Computer Beach Party: Analysis of an Awful Movie


Computer Beach Party was released in 1987, and by all accounts, it was an awful, awful movie. IMDB's plot summary reads:

Greedy locals are trying to turn some beach property into a tourist attraction, and a computer expert sets out to use is knowledge of computers--along with the help of several local "beach bunnies"--to stop them.

Digital archivist (and filmmaker) Jason Scott saw the movie recently, and decided to dig into its history. Why is it so bad? Why is all the dialog dubbed so badly? Why is there a talking dog in one scene? Why are there so many computers in the movie? Scott pieced together the answers and even managed to interview the director, writing up the whole story in an epic two-part blog entry: Part One and Part Two. Here's a snippet from part one:

...I must make clear: this movie is awful.  Not just awful like “missed the mark” awful, or awful like “didn’t feel very well made” awful. I mean that it’s functionally broken, full of inconsistencies, utilizes a plot that wouldn’t have worked even if filmed to perfection, and wastes your time. It actually wastes your time. The fact it has computers in it, for me, meant that there were periods of dim interest, like finding out the person who kidnapped and is beating you went to the same college as you did. Interesting, yet besides the point. It is absolutely terrible. Don’t see it, unless you’re attending the aforementioned Found Footage Festival, at which point you will have a great time, because you will be watching a show that’s funny and well-done, which contains this awful thing at the core of it to power the we’re-all-in-this-together feeling with other members of the audience.

Scott's investigation uncovers a lot of interesting stuff about this movie -- how and why it was made, how it ended up being owned by the reputable studio Lion's Gate, what happened to the various people involved. I don't think it's a spoiler to tell you that the female lead now has a black belt in karate and the male lead is now a drama teacher.

Read Jason Scott's analysis of Computer Beach Party for a fun romp through a truly awful film. (Don't forget part two, an interview with the director.)