Psycho Beach Party
(The Movie)

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I must confess, I never imagined my 1987 play Psycho Beach Party as a movie.  Thank God other people have better imaginations than I do.  Of course, I'm absolutely delighted.  My only other experiences in the cinema were bit parts, or rather "cameos," in Addams Family Value and It Could Happen to You.  How thrilling to return to the screen on my own terms, in the film version of my little play.

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Psycho Beach Party is an affectionate homage to the beach party movies of the '60s and Gidget as well as a spoof of psychological suspense films.  By that I mean movies such as Hitchcock's Marnie and Spellbound, or The Three Faces of Eve and The Snake Pit: films where someone has a deep-rooted neurosis and after five minutes of hypnosis a childhood trauma is revealed and the patient is well enough to buy a house in the suburbs and live happily after.  Oh, I love them all.

In the original stage production of Psycho Beach Party I played the leading role of Chicklet, a 16-year-old tomboy.  When it came time to do the movie it was deemed wiser to cast a real young girl.  I totally understood.  While I can still manage, with the aid of a sympathetic cameraman, to play a sophisticated 25, 16 would be a stretch.  Fortunately, I was also the screenwriter, so I simply rolled up my sleeves and wrote myself a new and quite wonderful role, that of the briskly efficient chief of police, Capt. Monica Start, LAPD.   As I explained to all the girls in hair, makeup, and wardrobe, my role in the picture is similar to that of Susan Hayward in Valley of the Dolls and Joan Crawford in The Best of Everything.  Yes, I'm the somewhat faded but still-glamorous veteran surrounded by a cast of sexy young stars.  

The film continually presented me with professional challenges.  There's a rather bawdy flashback in the movie where we see Captain Monica in the act of erotic lovemaking in the front seat of her squad car. 

Click here to watch trailer and selected scenes

The New York Times

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