“How should we kill Becca?”
Christy Savage and Amy Slockbower seemed unlikely murderers. For one thing, they were both wearing pink—Slockbower a striped pink sweater and a plush cloche, and Savage a matching hot-pink Hello Kitty ski cap and gloves. For another, they were entirely too calm.
The two women put their heads together, literally, and considered their options. Throat cutting? Chest mauling? Face gouging?
“What are you wearing?” Slockbower asked. I unzipped my sweatshirt to reveal the hibiscus-patterned halter top of my swimsuit.
“Gut slash!” Slockbower said excitedly. Savage nodded in enthusiasm. I peered down at my belly, soft and white from hiding under sweaters since September. It looked vulnerable, and I guess I must have, too. Slockbower tried to be consoling. “That way,” she said, “you won’t have to get blood on your bikini.”
I nodded and headed to makeup, where “George the gore guy” would make me the next victim of the Monster from Bikini Beach. The latest feature-length exploitation creation from Trash Film Orgy honchos Savage, Slockbower and Darin Wood, the movie is a simple tale of a flesh-eating monster, a beach full of sexy women and a go-go dance contest gone tragically wrong. The 15-person crew and 50-person cast (30 of whom perish onscreen) are midway through an eight-month shooting schedule. Filming began outdoors in September, but the dark winter months have necessitated a move into a downtown warehouse. The large open space is filled with TFO’s trademark tiki décor, props, lights and a powerful propane heater around which the actors huddle when they’re not on camera.
I answered Savage’s e-mail call for extras last weekend, just in time for the film’s mass-killing sequences. Had I been a week earlier, I would have been a dancer at a Gidget-style beach party, but as it turned out Friday was my day to die.
I took off my hoodie and lay flat on a wooden box as George assembled his materials. To stave off the cold, I kept my sweatpants on, pulling them low to expose my underbelly. George dabbed my stomach with liquid latex as I tried not to giggle. For the next hour, I stayed as still as I could while George fashioned a mortal wound across my midriff with alternating layers of latex and scrunched toilet paper. Various crew members walked by, examined my belly and nodded approvingly. Savage scampered over and snapped some photos. I felt like the board game Operation.
The cold grew more intense as time went on. When George hosed down the wound with an icy airbrush spray of flesh-colored paint, it took all my willpower to keep from curling into a fetal position. Fortunately, he quickly applied Ben Nye Thick Blood to all the gashes and sent me to dry in front of the propane heater.
I happily basked in warmth while two other actors debated whether my makeup looked delicious, like strawberry cake, or disgusting enough to put you off jam forever. Before the dispute was settled, Slockbower announced I would be the night’s first victim.
She gestured to a corner lit with blue and red lights, where Savage and Wood waited with a camera. After some brief coaching in screaming (less “Eeee!” and more “Hulghhrggh”), I lurched in front of the camera shrieking like I’d just been gutted, staggered backward and collapsed onto the floor, limbs dashed in all directions.
“Stay dead!” Wood yelled. I obeyed, commanding myself not to shiver on the chilly concrete. When I heard the shot was good, I leapt off the floor in one motion.
George peeled off the wound—an hour’s work gone after a few seconds of shooting—and sent me to the bathroom to wash up. Unfortunately, I got a large patch of blood on the crotch of my sweatpants in the process, so I emerged looking unsavory, to say the least. There was no time to be self-conscious, though. Against the wall, an actor was having his throat slashed and back at the propane heater, the crew was deliberating: “How shall we kill Ducky?”