Kiff Scholl’s Scream of the Bikini (2009) is a spoof of such sixties classics as The Million Eyes Of Su Muru (1967), Modesty Blaise (1966), and the films of Armando Bó. It’s reminiscent of the film within the film in Roman Coppola’s CQ (2001), but not in a good way. In theory, what Scholl attempts to achieve sounds like a lot of fun, but in reality it’s one of the most abominable films I have ever seen.
What made Anna Biller’s The Love Witch (2016) such a success is exactly what is lacking in Scream of the Bikini. Biller earnestly employs sixties cinematic motifs to express something about that aesthetic and the role of women within the discourse surrounding films of that ilk. Her attention to detail and perfectionist approach to production design only further elevate The Love Witch in a way that has proved impossible for Scholl and company.
Scream of the Bikini is intentionally bad as part of its parody of a specific niche genre almost unique to the cinema of the sixties. Unfortunately these films never took themselves seriously in the first place, often existing as a form of deliberate self parody. It’s the inherent post-modernism of a film like The Girl From Rio (1969) that negates the need for parody outside of itself. It’s redundant for Scream of the Bikini to parody these films when it doesn’t even attempt to add anything to the discourse surrounding these sixties cult classics.
Scream of the Bikini is just a notch below Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries (2019) in evoking the style and atmosphere of sixties B-Movie spy flicks. Kelsey Wedeen and Rebecca Larsen, the leads in Scream of the Bikini, are just too self-conscious about their camp. Fans of sixties spy films should avoid Scream of the Bikini at all costs.