‘Psycho Beach Party’ is a Wacky Comedic Romp (review)

Florence (Lauren Ambrose) is a teenage girl who wants to be a surfer. Despite protests from the all-male surfers, big kahuna the Great Kanaka (Thomas Gibson) teaches her. Things become complicated when Florence discovers she has two split personalities; soon her friends and acquaintances start dying off. Is it Florence’s sinister side? Her suspicious mother (Beth Broderick)? Her best friend Berdeen (Danni Wheeler)? Her love interest Starcat (Nicholas Brendon)? Mean girl Rhonda (Kathleen Robinson)? Actress in hiding Bettina (Kimberley Davies)? Foreign exchange student Lars (Matt Keeslar)? It’s up to Captain Monica Stark (Charles Busch) to crack the case, and everyone else to surf—and not get killed.

Look, it’s Amy Adams!

I enjoy parodies, and from what I understand of beach movies, this one nails it, from the goofy names to the goofy slang. Mores of the fifties and sixties are examined and heartily parodied, from sexual repression to generational differences. Gender roles are mocked and defied, with Berdeen being the smartest person in the movie and Florence’s sassy alter egos bossing around every man they see. One particularly interesting one is Anne, a fierce dominatrix who spouts lines like these: “Bad boys get spanked! Bad boys get tortured!” and “I’m no chick. I’m a goddess! And the first thing I’m gonna sacrifice is your balls, Sonny!”


It’s written by Charles Busch, an actor/writer who often performs in drag, as in this movie. The crux of the movie centers around Florence’s rampaging heterosexuality, but there is a gay surfer couple, and Berdeen is easily construed as gay.


The performances are great, particularly Ambrose as Florence. The surfing scenes look blatantly unrealistic, which matches the corny tone.

He makes it look so easy!

Published by GhoulieJoe

I wuvs the horror movies and like to write snarky reviews about them. I also included some pretentious as hell microfiction (don't worry, it's at the bottom).

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