Psycho Beauty Party (2000)
Amy Adams as: Marvel Ann
Directed by: Robert Lee King
Written by: Charles Busch
Selected Cast: Lauren Ambrose, Thomas Gibson, Nicholas Brendan
Release Date: January 21, 2000 (Sundance Film Festival)
Genre: Comedy / Horror / Mystery
MPAA Rating: n/a
Party till you drop. Dead.
It’s 1962 and Florence Forest (Abrose) is sweet sixteen and never been kissed. She lives with her mother, Mrs. Forest and a Swedish exchange student named Lars. At the local drive-in, Florence and her friend actually watch the film, while Starcat, heartthrob of the surfer set, flirts with perky babe Marvel Ann (Adams). When Florence visits the concession stand wheelchair-bound meanie Rhonda torments her until screams interrupt their nasty exchange. Someone at the drive-in has had her throat slashed! Captain Monica Stark has a number of suspects, including Florence and Mrs. Forest. But the grisly event does not keep the gang from the beach!
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Amy plays Marvel Ann in a performance that she calls a homage to Ann-Margret, best known for her on-screen collaborations with Elvis in the 1960s. While the role of Marvel Ann is rather small, she’s absolutely hilarious as the perky, bitchy blonde in this campy, fun comedy that spoofs of 1960’s Beach Party/Gidget surfing movies and slasher horror films.
Marvel Ann: “I intend to unpack mine.”
• Filmed in Malibu, California, USA.
• According to director/writer commentary track on the Region 1 DVD, the original performances of the stage play from which the movie is based featured ‘Charles Busch’ in the role of Florence/Chicklet. When Busch adapted his play to film format, he was too old to play Chicklet, so he wrote for himself the part of Captain Monica Stark so he could still participate in the production.
• Amy’s second film role.
“Other characters in Psycho Beach Party are equally vivid. Provoloney and Yo-Yo are the two surfers who have eyes more for each other than the female hotties on the beach. Rhonda (Kathleen Robertson) is a wheelchair-bound teen bent on insulting anyone who crosses her path. And Lars (Matt Keeslar), the thickly accented exchange student living with Chicklet, may not be the harmless Swede everyone thinks he is.
But in a film like Psycho Beach Party, whodunit is beside the point — it’s the laughs that count, and there are enough to suffice. Highlights include the Great Kanaka speaking in rhymed couplets, and some truly creative murder scenes. If you want to search for deeper meanings, there’s certainly a message in the film that everyone, ultimately, is a nonconformist. But one shouldn’t think too hard about a movie this lightweight —it’s best to just relax and enjoy the Party. ” – Rod Armstrong, Reel
“Not since Rocky Horror has the film world produced such a vibrant farce of teen angst, violence, and sexual deviance. And here comes Rocky’s comeuppance, as off-Broadway cult icon Charles Busch has scripted a work of sheer demented brilliance in the gleefully absurd Psycho Beach Party.” – Robert Strohmeyer, Film Critic