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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.54%
Worth A Look: 3.85%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad76.92%
Total Crap: 7.69%

3 reviews, 8 user ratings

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Zombie Strippers
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"No Angry Strippers!"
2 stars

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Meet the Spartans, Rambo, The Eye, Strange Wilderness, Step Up 2 the Streets, Witless Protection, Doomsday, Shutter, Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns, Superhero Movie, The Ruins, Prom Night, Pathology and the forthcoming Deception. That’s the list of 15 titles that studios have withheld from critics in 2008 to date. Some, like last week’s Prom Night are unwatchable. Others like Rambo, Doomsday and the latest Uwe Boll craptacular exist as guilty pleasures, precisely where a film like Zombie Strippers seemingly would fit into. There’s just one distinct difference that sets it apart from that initial list. Sony Pictures was brave enough to screen it. For a studio that has helped lead the way for unscreened titles (thanks in great part to its Screen Gems division) like Ghost Rider, Ultraviolet and the Resident Evil sequels, I would like to extend a laurel…and hardy handshake to them for having the confidence that our Chicago critics are occasionally in the mood for an early Monday morning of blood, breasts and beasts. Bravo to you! I only wish the film was a little better.

In a future far more frightening than Richard Kelly’s Southland Tales, George W. Bush has been elected to a fourth term and he’s got his own news network (well, at least a second one after Fox News.) Public nudity has been outlawed and the only refuge for the horny males in Nebraska resides in the Rhino strip club owned by Ian Essko (Robert Englund). (And if you catch that existential reference off the bat, it’s either a major turn-on or turn-off.) In a nearby research facility where the discovery of skin rejuvenation has gone haywire, one tactical soldier (not the one fighting in just her bra) has been bitten and avoids being twice shy by hiding out at the club. It’s lead dancer, Kat (Jenna Jameson), is a diva who reads Neitzche but she finds a different sort of empowerment after being tackled off stage and a chunk taken out of her neck.

Graced with a clarity that naturally comes with being a super-stripper, Kat doesn’t just become a mindless eating machine. Not entirely. She dances wild first and then eats guys in the VIP room. (Anyone who heard stories about the defunct Crazy Horse Too in Vegas knows this is not a new phenomenon.) Ian is ecstatic about the business coming in while other stripp…dancers at the club are either envious or intrigued by Kat’s new lot in death. Lilith (Roxy Saint) is a goth chick not far removed from the other side to begin with and invites a bite from her idol. Jeannie (Shamron Moore) was momentarily happy at Kat’s demise but now finds her perfect skin booed off the stage. Jessy (Jennifer Holland) is the new Christian girl taking it all off for her nana and Berengé (Jeannette Sousa) is so hung up on the denigration of the profession it’s a wonder what’s she’s still doing there in the first place.

Unlike most horror films where characters of a college age are introduced almost at random to be nothing more than killing fodder, writer/director/editor/cinematographer Jay Lee, allows time for each of his girls to have adjectives in front of their professional titles. Perhaps a bit too much time as “pacer” is a credit Lee may want to look into the next time he goes Welles on us. Too often the film is stuck in neutral, never developing either a giddy pace with the horror and usually stopping dead altogether on the kind of bad puns usually found in direct-to-video hybrids. Save for a couple creative makeup effects or an unrated variation on Death Becomes Her, the moments of action-based carnage that bookend the film is filled with the static two-shot, point-and-shoot that could have used an adrenaline shot of whatever that zombie saliva holds. When you can’t make the Winona Ryder ping-pong ball trick work comically gory magic with billiard balls then its back to Film Techniques I with you.

In-between the bad acting of the military crew and the mostly failed comedy of the club management, there is some fun to be found in the search for Lee’s penultimate themes. (And anytime the word “theme” is attached to strippers without the use of a Warrant hit, you should pay attention.) Lee frequently overshoots his attempts at political satire and Iraq parallels (even the escaped carrier is named Byrdflough), but points for overshooting anything beyond washed hair. There aren’t as many existential tats as there are tits but with references to Sartre, Theosophy and other “transformation”-based literature, the film does squeeze out a few big laughs and assorted other chuckles. The revelation of how the zombie virus was initially released is actually a minor classic parodying the villainous plots and stupefying accidents of horror movies with a few too serious bones.

For the less serious, but equally important bones in the audience, it’s best to cut past the obvious jabs at the Dubya administration and apply your own metaphors to Zombie Strippers. For example, one could see the film as a precautionary tale for the strip club addict. It all begins in Vegas as a goof with the finest ladies imaginable and then as they bleed you dry in the back room all you’ll be able to afford are the kind of Midwest joints where rotting flesh and infection would be a step up. Oh you could go less esoteric and simply view it as the big-screen version of Jenna Jameson’s autobiography although with creative license taken on her dietary habits over the years. It would be nice to give Zombie Strippers the benefit of the doubt with screening confidence equalling quality, but the truth is it’s still average schlock, albeit one with a little something for every discerning male; big breasts, fake breasts, heavily pierced breasts, breasts with star pasties and bloody pasty breasts that are the true stars.

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originally posted: 04/18/08 14:00:00
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User Comments

4/04/12 Jason Coffman Nice practical effects, bad CG, awfully pretentious. 2 stars
11/16/11 Golden J. Williams Jr. Good movie, hysterical and socially relevant (GREED). 5 stars
6/30/08 Merek I loved this. From Nietzsche to Treasure of the Sierra Madre (think Blazing Saddles) 4 stars
6/02/08 mike pease this sooooooooooooooo sucked 1 stars
4/26/08 Teresa Goodwin I didn't think zombie movies could get any worse 1 stars
4/22/08 Bill Gibron, the fat sweaty critic Better than Rob Zombie's Halloween and Grindhouse together! 5 stars
4/22/08 David Blanco Freakin' GREAT 5 stars
4/19/08 Renee Didn't Care for it 2 stars
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  DVD: 28-Oct-2008


  DVD: 28-Oct-2008

Directed by
  Jay Lee

Written by
  Jay Lee

  Robert Englund
  Jenna Jameson
  Roxy Saint
  Joey Medina
  Shamron Moore
  Penny Drake

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