Academic Perspective

An Academic Perspective on Teenage Bikini Vampire – the Short Film and Screenplay
By Justin Krivickas

“American film parody is a comic, yet generally affectionate and distorted, imitation of a given genre, auteur, or specific work” (Gehring1). Teenage Bikini Vampires is a comedy which parodies elements associated with the horror genre. The film incorporates the 1960’s California surfing mindset with an Addams Family esque family. Comedy is injected into the story by parodying the vampire way of life such as their need for blood to the dangers of sunlight. In the following paragraphs I will explore the film’s use of comedy based upon the vampire.

The contrast between the typical vampire personas with Sadie’s quirky teenage tastes gives humor a perfect outlet for comparison. Vampires are typically portrayed as having morbid personalities. Yet, instead of being gloomy, Sadie is shown to be a happy go lucky teenager fascinated with surfing, the beach, and dancing. Her daydream about Frankie exemplifies these traits and her need to smile and have fun. When Sadie decides to give up surfing and her former beach mentality, the audience sees her clunking about her room listening to gloomy music. The audience cannot help but laugh at her transformation because it is merely superficial and atypical for her vibrant personality.

Also, the vampires’ aversion to daylight is parodied in the film. Sadie’s love of the beach comes into conflict with being a vampire. She is unable to enjoy the sun’s rays because of the harm they cause for vampires and can only visit the locale at night. Comedy is injected in this struggle when she is found with a bottle of heavy duty sunblocker. When she abandons the idea of using this sunblocker to visit the beach during daylight, she turns to self tanning cream. As a result of its application, her skin’s appearance is described as a ridiculous blotchy orange.

Also, the need for blood is another element which is parodied in the film. Since vampires rely on blood to survive, this substance is an integral part of the vampire genre and great fodder for comedy. For example, in the family’s fridge a carton of blood sits on the shelf instead of milk. At the vampire meeting, Boris stresses the evils of American culture on teenage vampires and how young vampires are turning away from their heritage and a thirst for blood to that of coca cola. Blood is again used for humor purposes when Sadie’s parents are at the banquet. Their affinity for this liquid is compared to a fine wine. Instead of waiters carrying glasses of wine around the room, each server has a tube running from them for the guests to drink from. Also, Sadie’s siblings’ drunken stupor and their comedic jail break are directly related to blood. Because the siblings drank blood from a drunken tramp, they too became intoxicated.

The vampire aversion for garlic also plays an integral part in the film’s comedic development. Garlic fries appear throughout screenplay and the connection between Boris and them leaves the audience puzzled. Appearing to be a vampire, Boris should loathe this snack but instead is shown to enjoy eating them. One of the comic highpoints of the screenplay is when Boris is revealed to be Stinky Pete Jr. and thus the owner of the garlic French fry company. This joke is further developed with Ophelia’s film competition. The movie ends with Sadie’s siblings winning the contest and a lifetime supply of garlic fries, a prize they could do without.

“This is an ongoing comic celebration of everything called parody” (Gehring 24). The nature of the film relies on comic relief. By removing vampires from the horror genre and placing them in a comedic context, the audience is given a cross-genre mutant. Teenage Bikini Vampires relies on elements associated with the vampire to create humor. Also, Sadie’s conflict between being a vampire and wanting to be a typical beach loving teenager gives the story ample sources to draw humor from. With a focus on the vampires’ lives and daily routines, the audience is presented with characters that are both different and oddly similar to themselves.

Cited: Parody as Film Genre: Never Give a Saga an Even Break. By Wes D. Gehring.