Psycho Beach Party

Director: Robert Lee King
Screenwriters: Charles Busch

Institute History

  • 2000 Sundance Film Festival


Shaking bikinis, muscled surfers, a wanna-be surf babe with a split personality, a mom with an agenda, and a few severed body parts are just some of the problems facing Captain Monica Sharp when she is called to investigate a recent rash of gory Malibu murders.

Psycho Beach Party is a send-up of two Hollywood genres—the beach movies of the fifties and the psychological thrillers of Alfred Hitchcock—whipped up into a frothy madcap romp. Gone are the dark days of camp films cast with unknowns and family members. Psycho Beach Party sports an all-star cast from television and film, who are up to the rapid-fire jokes and kinky innuendoes that set this movie a-spinning. No doubt the incredible pool of talent drawn to this project is a tribute to the reputation of the work of cowriter/playwright and reigning diva Charles Busch, the highlight of many a theatrical season from Vampire Lesbians of Sodom to Die Mommie Die!

Busch and director and co-writer Robert Lee King have combined talents to create a gem of theatricality. King’s skilled direction is fun, fresh, and sassy with something for everyone. The play’s brilliant script has been reworked into a screenplay, whose every joke brims over with layer upon layer of classic double entendre as either homage to cinematic tradition or rampant stab at popular conservatism. To say nothing of a rocking dance number. Surf’s up, kids; what are you waiting for?

— John Cooper

Screening Details

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