Day 26- A movie that is a guilty pleasure
I hate the phrase guilty pleasure. Why should I feel guilty about something that brings me pleasure? Pure nonsense! I generally think of “guilty pleasure” movies as campy films; they’re the kind of movies you watch with your closest friends and giggle over the dialogue/acting being so bad that it’s good. For this I turn to one movie more often than the others- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But I’ve written a post about that before so I’ll write about another fave campy movie, the delightful Psycho Beach Party.
It’s a total cult classic that pokes fun at 60’s beach movies and teen slasher films. Florence, a slightly unpopular teenage girl, becomes Chicklet, the first female surfer in Malibu. As she is taking lessons in cool (and lusty feelings) from the local male surfer dudes, murders are being committed around town. No one is safe and everyone is a suspect- Chicklet, her crush Starcat, her mentor Kanaka, her mother, foreign exchange student Lars, ex-movie star Bettina, dorky friend Berdine, and all Chikclet’s new surfer buds.
Easily the best part of the movie is the dialogue. It’s all old-school surfer speak: cowabunga, chick, dude, hip. The main character is nicknamed Chicklet for goodness sakes. It doesn’t get more surfer than that. Add in double entendres, deadpan humor, and spacey characters and you have hilarity. One of my favorite exchanges is between Chicklet and Starcat, and it’s a perfect example of the movie’s humor:
Chicklet: See, I have this girlfriend. I’m kinda worried about her. She has these…blackouts.
Starcat: What sort of blackouts?
Chicklet: Well, she says when she comes to she doesn’t really remember anything that happened, but… she thinks when she’s out, she’s really out, I mean, like out of her bird. Well, what do you think?
Starcat: It’s not professional to give an instant diagnosis, but I’d say she’s probably suffering from morbidly psychotic episodes of schizophrenia.
Nicholas Brendon (Starcat) has perfect delivery on the joke. It cracks me up every time.
The movie was initially written as a play by Charles Busch, who also plays Captain Monica Stark, the policewoman investigating the murders. Yes, a man is in drag to play a policewoman but you soon forget that you are watching a man dressed as a woman (mostly). The sexual tension between Stark and Kanaka (the usually straight-laced Thomas Gibson), former lovers, is palpable. Even as she is accusing him of murder she is lusting after the aging surfer. Throw in an awkward flashback sex-scene and hilarity ensues.
The supporting cast is tops. Beth Broderick (Sabrina the Teenage Witch‘s Aunt Zelda) plays Cricket’s overbearing, formerly slutty mother. Amy Adams (!!) is Marvel Ann, a local beach bunny and Chicklet’s rival for Starcat’s affections. Surfer boys T.J., Yo Yo and Provoloney (dig the names) are played by Nathan Bexton, Andrew Levitas, and Nick Cornish respectively. I love watching Levitas and Cornish hide their secret feelings for each other.
The murders are hilarious rather than frightening. One of the surfers has his single testicle cut off and shoved in his mouth. On Law and Order: SVU it would be terrifying but here it is played for laughs. I swear it’s the only time I’ve laughed at a wheelchair-bound girl being murdered- to be fair she is the town bitch and total deserving. Who like doesn’t like funny murders?
Just when you think the movie can’t get any campier, there is a cheesy surfing scene. Or someone suddenly loses her bathing suit bottom. Or there’s a ritual sacrifice of a virgin. You know, the usual.