Sunday, December 1, 2019

December to Dismember: BIKINI BLOODBATH CHRISTMAS (2009)

Oh come all ye faithful! Greetings and welcome to our annual “December to Dismember” event, where we chronicle the good, the bad, and the ugly of holiday horrors. Hard to believe it but this is our 7th year doing these and, as expected, things are getting pretty bleak. How bleak? No one has released a KRAMPUS film this year for Tom to devour! And Uncork’d didn’t put out a new THE ELF sequel. Yes, filmmakers got so tired of us ripping apart their dreadful opuses (dopsuses?) that they stopped making them! Initially we thought we wouldn’t have enough movies to fill out the month, but we soon found the further we went into the mine that there was still some cinematic coal to be unearthed. Up first is the deliciously titled BIKINI BLOODBATH CHRISTMAS. Damn, this coal mine canary is feeling faint already.

Right off the bat I was put into a compromising position as I didn’t realize this film was the third and final part of a series. Rather that cinemasochistically extend myself, I opted to read a couple reviews and watch the trailers of the earlier BIKINI BLOODBATH (2006) and BIKINI BLOODBATH CAR WASH (2008) to bring me up to speed. Thankfully, CHRISTMAS also has lead character Jenny (Rachael Robbins) give a brief sum up with flashback footage to her friends. Seems in the first one lesbian high school gym teacher Miss Johnson (Debbie Rochon) invited Jenny and her friends to a party and a catering chef went nuts and started slaughtering folks. The sequel had the girls in college and working at a bikini car wash. Trouble rears its head again when they have a slumber party and resurrect Chef Death during a seance. Hey, Tom, you doing hazard pay on this research stuff?

Onto part three, which opens with Miss Johnson comatose in the hospital. Damn, you know something is wrong with your film when Rochon opts to sit this one out (more on that later). Bummed by a comatose coach, Jenny and her friends, Sapphire and Sharon, head to the local cemetery (amusingly, the directors put the text “Cemetery” on the screen when they arrive) to deal with a rival female gang led by William Dafoe (Margaret Rose Champagne). They dare Jenny to touch Chef Death’s grave and, sure enough, he is resurrected and looking for more females to flambĂ©. Of course, resurrecting your long-dead tormentor takes a back seat to the world’s greatest horror - work! So the next day we see Jenny and her friends working in a bong shop for Mrs. Johnson (Dick Boland), the older sister of Miss Johnson. In one of the film’s more what-the-fuckness moments, the filmmakers also introduce two characters, Prince Colwyn (co-director Thomas Edward Seymour) and Rell the Cyclops (Philip Guerette), from KRULL (1983) who are trying to sell a glaive. Man, talk about a cult movie deep cut.

Anyway, it appears the shop has a rivalry with the local deli owned by Gina Davis (Phil Hall), who showcases his animosity by bringing them literal shit sandwiches. “You actually took the time to collect shit and make sandwiches,” Mrs. Johnson asks. “Mostly on weekends,” Davis replies.  The feud centers on both having rival Santas, who wrestle in a kiddie pool for the right for Xmas lap-turf. Damn, wasn’t there a slasher around? Oh yeah, Chef Death shows up and kills one of the girls in the bathroom. Poor actress Monique Dupree doesn’t even get her character introduced or a name before her death. The deli’s Santa then gets strangled with some Christmas lights in the bathroom. We quickly get our third death back at the hospital when the hospital administrator (Lloyd Kaufman) gets set on fire and blown out the window (more on that later as well). The busy Chef o’ Death then kills the bong shop Santa in his home with a hammer. Zombie Chef then steals the Santa suit, making him now Zombie Santa Chef Death. Naturally, all things lead to a party as Jenny and her friends go to a Christmas party held by Mrs. Johnson, whose idea of fun is bathing “her” feet in some eggnog. Things get tense when William Dafoe, Gina Davis and their underlings crash the party hoping to score with the nubile girls (“Nog and laid, my friends. Nog and laid!”). Also crashing the party is Chef Death, who at this point might be the most likeable character, and he starts offing people in various ways.

Damn, you know what, this wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Then again, my opinion was heavily (I mean heaaaavily) influenced by the fact this only runs 56 minutes with the end credits starting around the 48 minute mark. (Note: There is a longer version as the DVD and IMDb list a 71 minute running time; I found it streaming online and it looks like TubiTV omitted like the first ten minutes, maybe due to a Jesus blowjob gag.) The film is the work of writer-directors Jonathan Gorman and Thomas Edward Seymour, who are obviously heavily influenced by the work of Troma. This is evidenced by the roles by Kaufman and Rochon, as well as a scattering of scatologial humor. Yes, we get lots of poop and fart bits. And I’m talking graphic poop bits. If that works for you, have at it. It didn’t for me. What did work were some of the other comedy bits. And, heavens me, they were intentional comedy bits. Yes, there are actually funny lines, like when Jenny does her flashback talk and says, “It all started when I was a senior in high school. Before I was blonde and fully developed.” to explain why a different actress is playing the character. I also laughed a recurring joke about everyone calling the slim Sharon fat. Of course, with such zany material, you have to have a cast goofy enough to pull it all off. Amazingly, all of the thespians get the tone right. My personal faves were Margaret Rose Champagne doing hilarious over-the-top French accent as William Dafoe, Sarah Dauber as the airhead Sapphire, and Dick Boland as the bitchy Mrs. Johnson.

Of course, it isn’t smooth sailing as the thing is a mess in terms of unfolding the story. For example, in the end it is revealed that the killer Zombie Santa Chef is actually -- HUGE SPOILER SO STOP READING IF YOU ARE CRAZY ENOUGH TO WANT TO SEE THIS FILM -- Debbie Rochon’s Miss Johnson character. Yes, she showed up for a second scene! It is an ingenious twist that I’m sure fans of the series loved. But it also creates a mess. You see, Kaufman’s hospital character is the third person killed, presumably during Johnson’s hospital escape. Yet we’ve already been shown the Chef being resurrected in the graveyard and having killed several people. It don’t make no damn sense, but then again neither does searching for continuity in a movie called BIKINI BLOODBATH CHRISTMAS.

As far as the Christmas element goes, Gorman and Seymour (sounds like a law firm) could have done better. If you’re going to do a Xmas themed horror film, we need you to work in some Xmas themed deaths and a bit of that ol’ Christmas spirit. Instead we get some Santa hats, plus some tinsel and decorations here and there. Hell, we don’t even get a Christmas tree. And heaven forbid we get some Christmas themed death scenes. You telling me you guys never thought of impaling someone with a giant candy cane? You know they thought of doing it to someone’s ass. You know you did! And in perhaps the most shocking omission, only one character in the new footage gets topless. That is rather sinful, especially given the porn looking DVD cover. That is where the film is lacking. Regardless, I wasn’t bored. Again, I must stress my enjoyment came because of the short running time and some of the odd humor. As a bad movie watching professional, I can say that this kind of film should only be tackled when you’ve spent four decades wasting your life like I hav...uh, like some people have. Anyway, I'll save you time and give you an early Xmas present with the film's best moment.

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