Howdy all you Supercultists out there on the interwebz! I’m Bad Movie Professor Cameron Coker (BS in “The ARKOFF Formula” with a minor in “Beach Party Films”) and I’ll be posting my hype-tacular speeches every week along with some long lost speeches from past Supercult Shows!
This week Supercult has a slumber party with the girls and invites only the cutest guys to come watch Pajama Party!
Gogo is a teenager from Mars sent on a mission to prepare Earth for invasion, but it’s hard to focus on your mission when the Earthling girls are oh, so swell! Before long Gogo is wrapped up with the local wealthy widow, the lovable volleyball lugs, the sinister neighbor ne’er do wells, the rowdy motorcycle moppets, and of course the gorgeous girl next door, Connie. Kooky adventures and summer romance await at the Pajama Party!
Ah the swinging 60s, a time when music, drugs, dress, and sex were all being thrown for a loop. Back when the US was invading Vietnam, the Beatles were invading the US, and teen hormones were invading everything! It was in this tumultuous cultural upheaval that American International Pictures created what might be called the first teensploitation films.
James Nicholson and Samuel Arkoff first formed API in 1954, but when the company’s first releases (such as 1955 action noir The Fast and the Furious, yes it’s that old of a concept) failed to earn a profit, Arkoff made the decision to stop competing with big-budget westerns and adventure films and instead tap into a mindless, easy to please, frivolous, and previously untapped market: teenagers. AIP was the first company to use focus groups to not only test films, but to determine the titles, stars, and story content of future releases. The sequence of tasks often involved creating a great title, getting an artist to create a dynamic, eye-catching poster, raising the cash for the ‘idea’ of such a film, and then finally writing, casting, shooting, and producing the film. During the formative years of the studio Arkoff created his ARKOFF formula for producing a successful low-budget movie:
Later the AIP publicity department would devise a strategy called “the Peter Pan Syndrome” which states that:
a) a younger child will watch anything an older child will watch;
b) an older child will not watch anything a younger child will watch;
c) a girl will watch anything a boy will watch
d) a boy will not watch anything a girl will watch;
therefore-to catch your greatest audience you zero in on the 19-year old male.
API rededicated itself to releasing low-budget indie double features. The studio is responsible for producing most of the infamous B horror movies of Supercult Saint Roger Corman and gained a reputation for trivial, exploitative, low-budget pieces of trash…that made gobs and gobs of money.
Enter Beach Party. Released in 1963 with a budget of just $300,000, Beach party was a movie about 30-year-olds who are cast as teenagers, who sing pop songs, dance, fall in and out of love, and foil the plans of outlaw biker gangs and evil scientists. It was basically an episode of Scooby-Doo padded out with partying, surfing, and hormones. It was frivolous schlocky teenage trash, and it was a surprise smash hit. From a budget of $300,000, it made $2,300,000.
Beach Party and its SIX sequels are responsible for creating a new, horrifying, and at the time often imitated, film subgenre called Beach Party films. Beach Party films are characterized by teenage heroes, villainous or comical adults, simple, silly plotlines and romantic arcs, original songs and musical acts, a tongue-in-cheek attitude, and a healthy dose of “what the kids are into these days”. If a Beach Party genre were made today it would undoubtedly star 37-year old James Franco opposite 31-year old Aubrey Plaza and have them foil a comical zombie apocalypse perpetrated by the comparatively adult 45-year old Matt Damon, while smoking pot, street racing, dancing to Justin Beiber music, and trading Digimon cards.
Pajama Party, released in 1964, is the fourth installment of the core Beach Party septology, the other films being Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party, Bikini Beach, Beach Blanket Bingo, How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, and The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini. Pajama Party stars many of the same actors and actresses from the previous 3 Beach Party films, but with different character names, and in an effort to increase the profit margin Pajama Party was made on a budget of just $200,000. Pajama Party was also the first film to introduce the first ever Ford Mustang, which Annette drives in several scenes. One of the biggest surprises of the film however, is a major cameo from the legendary silent era comedian, mother-f$*#-ing Buster Keaton as Chief Rotten Eagle, a local Native American who mingles with and harasses the oblivious teens. It’s as if Keaton simply wandered onto the wrong set every morning and the film crew just decided to go with it and just pointed the camera at his 70-year-old a$$ acting circles around these teenage amateurs every now and then.
Pajama Party has a 4.3 on IMDB and a 33% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s bouncier, cheaper, dumber, and even more mindless that the previous Beach Party films. It’s also a whole lot of fun if you know how to turn your brain off and indulge your inner male 19-year old! Dennis Schwartz of Ozus’ World Movie Reviews says, “It’s the kind of wacky teen comedy where the less brains you have the better chance you have for getting what this film is all about.”
I hope you brought your brain draining screams tonight, Supercultists!
It’s the Party Picture that Takes Off Where the Others Pooped Out!
The Supercult show is proud to present Pajama Party!