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DVD Review: The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966)

GhostibikinipThe Ghost in the Invisible Bikini was the last film in AIP’s “Beach Party” movie series and the corny jokes, bad acting and poorly plotted scripts were starting to wear on audiences. The studio decided to spice things up a bit by bringing in horror legend Boris Karloff along with Basil Rathbone, and having the beach party take place inside a spooky mansion with a pool, but the results are a mixed-bag.

The movie begins when a cute ghost in an invisible bikini named Cecily (Susan Hart) returns to earth to help her recently deceased lover Hiram (Boris Karloff) get into heaven. Hiram spent his life making money by swindling people in the carnival business and now that he has died, he must perform a good deed in order to pass through the pearly gates to spend an eternity with Cecily.

Hiram soon realizes that his money hungry lawyer Mr. Ripper (Basil Rathbone) is planning to steal Hiram’s hidden fortune for himself, so Hiram & Cecily come up with their own plan to stop him so that the rightful heirs to Hiram’s estate can get what’s coming to them.

The heir’s to Hiram’s fortune consist of his cousin Myrtle (Patsy Kelly), Chuck Phillips (Tommy Kirk) and Lili Morton (Deborah Walley). The fathers of both Chuck & Lili ran carnivals that had been swindled by Hiram, so Hiram hopes to make up for his bad deeds by leaving Chuck & Lilly part of his fortune.

All three of the potential heirs arrive at Hiram’s estate for a reading of the will and soon after Myrtle’s nephew Bobby (Aron Kincaid) and and his beach buddies arrive for a pool party. Some of Bobby’s friends include Nancy Sinatra as Vicki, the Italian pop singer Piccola Pupa and the The Bobby Fuller Four band who all get to perform in the movie

As the convoluted plot progresses, a biker gang lead by Eric Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck) also shows up and tries to get their hands on Hiram’s hidden fortune as well.

The greedy lawyer Mr. Ripper tries everything he can think of to rid Hiram’s mansion of it’s heirs and the troublesome Beach Party kids, but Cecily (aka “the ghost in the invisible bikini”) is determined to help Hiram reach heaven and she makes sure that his fortune is found by Chuck & Lili.

The movie’s stars (Tommy Kirk & Deborah Walley) were cute teen idols trying to replace the previous Beach Party stars Frankie Avalon & Annette Funicello. Tommy & Deborah don’t have the same chemistry that Frankie & Anette had, and they both seem rather bored with their roles.

The best thing about this movie is the music. The musical numbers performed by Nancy Sinatra and The Bobby Fuller Four are fun to watch and composer Les Baxter also scored the film. Most of the humor falls flat and the movie drags on at times so it’s hard to recommend, but if you liked the previous Beach Party movies you’ll probably enjoy The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini.

The movie is available on a NTSC Region-1 DVD from MGM as part of their Midnite Movies Double Feature series and comes with another horror comedy made in 1959 called Ghost Of Dragstrip Hollow. The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini is presented in widescreen and the movie both looks & sounds terrific.

For more information about the DVD please see Amazon.

- Kimberly Lindbergs

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