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April 30, 2001 - Image 11

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2001-04-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ilarious, campy 'Psycho Beach
?arty' fast approaching cult status

The Michigan Daily - Monday April 30, 2001- 11

Lyle Henretty
ily Arts Writer
Robert Lee King's "Psycho Beach Party" traveled the festival cir-
it, hit a few college towns, then disappeared from theaters last
nter. The fact-that it never really found a large audience is not sur-
sing for a film that actually shows TV's Thomas Gibson's
("Dharma and Greg") ass after a delusional
16-year-old carves a message in it with a knife.
Psycho The surprising part is that this low budget
Beach satire is hysterical, and works as a dead-on par-
arty DVD ody, as the poster touts, of the 80's teen slash-
er films, the 60's beach party operas and the
d Releasing 50's goof-ball psychodramas. And it has a no-
nonsense female cop played by the very male
iptwriter, who, if the script is any indication, enjoys nonsense a
at deal.
The film recounts the harrowing story of Chicklet Forrest
auren Ambrose), a square peg trying to fit through the round hole
popularity. She starts hanging out with the surfer dudes, includ-
Starcat ("Bully the Vampire Slayer's" Nicholas Brendon), a
dude who had two semesters of psych in college, Junior, who
wear a shirt on the beach because of psoriasis and YoYo and

Provaloney, who enjoy wrestling each other a bit too much. Her
new-found beach-bum friends are lead by Kanaka (Gibson), the
king of the beach who is so cool he speaks in rhyme.
The main problem plaguing these hip kids is the dead bodies that
start turning up. Enter Captain Monica Stark (Charles Busch, who
adapted his own screenplay) to solve the case. Suspects include B-
movie starlet Bettina Barnes (Kimberley Davies), kindly Swedish
exchange student Lars (Matt Keesler), sexually repressed Mrs.
Forrest ("Sabrina the Teeange Witch's" Beth Broderick) and Ann
Bowman, Chicklet's liberated second personality. The film's camp
value is high, but it perfectly exploits the sex and perversion that
permeated each of the three genres it pokes fun at.
The DVD itself is not loaded with extras, but has a very enter-
taining filmmakers track with both Busch and King. Itsis a crash
course in Guerrilla filmmaking, as they discuss how some of the
film's classier shots or funnier bits sprung up due to lack of budget.
King explains how the scenes with more cuts were filmed earlier in
the day, before the cast and crew started to tire, while Busch laments
on how he refused to let the stunt man's ugly legs stand in for his
own "sexy" gams. Also included is the standard theatrical trailer, as
well as a music video by Los Straightjackets, who provided much of
the film's soundtrack. The band is a sort of acid jazz music, think
Dick Dale on Quaaludes.

The simple fact that this film now has the chance to reach more
keen guys and way-cool girls could mean that "Psycho Beach
Party" may finally become the cult classic it so richly deserves to

Superman' DVD brings '70s
vent film to the small screen
Lyle Henretty explanation, leaving the viewer in the.dark.
ty AsWeAlso included are several interesting screen tests inc


In 1978, the original poster for "Superman: The Movie"
tmised that "You will believe a man can fly." Warner Brothers
hoping that a more special-effects savvy public will see past
smoke, the blue screen and the wires to rediscover the pre-
ere event movie of the late '70s (aside from the one starring
ark Hamill). This week they are releasing the original
"Superman" along with its three lacklus-
ter sequels on DVD for the first time.
erman: While computers have made us believe
he Movie all sorts of unlikely things, "Supennan,"
for the most part, holds up. The transfer is
DVD beautiful, taking away the orange '70s
Warner Bros. gloss that has plagued the home video all
these years. John Williams's epic sound-
k is appropriately rousing and campy, and has been remas-
d here in Dolby Digital 5.1. For the nostalgic, music alone
1 make you want to tie a pillowcase around your neck and
p off of your couch all over again. The movie itself is more
o 'onal than it had to be, due in no small part toits great cast,
ng Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Ned.Beatty and, in
most expensive cameo ever, Marlon Brando as Jor-El. The
ture of epic andcomic book works because director Richard
nner treats "Superman" as if it is a bio-pic, giving real soul
he characters.
ide from the fine film itself, the DVD is full of extras and
dies for the discriminating fan. The feature link commentarv
nner and creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz (who also
buted, un-credited, to the script) is entertaining, as the old
discuss behind-the-scenes details and poke fun at each
r. They discuss the technical aspects of the film (the explo-
of Krypton was a flaming tennis ball) and interesting anec-
s about Brando's erratic behavior and Gene Hackman's
al to play Lex Luthor bald. The only drawback is that the
de jokes between Mankiewicz and Donner pass without

Christopher Reeve's own as the Man of Steel, and Stockard
Channing trying out for the role of Lois Lane. Outtakes and
deleted scenes abound, as well as the original theatrical trailer
and teaser, and a TV spot from 1978. The three half-hour docu-
mentaries on the making of the film are a nice mixture of cur-
rent talking head interviews with the cast and crew, and behind-
the-scenes footage from the actual filming. Nearly everyone
from Kidder and Donner to the casting director participate, as
well as a wheelchair-bound Reeve. His boisterous co-workers
and the footage of him flying high above Metropolis leaves lit-
tle doubt that he will walk again.
Event films and special effects extravaganzas seem to be
what DVDs were intended to showcase, and Warner Brothers
comes through for the fans with a quality disc for one of the
bigget -movie f lltie

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