Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bikini Bloodbath (2006)

Directed by Jonathan Gorman, Thomas Edward Seymour
Starring Leah Ford, Debbie Rochon, Carmine Capobianco

"I can't find the fruity shit."

Bikini Bloodbath could, for all intents and purposes, call itself Slumber Party Massacre 4 and get away with it. It's got all the elements: a clutch of attractive high school girls (including one plucky self-starter and one weird-girl-who-nobody-likes), a fetish-y killer, a ridiculous red herring, and, most importantly, shower scenes and an all-girl party. This particular get-together is a bikini-only affair, mostly to justify the title. Also like the '82 film, Bloodbath is a slasher movie and a send-up of the genre at the same time. They're both low budget - although this one could be more accurately labeled 'no budget' - and feature a handful of first-time actors. The difference? Slumber Party Massacre had a little forethought. Bikini Bloodbath is a let's-get-drunk-and-make-a-movie sort of affair.

White Liger - a real band, sorta - blasts away on the soundtrack as our plucky young protagonist Jenny (Leah Ford, sporting an awesome Stephanie Fondue/Cherie Curie/Tegan & Sara-esque girl-mullet) wakes up, shows off her teacup titties, and starts her day. She heads to school where she meets up with her gang of hussies and mean girls. Lucky for us, we meet them all on gym day.

They play volleyball in tight shorts, while their self-hating lesbian gym teacher Miss Johnson (Debbie Rochon) occasionally molests them. They mostly seem to like it though, so no harm done.

After the game (they are all quite terrible at volleyball, by the way), they take a shower and discuss the big party at Jenny's house. All the girls are invited except, of course, for Suzi (the impressively curvy Sheri Bomb), the resident ick-girl. After they towel off, the girls run into the football team. They've heard about the girls' party, and they are unimpressed.
"We're throwing our own party," says one of the jocks. "Guys only. We're gonna have balloons."

By the way, just so you don't get confused, most of the characters in this film wear t-shirts that identify who they are. Rochon's reads "Gym Teacher". Everybody on the football team have "Football Player" shirts. Etc. It's actually very handy. Life would be simpler if we made this mandatory.

Oh yeah, we're supposed to get a bloodbath going, right? There's a mad chef on the loose - with his scraggly orange goatee, he actually looks more like the bass player in a stoner rock band, but whatever - who skulks around the neighborhood, occasionally slicing open a local with his pear-knife. The crazed psycho-chef slashes his way through a succession of victims, including one of the volleyball girls, a cheeseburger-obsessed bum, and then poor, horny Miss Johnson. This is generally accomplished via one of those dimestore retracting knives and what seriously looks like ketchup. Maybe it's funnier that way?

Cut to: Jenny and Sharon (Anna-Karin Eskilsson) buyin' stuff for the party. The girls run into Suzy while they're in the grocery store. She tries to invite herself to their party, but is soundly rebuffed. We so far have no reason why the girls detest her so much. She does have bigger tits than the rest of them. Maybe that's it?

While the girls are unpacking their groceries, they hear a strange noise outside. They go out to investigate, only to find a blood-splattered chef in their backyard. Luckily, it's not the killer, it's just their screwy next door neighbor, Mr. Robinson (Phil Hall). Seems he was making peanut butter and grape jam sandwiches, and things went awry. They shoo him away, but not before he suggests the girls take a shower together. That does sound like a good idea. And that's exactly what they do.

Later on, their friends show up and the girls have an awesome dance party. Aside from Pam's ( Dana Fay Ensalata) spastic moves, I could watch that all day.

The football team, on the other hand, sit around eating ice cream and S'mores and occasionally playing a bit of grab-ass, and Suzy - dressed casually, in skin-tight pink underwear, quietly assembles a jigsaw puzzle at home.

The boy's party quickly descends into what looks like the opening scene of a hardcore gay porn film. The boys' coach, by the way, is none other than the Galactic Gigolo himself, Carmine Capobianco!

Two of the fellas decide that the football party is getting too homoerotic for their tastes - and after reach-around Twister and talk of spin-the-bottle and "Frenching", I can see their point - so they decide to head out and see if they can wrangle some girls.

Meanwhile, after splashing bright pink slushy drinks on one another, the girls all change into bikinis. It's about fuckin' time, man. They slip into a hot tub and talk about blowjobs. Because that's what happens at these things.

Next door, Suzy hears something in the backyard and ends up stumbling into Mr. Robinson's house. She finds his headless torso at his computer desk. Panicking, she bolts out of there, but smacks into the office door and knocks herself out.

And then the dudes have a dance-off. The fat guy even does the Flashdance pull-the-chain ending.

Suzy wakes up in Mr. Robinson's house surrounded by body parts. She rushes over to the girls' house and barges in. Snotty Portia (busty Katie Gil) eyes her blood-soaked classmate and sneers.
"You look like a tampon."
"Can I have some water?" The out-of-breath Suzy asks.
"Yeah, sure. The toilet's in the bathroom."
They are very mean to Suzy.

The killer-chef finds his way into the house and starts picking them off one by one. Sharon grabs a knife and heads out to get help. She also promises to bring back tacos. A first, the remaining members of the party try to figure out a way to escape, but that proves to be too much trouble, so they down a bunch of daiquiris instead.

While all this mayhem is going on, we cut to Sharon, who is at Das Taco, quietly eating a 7-pound burrito in her blood-smeared bikini. The taco joint has a Hitler cut-out on the door, so I'm guessing it's a Nazi Taco place. Which you don't see very often.

So, you know, everybody eventually gets killed. Jenny - who we knew would be the Final Girl from the beginning, because she has the smallest boobs and shortest hair - is left to do battle with the chef in her garage. He's got a couple cleavers, she's got a rake.
"I'm gonna rake the shit outta you, Frenchy", she growls.

By the way, there's a lot of disturbing-looking stuff lying around in that garage. It was clearly not a dressed set, and was shot exactly as it usually looks, but there are literally hundreds of wire racks packed in with what looks like either a tanning bed or a casket. There's a stray wheelchair in there, too, and an old turntable with a warped record wobbling soundlessly away. Crazy.

Jenny rakes him and wanders off. The end. And then, as I fully expected, there's about ten minutes' worth of credits.

So, who was the chef? Dunno. But I bet he's into stoner rock.

It seems sorta senseless to offer criticism of a shot-on-video quickie called Bikini Bloodbath, especially since it did, pretty much, deliver on its promise. However, there is no other excuse for shoddy, Karo-syrup-splashing-on-the-wall special effects at this point except for sheer laziness. You can find budget Savini-esque solutions to your slasher movie problems within ten minutes of surfing You Tube, utilizing junk you've already got lying around the house. Clearly, realism was not Gorman and Seymour's goal, but a few reasonably effective splatter-gags would have gone a long way. The script, too, seemed to waver from witty, self-aware, pop-culture referencing black comedy to juvenile drivel, especially during the seemingly endless football party. Sure, we get the joke - flip the gender around, and you get a much different sort of movie - but that particular point is driven home in about 30 seconds. Taking half the film to prove that slasher movies look like gay porn if they star football players is a tad excessive. Also, Bikini Bloodbath does not star scream queen Debbie Rochon, despite her top-billing and prominent placement on the poster. Rochon's only in the film for 15 or so minutes, and even then, it was clearly a weird period for her. That double-chin was no special effect, man.

Ah, but these are minor quibbles in the big scheme of things, really. The fact is that there's half a dozen bouncy young girls in this movie, and they are either topless or barely clothed for most of it. When it's firing on all cylinders, it's also very funny ("I'll be out in a minute, I just gotta get rid of this boner"), and has the decency, in these busy days, to get in and out in an hour. Also, you can probably masturbate to the dance party scene. The girl's version, anyway.

Bikini Bloodbath proved enough of a success to warrant two sequels: 2008's Bikini Bloodbath Carwash, and 2009's Bikini Bloodbath Christmas. Most of the cast carry over into the other movies, despite being killed in the first one. I dunno about you, but I can't wait to see 'em.

Availability: Bikini Bloodbath is available on DVD.

Link: Bikini Bloodbath website
Clip: Official Trailer!

- Ken McIntyre

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