Slashing and spoofing and clowning around

This was originally just going to be a slasher spoof double feature about two films that came two decades apart, but I had to throw in one oddity that fell around the middle somewhere. 

STUDENT BODIES (1981)

One of the early slasher spoofs, this one starts right off mocking the opening of Halloween.

Problem is, the shtick of the entire film wears thin really fast. It’s constant killer POV, and the killer talks and reacts to everything that happens (like stepping in gum while stalking and seeing girl boobies), plus there’s over-the-top heavy breathing that gets really annoying.

Also, the body count flashes on screen and the mockery is often WRITTEN on the screen with an arrow pointing to the obvious stupidity of slashers, such as the word “unlocked” flashing with an arrow pointing to the door knob when a babysitter doesn’t bother to lock it.

Most of the other humor is typical of the adolescent/slapstick comedies of the period (Airplane, National Lampoon flicks), which means toilet humor. But impressively, there’s a non-judgmental gag about same sex parents. Talk about a joke that was ahead of its time.

The story is classic slasher, with high school kids getting killed off, a dance in the gym, and commentary on suppressed sexuality.

I have to admit, the best scene of the film is actually more like real horror. It’s the main girl caught in a loop of imagining being chased by each character as the killer…and in one segment, the “killer” is rolling around in a garbage can. I know it sounds and is supposed to be ridiculous, but it’s fricking freaky!

As a bonus, the end gives nods to both The Wizard of Oz and Carrie.

FUNLAND (1987)

It’s weird, it’s stupid, it goes nowhere, it is loaded with familiar faces of the 80s, it has Squiggy of Laverne & Shirley as a clown with a split personality who talks to a hand puppet and eventually decides to kill, it’s from the director of Sleepaway Camp 2 and 3…and it’s not really a horror film. But it’s so 80s crappy I had to cover it.

Squiggy has been the clown mascot of an amusement park for years, but he’s been losing his sanity. So when the owner dies and the mob buys the park, the owners hire a replacement mascot and plan to fire Squiggy.

In the meantime, there’s goofy, unfunny training classes for the food service people, rehearsals for shows, Jo’s boyfriend Eddie from facts of life as a photographer, a rapping duo getting people up and dancing in the cafeteria like it’s 1983, not 1987.

There’s also a whole lot of gay stuff going on in the amusement park theater, and in a totally bizarre gay bashing spoof (?), and gay performer goes from drag to a G-string on stage, at which point a bunch of hillbillies in the audience jump on stage to beat him up.

It’s not until there are only 20 minutes left that Squiggy decides to climb into a clock tower with his puppet and a rifle to shoot the new mascot.

But things don’t go as planned, so he doesn’t even go on a murderous psycho schizo clown rampage.

It’s definitely just a bad 80s comedy.

PSYCHO BEACH PARTY (2000)

Psycho Beach Party works on various levels—as an homage/spoof of both 60s beach party movies and 80s slashers, as a campy cult film, and as an awesome revolving door of familiar names and faces.

Claire from Six Feet Under is the main girl, and Amy Adams is one of her friends.

Aunt Zelda from Sabrina the Teenage Witch is her mother. 

Xander from Buffy is the main guy, and Greg of Dharma & Greg is another lead

Charles Busch is the drag queen detective.

The hottie who played Maggie’s boyfriend in the last season of The Nanny is a barely closeted gay guy.

Matt Keeslar of The Thirst and Scream 3 is a Swedish exchange student.

The kills start at a drive-in then move to a beach house. The kids discover the actress from the movie playing at the drive-in is hiding out there, and she invites them to a slumber party.

It sticks to a cheesy 60s tone, with a good dose of silliness and gay sensibilities. The kills are basic and there’s no nudity, but the guys look great shirtless (and kind of gay).

Considering what has happened to our country, it’s chilling now when Sabrina’s aunt references American freedom by saying, “As far as I know, we are not yet a part of the Soviet Union.”

For me, the best part is the final act, which has an awesome surf rock dance off, a Scooby Doo denouement, and a twist and a final chase….plus a “final frame scare” spoof. 

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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