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May 17, 2012

Midnight Movie of the Week #124 - The Ghost In The Invisible Bikini

Don't look at me....I can't explain it either.

I might have been supposed to say SPOILER ALERT right then, considering that quote I just typed is the final line of The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini.  But anyone who's gonna be upset about spoilers for a movie called The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini isn't ready for The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini.   Heck, anyone who's planning on looking at a movie and going "oh, I didn't like how they did that scene" or "I think the tone could have been different when Monstro ripped apart the bars of his cage" isn't ready for The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini.  This is not one of them "thinking" movies.
I probably sound kind of silly, and I will continue to sound so for what is likely to be the rest of this article.  But there is something in my brain - something I, like the quote says, just can't explain - that tells me that The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini is basically the greatest mindless movie ever made.  The part of me that's researched cinema of the '50s and '60s and knows that there were tons and tons of beach party/haunted house/haunted beach party movies that came long before this one - which arrived at the tale end of that cinematic "movement" in 1966 - should probably dismiss the movie too, considering it's derivative of a lot of movies that came before it.  But those parts of me just have to be content to shut the heck up right now. Because I've been in love with The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini for several years now, and they don't have the power to take that from me.
Just listen to this set up: A recently deceased rich old guy, Hiram Stokely (played by the late Boris Karloff) is woken from his coffin by his old lover Cecily, a trapeze artist/sex symbol who tragically lost her life in a circus accident.  She lets him in on the secret of his passing, but informs him that she's here to help him "get up there". To achieve that, he has to do one good deed within 24 hours - which he parlays into a gathering of his heirs at his old, allegedly haunted estate.  He can't leave the crypt - I guess that first day of being buried is kinda an incubation period? - but if Cecily can prevent his bad heir (a sinister guy named Reginald Ripper who's played by none less than Basil Rathbone) from getting the estate and help his good heirs gain the prize and his millions, then Hiram's headed to the pearly gates.
As the characters converge on the old haunted estate, a pool party - complete with band and musical numbers led by Nancy Freakin' Sinatra - breaks out.  A seance happens, a biker gang starts to scope the joint, and a couple of circus workers show up with a giant ape in the back of their truck.  Ripper's redheaded daughter, Sinistra, tries to use her assets to woo one of the young heirs, while the two less party-centric young heirs team up to try and find a positive solution to this night of terror.  As you would guess, a mild form of madness follows.
As the characters all race around the house, crashing into each other and their surroundings, Cecily's ghost from the title moves among them - invisible bikini and all - manipulating the surroundings and causing a lot of confusion for the less morally driven partygoers.  Primarily, this means we get to see a blue outline of Susan Hart - minus those areas that would have required a bikini - popping up on the screen and making some sort of silly thing happen.  Sounds childish? Yep. But it's so ridiculously fun.
And, knowing that no movie is truly complete without some man-in-gorilla-suit action, the carnival star known as Monstro starts to make his way through the house - all the way into the "Chamber of Horrors" where the film ends as the mayhem escalates throughout the last 20 minutes of the film.  I seriously want a guy in a gorilla suit in every movie ever, you guys.  I know that's ridiculous, but I dang sure want it...and you can't take that from me.  Guys in gorilla (or ape or orangutan or whatever they are) suits are ALWAYS welcome in my world.
If you can't have fun with The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini, I'm just not sure I can talk to you right now.  It's basically like watching a live action version of Scooby Doo, except there's no stoner and dog and there's lots of girls in bikinis and there's goofy musical numbers and there's Boris Karloff getting hit on by a cute blonde who then becomes a ghost with no bikini.  And that's really all you need to know.  If you think that sounds like fun, you should probably check out The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini.  I can't explain why...but I know I'm right.  And that will help me to sleep well tonight.
 The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini kind of completes me.

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