Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell Review
Written by: Tim Hannigan
The World Premiere of The Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell went off like a nuclear explosion before a packed house at the Bloor Cinema as part of the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. In 2077, the good ‘ol U.S. of A. is almost wiped off the map in a nuclear war. Three-hundred million are killed, and seventeen cities are completely demolished. No hope can be found in the final address of the President (played by Jane Seymour).
Fast forward twenty years and Tex Kennedy, descendent of JFK, sets out with his two android companions, and a cannibal named Sue, to start rebuilding the "New America". Tex had survived in a fallout shelter, protected by robots Yul and Quincy – two former secret service androids disgraced for failing to pay attention when a prior President was assassinated. During the years of isolation in the shelter, a former car salesman, Clark Remington (Daniel Baldwin) declared himself king of the New America through his nightly radio address to the people in shelters across America. Before he dies, Clark announces that his nephew will become the new king of America (much to the disappointment of Clark’s son Jackle). Tex sets out to free the new king from his shelter, and make a radio address to the people of New America.
In order to get to the radio tower to make the address, they must defeat the spawn of Satan – a cult leader who, along with his beach-party cult followers, survived the nuclear fallout. On their journey into the threshold of hell they encounter a descendent of Castro, and do battle with the beach-partiers and Jackle’s crew – trying to kill his cousin in order to claim the throne of the New America. Beach Party combines live action with a few animated sequences. The story is told like a history lesson – a "Behind the Music" sort of look at the history of the New America. The movie is absurd, bizarre, stupid, campy, cheesy, and funny – all the things the filmmakers intended. It is geared to a VERY SPECIFIC audience, and I expect will be either loved or hated by movie goers.
It is effective in doing what it does. The animated sequences look great, and work well within the film. The acting and filmmaking are decent, and the movie is very funny at times. This is definitely not the last we will hear from filmmakers Jonny Gillette and Kevin Wheatley. The problem with the film is that you really have to embrace the over-all concept to enjoy the film. If over-the-top post-apocalyptic insanity doesn’t float your boat, you may find yourself wishing you were at the threshold of hell. If however you find yourself salivating at the mere mention of the title you won’t be disappointed. The crowd at the Bloor Cinema responded very positively to the film, and I’m certain it is destined to build a cult following. This movie is definitely not for everyone.