Bikini Island 1991 Review
Bikini Island 1991
Directed by: Anthony Markes
Starring: Holly Floria, Alicia Anne, Jackson Robinson
Review by Luisito Joaquín González
There’s a title in my collection that I’ve been looking to add to this site for sometime. The thing is, it’s only available on VHS and watching a video is infinitely harder on my day plan than ripping a DVD and chucking it on my iPad. Last Dance was a belated entry to the category that hit video stores on the heels of Stripped to Kill, Slashdance, Deadly Dancer and the rest of those boogie/slasher flicks that strangely came out in mass around a similar timespan. Instead, I decided to review the same director Anthony Markes’ début feature, which is also a slasher movie and is thankfully available on Russian DVD. Good that I speak Russian – yay.
Released in 1991, Bikini Island is the kind of film that many men (me included) would kill to make. What we have here is a gang of pretty young women that are stranded on a desert island and dressed, as the title helpfully informs us, in next to nothing for an entire runtime. You want exploitation my friends, you’ve got it. The slasher sub-plot plays tenth-fiddle to more cleavage and bum shots than an Ann Summers catalogue. I had a feeling that I was in for a good time…
Swimwear Illustrated, the leading magazine for people who take their fashion sense and water sports seriously, are looking for five models for their anniversary issue. The women must represent the brand’s image and be beautiful, fit and presumably eager to whip off their undies. They head off to a remote island for the shoot, but after two days, they soon realise that one of their troupe has murderous intentions….
Although in reality this is not the case, Last Dance, instead of being a different movie, could have been a sequel or follow up to this. Both have an overdose of chicks in next to no clothing, both have an unseen mystery killer floating around and both have similar catchy soundtracks. To be frank, Bikini Island is the slasher movie equivalent of a Vodka and Coke that is 98.9% Coke. It takes us forty-five minutes or so to see the first killing and I had to fast forward through to check that it wasn’t just some cheesy late night drama or love story.
In the last half hour though, the maniac strikes. His weapon of choice – a kitchen plunger. No, seriously. We see in POV as two goons get ‘suffocated’ with said appliance and then he must’ve got bored, because out comes a length of hosepipe, a rock and a bow and arrow for the rest of the victims. Markes shows he knows the genre and attempts a rehash of the wonderful greenhouse killing from La Residencia. Minus the suspense, skilful photography, pulsating score, blood, shocks, superb performance and artistry, the two scenes are interchangeable. Our job of course is to guess the identity of our murderous psycho. To be fair, I had no idea, but that’s more down to randomness than brilliance on the screenwriter’s part. The final girl pouts her way through the last battle and we all live happily ever after. The end.
Despite its somewhat diluted feel, Bikini Island isn’t as boring as it could have been and it gleefully accepts the level of its ingenuity, which to be fair is pretty low. The producers were well aware that they had a cast with zero dramatic plausibility, so they have conjured up a script that specifically allows for this. What I didn’t like was that they killed a real mouse in a scene that was fairly pointless and it is something that I just don’t agree with. What did the mouse do to them?
This was released a few weeks before Popcorn proved that the slasher movie was no longer something that young audiences were interested in during the early nineties. It still became moderately successful enough for Markes to find funding for his follow-up and it was something of a staple on late night cable for many years and still plays even today. It’s by no means worth spending time hunting out, because it is far too weak and corny to be a compelling murder mystery. It scores points only because it is as cheesy as hell and amusing in an inadvertent type of way.
The first screen that we see boldly informs us that the picture that we are about to witness is ‘based on a true story’. Yes, that old transparent marketing chestnut that turns up every once in a while. I think we can quietly assume that they meant the ‘true story’ of a gang of models getting photographed and very little else. Pop-tastic soundtrack aside, Bikini Island is slasher by the numbers and as ‘lite’ as diet coke.
Final Girl: √√