Wednesday, March 20, 2013
MONSTER FROM BIKINI BEACH
MONSTER FROM BIKINI BEACH is the story of a primordial fiend who
rises from the murky depths to quench its insatiable lust for
Monster From Bikini Beach [Bayview Entertainment/Widowmaker; 2008]
is a good movie trapped in the body of an awful movie. Deep, deep,
deep, deep inside the body of an awful movie. Which is not to say
the movie isn’t fun for all the wrong reasons.
Darin Wood, who you’ve never heard of before and likely would never
have heard of at all were it not for my insatiable lust for cheesy
monster movies, is the writer and director of this attempt to poke
fun at and recapture the drive-in creature features of the 1950s.
He’s filled the movie with actors you’ve never heard of before and
likely would never have heard of were it not for my insatiable lust
for cheesy monster movies. Yet, despite the manifest inability of
cast and crew to perform any of their jobs in a remotely adequate
fashion, there is a good movie underneath the bad writing, acting
and special effects. Deep, deep underneath.
You’ve got your sleazy ocean side community of Camaroville. What
passes for the law is a crooked detective who regularly shakes down
the low-rent criminals of his town, including a showman preparing
to open a new oceanfront club with a go-go dance contest. On the
other side of town, you have the high-rent criminals and, when the
detective tried to get a share of their take, they broke his knees
and sent him scurrying back to his side of the tracks. The cop is
looking for one big score so he can split for Mexico with his none-
too-bright-but-somehow-adorable young girlfriend. Add to the mix
an attractive TV reporter always looking for a big story, a tabloid
photographer always looking for monsters, and a slutty gang girl
who ran off with millions of dollars worth of the syndicate's heroin.
Those aren’t bad human elements for a story, not that the movie’s
cast can make them believable. Still, there’s humor in the truly
teeth-grinding deficiency of their performances.
The monster itself is even more laughable. It’s a shambling lump
in a costume that looks like it’ll fall off at any minute. I have
to give Wood some credit, though. He clearly knows the monster is
sad looking and doesn’t attempt to hide this. The creature makes
its first appearance before the opening credits and starts right in
with the gory mayhem.
The special effects rely heavily on bloody rubbery entrails. One of
the creature’s victims trying to crawl away on the beach with her
guts hanging out is dragged back into the water by her intestine.
How’s that for yummy fun?
Though Monster From Bikini Beach seemed to run much longer than its
stated 95 minutes - the DVD box has it at 85 minutes - it did make
me laugh out loud several times. To its credit, it has a creature-
killing method I don’t recall seeing in any other monster movie,
cheesy or otherwise. The special effects fail that closing scene,
but the idea was still a clever one.
Better, well, better everything could have made Monster From Bikini
Beach work. In its present state, it’s still worth renting for a
buck or maybe even buying if you can get it for ten bucks or less.
Come for the boobies - yes, it has several exposed breasts - stay
for the mockery you and your friends will visit on it. That’s not
a terrible way to spend an evening.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more monster movie mayhem.
© 2013 Tony Isabella