If the economic collapse of Greece is bugging you, (I mean, what do you do when the progenitor of Western Civilization defaults on its loans?) simply turn to EI Cinema for this bargain-priced collection of cheesy shockers. Like, what's to complain? Four movies for the price of one, and Misty Mundae appears scantily clad (at best) in three of them! You see; that there is one of my new tricky psychological writing techniques there. Point being, if you enjoy cheesy horror, and more importantly, if you know that Mundae is a delightfully taut scream queen, then you're on the same page as me, and I can dispense with the think-think, while moving on to ... well ... Anyway, if you don't meet the two above criteria, see ya!
Mundae stars in a pseudo-wraparound story as a beleaguered schlock-star with a yen to grow her career, that is until she's fired. Seizing the chance to rejuvenate, she rents a remote country home that's home to an undead wizard or something. If only she'd watched her own movies! Meanwhile her ex-producers begin auditioning new actresses, which gives them the opportunity to screen other (truncated) schlock movies, including one about aliens in a junkyard, and another about a suspicious sleep study clinic that specializes in sleazy sex and naked women.
Piper clearly knows which choir he's preaching to, larding his ideas with plenty of in-jokes, none more appealing than watching Mundae send herself up. She's self-aware but not self-serious. In fact, Piper hits enough marks - both smart and stupid - to make you wonder if he isn't aiming at the 'Low Art' label. His alien-infested junkyard features a plausible giant-junk-robot (yes) animated in vintage stop-motion animation style. That's one part of overall nice production design, but it doesn't hide the fact that our trapped heroes spend too much time yapping for a 25-minute snippet. Thankfully lots of nudity, a little gut ripping, kooky humor, and Mundae chopping up a zombie with a chainsaw appear to alleviate minor boredom. For another positive take on the movie, click here.
Monkiewicz sturdily plays a stud sent along on the shoot to ensure the girls aren't abused, but the whole bunch of them end up taking it, not only from Joseph Farrell's haughty photographer, but also from the silly ghosts who eventually show up to ensure that at least the girls do some screaming. That said, Monkiewicz and Mundae turn in the best performances. Though rough around the edges, these two take much of the load for the others, particularly Farrell, who seems a bit stilted throughout. Meanwhile, location shooting adds plenty of welcome atmosphere to go with random, gratuitous cheesecake shots, such as a lengthy conversation between the photographer and one of his vixens, that takes place entirely while the girl is showering.
However, when supernatural action goes into high gear, things begin to slip. Not that I'm really complaining, but ghostly behavior exhibited is just corny - especially that of the lead specter, who comes off as a silly, demented circus master - which doesn't really follow suit with the more serious goings-on that form the lead up. Luckily a little splashy gore and some more WIP nudity concludes this moderately muted shocker. Or, this might also inform your take on this movie.
You'll need nothing more from this blithe, old-fashioned monster movie. Hysteria is cranked up to some type of pitch, fever, I'd reckon, by the workmanlike but wholly enthusiastic cast. Delirious, tormented dream sequences betray a scientist's guilt while sending viewers into assorted acid flashbacks, and director Piper's creature takes center stage, just as it should be.
How many times have you ponied up for one of myriad contemporary monster features only to be disappointed by a dopey looking CGI creature that only stomps around for the last ten minutes of the movie? Piper fully understands that's the wrong approach, deploying his beastie with abandon. And this is the type of awesome monster action that will have you coming back for repeat viewings. Animated in such a way that you'll be wondering just how Piper did it, the bacterium slithers, oozes, creeps, mutates and throbs delightfully. The creature isn't clunky like bad stop-motion animation, or crappy like low-rent CGI, it's just darn cool.
It doesn't matter that the storyline is a little simple or derivative, (with nods to Contamination, Dawn Of The Dead, The Blob and The Crazies, among others) or that characterizations are easy and thin, Bacterium puts its money where its devouring orifice is. Faces melt, (some in ultra-silly fashion) chests explode, and the 21st Century's rightful replacement for The Green Slime is here. Bacterium, thy name is fun.
The ever-popular Misty Mundae and the rest of Piper's standard motley crew do their best to make you feel at home. Clothes are dropped frequently, while all of the actors seem so comfortable with each other that you can't begrudge their loose performances. It's no secret that Piper works quickly, with low budgets, so even if he wanted to squeeze more sincerity from his cast he simply couldn't. And of course it wouldn't really be necessary, what with the subject matter at hand. Nonetheless, one suspects that given the time, Piper and crew could concoct a movie that might be taken seriously, for whatever that's worth.
Yet, why would you make a serious movie, when you can make one full of stripper humor, among other things. Piper even drags out a Scooby Doo plot device - in addition to avoiding blood-sucking alien spiders, it seems imperative for our heroes to 'save the strip club' that an evil developer is desperate to sell out from under its shyster owner. But really, once you've witnessed a seriously lazy stripper who falls asleep at the pole, you'll not only be ashamed at yourself for laughing, you'll also be ready to look for the next Brett Piper exploitation quickie.
Eventually, Mundae gets fed up with the spiders - spiders brought to life by Pipers wonderful lunch-bucket stop-motion animation. Donning Rambo-style battle togs, Mundae goes on a rampage, ushering in even more fun. But if you've made it this far into Bite Me!, you already know what type of movie you like, and you'll realize that this is just one of those movies. Silly, sexy, crammed with dorky monster thrills and enough good humor to choke Jonathan Winters, (if you're old enough to remember Winters selling ice cream, slap me five) Bite Me! is lowbrow fun that really satisfies. Read here for another take.
I suppose I owe Piper and friends this much: Each film in this collection displays true love for genre cinema, and each is directed with style and flair, making the most of miniscule budgets. Sure, these movies aren't really scary, and the actors appear to be having a little too much fun (and not burning enough takes) to be getting paid, but those things are essentially beside the point. Lovers of this stuff want cheap, smart laughs, cheesy gore, great monsters and much, much nudity. Piper delivers in spades, and he doesn't insult you in the process. If you know what you're getting into, (and you don't own too many of these movies already) this collection comes recommended.
Finally, 6 - 7-page Liner Notes for all films but Bacterium, plus a Poster Order Form, come in this standard-sized keepcase with a flipper insert.