Monster From Bikini Beach (2008)
By: Devon B. on October 23, 2008  |  Comments ()  |  Bookmark and Share
Director: Darin Wood
Starring: Stephen Vargo, Galen Howard, Stephanie Hyden, Liesel Hanson, Keith Letl
Writer: Darin Wood
Country: USA
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Roger Corman made a LOT of bad movies (and backed even more) but it is undeniable he occasionally got things right even on a budget of 27 cents. While its director may not have been happy, one of the things Corman did very well was to add more blood and boobs to Humanoids From The Deep. I'm sure the original, thoughtful version about ecology and responsibility and all that would have been very good, but nothing could better the bouncing breasts, the meaty carnage, and the overall sleaze of the finished product. So, it's always heart warming when filmmakers follow Corman's lead, and I'm happy to say that Monster From Bikini Beach was clearly inspired by Humanoids and revels in cheap excess.

It becomes apparent that the filmmakers were aping Humanoids in the very first scene where a bikini clad woman dances on the beach while her nerdy beau watches. Then a monster that looks reaaaalllly cheap kills the boyfriend, giving opportunity for some low rent gore; rips off the woman's top; and drags her back to the water.

We're then introduced to one of our leads, an old, crooked cop and his MUCH younger girlfriend. You know that movie where Sean Connery is the love interest for Catherine Zeta-Jones? That was more believable. Anyway, our geriatric hero, who has managed to stay active on the force even after being crippled by some thugs he was dealing with, is called in to investigate the death and disappearance from the first scene. At the crime scene are two journos, one a TV newsreader, and one a hack photographer. For some reason they both have an exclusive…or else no one else in the news community know about the death yet, 'cause they're the only ones there. Regardless, the photographer has unprecedented access to the victim, happily snapping away right up close, which you wouldn't expect a tabloid guy to be given permission for. The photographer is convinced something bizarre is going along, and drags the newsreader along to try to solve the mystery. Meanwhile, the cops are also following the leads, albeit inefficiently. Will the monster be stopped before the big GoGo dancing event? 'Course not, we need an ending with gore and girls!

Monster From Bikini Beach was clearly helmed by people that love aquatic monsters: Jaws and Jaws 2 are referenced, and there are plot elements (including the discussion of Amazon catfish) from Creature From The Black Lagoon. Inconceivably, Monster From Bikini Beach manages to get bogged down in its "plot," and probably could've done with quite a few minutes of film being excised. It picks up again when the subplots converge, but by then it's been a long time without nudity and I was getting really bored. The acting is bad, but the film is meant to be trashy, so it's never too annoying. There are a few thespians that get the camp level just right, though, like the three knife fighters and the "noodling" family. The film is intentionally shoddy at times, though one has to wonder if the filmmakers would've achieved much better if they were trying to be serious given the budget they were on. There are some really funny moments, like the line, "Woah, that there's a real live dead body," but there's also a lot of groan inducing dialogue. The gore is pretty remedial, but there is one amusing scene involving a disembowelled woman being pulled back to the water in an unconventional manner.

As for the monster, I won't spoil what it actually is, but it looks a bit like an even cheaper, walking version of Audrey II from the Little Shop Of Horrors remake (another Corman connection). I thought for a while it was a giant walking shrimp, but I was wrong. It's a large ancestor of a common aquatic animal, and the idea is almost as ridiculous as the poodle monster from The Boneyard.

In the end Monster From Bikini Beach is better than some other intentionally shoddy productions like Lobster Man From Mars and the finale ends the film on a high note, when we get to see humorous moments of the monster shambling around and women getting attacked just right so their tops come off.
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