums, is renamed "Chick-let" and gets to cheer the boys on as they ride the waves and wrestle manfully on the beach. And while Chicklet waits for her breasts to pop, Yo-Yo and Provoloney are trying out peignoirs found in Bettina's closet (the film star is hiding out at the beach, y'see) prancing about like . . . ah the hell with this.

Yes, the gay audience I watched this flick with was busting a gut with almost every line. Busch has packed his flick with double entendre and homoeroticism and a ton of jokes that sound like they've been written in code. Some jokes are universal. None of the ones in Psycho Beach Party are.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Psycho Beach Party, he would have paid...

$0.00

I had gay friends, may they rest in peace, who would have been hysterical at this monstrosity. Maybe the afterlife has a direct satellite connection?

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