After 30 minutes or so of BIKINI BLOODBATH, I was prepared to write the movie off as just another well-intentioned but unsuccessful attempt to parody ´80s slasher films and recapture the manic spirit of exploitation filmmakers like Al Adamson and Fred Olen Ray. There were plenty of gorgeous young starlets in varying states of undress and a handful of funny gags (most centering on the latent homosexual leanings of a high school football team) on display in the opening half hour, but my overall impression was that the action was moving a bit too slowly and the jokes were coming too infrequently - and misfiring too often - to recommend the film. Too many plot threads appeared to be going nowhere, none of the characters were particularly credible or sympathetic, and too much time was being devoted to montages that neither enhanced the humor nor drove the narrative at all. As much as I wanted to like the movie going in (with that title and the presence of veteran scream queen Debbie Rochon, it seemed right up my alley), I was just about ready to go on record and declare it a near miss. Then a funny thing happened - the titular bikini bloodbath began in earnest, and the film kicked into hilarious overdrive.
From the moment the film´s cleaver-wielding antagonist, "Chef Death", starts hacking up the bikini-clad volleyball vixens, BIKINI BLOODBATH is a blast, the gleefully irreverent jokes coming so fast and furious that it´s virtually impossible not to have fun. A jock keeps pushing people out the front door and then asking them if it´s safe. A girl is sent to get help but (after accidentally killing one of her friends) stops off for dinner at Das Taco, a Mexican restaurant with an Adolf Hitler theme. Trapped in the house by the killer, our heroes decide for some reason that their best hope for survival is to mix up a big batch of strawberry daiquiris. Nerdy girl Suzy is the only one offering any rational suggestions, but no one will listen to her because, as they never stop reminding her, she wasn´t invited to the party in the first place. Much of the rapid-fire nonsense is scored with clever parodies of popular ´80s party songs, the bloody climactic battle in the garage even followed by a ridiculous music video for a fictional hair band called "White Liger". Though the movie is no more technically sound or logical in the final 40 minutes than it was in the first half hour, its hit-and-miss set-up gives way to pure, prurient insanity in the second half that satisfies despite the cable access TV production values.
Taken for what it is - an ultra-low-budget first feature on digital video, starring mostly novice actors and aspiring to little more than bloody, bare-breasted silliness - BIKINI BLOODBATH is a worthwhile diversion. The cast has fun (especially Thomas Edward Seymour, who also co-wrote and co-directed), the humor is unsophisticated but enjoyable, the girls (including Leah Ford, Dana Fay Ensalata, Sheri Lynn, Anna-Karin Eskilsson, Olja Hrustic, and Katie Gil) are all really hot, and the homemade gore effects are quite good. The "Chef Death" concept is amusing if underdeveloped. Rochon doesn´t get great material to work with, but she wrings all she can from it, and she´s a welcome addition to the cast of any horror spoof. In the end, despite its unevenness, the film leaves one wanting to see more from makers Jonathan Gorman and Seymour... which is exactly the effect any freshman cinematic outing ought to have on viewers. Though it certainly won´t make anyone forget Mel Brooks´ YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, BIKINI BLOODBATH will thoroughly satisfy fans of celluloid shlock kings like Lloyd Kaufman, Herschell Gordon Lewis, and Jim Wynorski. Frankly, anyone renting or buying a movie with that title should expect no more or less.