Saturday, July 12, 2014

BEACH PARTY (1963)

I was recently thinking about my love for GHOST OF DRAGSTRIP HOLLOW when I decided to look further into this kitchy brand of teenage party movies that came out in the late 50's/early 60's.  And where better to start than BEACH PARTY?!

Twenty-something-year-old teenagers Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello have had enough of high school.  It's summer now and you can eat a bowl of fuck cause they are here to parr-tee!!  Frank is looking to get up in those guts, but Annette ain't having none of it.  So when Frankie rents a beach bungalow for them to use as a summer fuck shack, Annette secretly invites along 30 or so of their closest friends.  Frankie is upset by this and sets out to make Annette jealous by acting like he's interested in a local sexpot.  Annette returns his childish behavior by acting like she's hooking up with their neighborhood peeping tom/anthropologist (Robert Cummings) who's secretly writing a book about teenage sex rituals.

During all of this, there's lots of dancing, singing, surfing and weird 60's shenanigans.  I enjoyed the hell out of all of it, but my most pleasant surprise came when none other than Eric Von Zipper and his motorcycle gang, The Rats, showed up!  I damn near squealed with joy.  I'd really enjoyed Von Zipper in THE GHOST IN THE INVISIBLE BIKINI, but I thought it was a one time appearance.  I was wrong because not only is Von Zipper a regular in the beach movies, but TGITIB is also part of the beach party series!  How weird is that?

Anyway, I thought BEACH PARTY was a lot of fun.  Perfectly silly story, quick pace, great music, pretty girls in bikinis, Dick Dale wearing an earring, Von Zipper cracking stupid jokes nonstop, energetic dancing, Vincent Price cameo, Joel McCrea's son Jody in a supporting role as Deadhead, awesome 60's hair styles, humor so corny it's actually kinda funny, beatniks questioning traditional values, continuity errors galore, innocence, a pie fight and a dancing girl during the end credits that I really enjoyed.  Recommended.

Part 2 - Muscle Beach Party (1964)
Part 3 - Bikini Beach (1964)
Part 4 - Pajama Party (1964)
Part 5 - Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)
Part 6 - How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965)
Part 7 - The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966)
Part 8 - Back to the Beach (1987)