Robert Englund - Ian Essko
Jenna Jameson - Kat
Roxy Saint - Lillith
Joey Medina - Paco
Carmit Levite - Madame Blavatski
Shamron Moore - Jeannie
Penny Drake - Sox
Jennifer Holland - Jessy
John Hawkes - Davis
Jeannette Sousa - Berenge
Whitney Anderson - Gaia
Genre - Horror/Zombie/B-Movie
Running Time - 96 Minutes
Score - 3.5 Howls Outta 4
There are several ways how a certain film can capture my attention. One way is through the trailer. If what I see in the previews to a film grabs me on some level, I'm gonna be interested in paying money in order to see it. Another way is through association with certain directors and actors. If I'm a fan of the people involved with making of the film, I'll probably be watching it as soon as its released.
And then sometimes, it's the title alone that catches my eye. When you see news for a film called ZOMBIE STRIPPERS, you're gonna want to know more about it even if the title doesn't really give one hope that it's gonna be a great film. And really...who cares if the film is great and how it was made or promoted? C'mon, look at the title! The film has zombies. The film has strippers. Hell, it'll probably have both in one! If it has those three things, I'm gonna be there! And I was there, witnessing one of the awesomely bad B-movies I have seen in a very long time. ZOMBIE STRIPPERS is not false advertising, ladies and gents. The title says it all and this review will say it all: ZOMBIE STRIPPERS is one of the best horror flicks of 2008. Yes, I actually wrote that with a straight face. This film rocks!
It's 2012 and George W. Bush has won a fourth term as President of the United States with his Vice President Elect, Arnold Schwarzenegger. If that doesn't qualify as pure horror, I don't know what will. A military force stumble upon an evil corporation that seems to have created some sort of biological weapon/virus in order to create super-soldiers out of the unfortunate [a.k.a. the poor]. The corporation wants the military to kill everyone in the lab since the virus has spilled out and turned them all into zombies.
During the battle, a rookie soldier gets bitten by one of the infected and escapes to a nearby strip club run by Ian Essko (Robert Englund). In this strip club, Kat (Jenna Jameson) is top dog and the other strippers are either jealous of Kat, followers of Kat, or just indifferent altogether. During one of Kat's performances on stage, the infected soldier, now a zombie, spears Kat off of the stage and bites her to death. However, Kat returns as a zombie and does what she does best - strip. Even decaying, covered in her own blood, and hungry for human flesh, Kat is a better stripper dead than she ever was alive. Kat becomes more popular, making Ian a greedier bastard and keeping her around even though she eats some of the paying customers. The rest of the strippers, wanting the attention, decide to become zombies themselves. Unfortunately, the zombie epidemic spreads to the point where there's too many of them to control, leaving Ian and his staff struggling with their survival.
ZOMBIE STRIPPERS gives you what the title is advertising. You get a bunch of flesh-eating zombies. You get a bunch of hot strippers who actually get fully naked and grind on a strip pole. And then you get a combination of both. How awesome is that? And this film is pretty awesome, as it's a pretty fun B-movie that I'm sure many will enjoy if they don't take the film so seriously.
The film actually has a plot, which I detailed above, and it isn't so bad. ZOMBIE STRIPPERS isn't exactly a story-driven film but there is a level of social commentary being told here if you can read between the lines. While the film is mainly about girls stripping and zombies eating people in vicious ways, there's a subtext about the social hierarchy that pretty much runs our lives day to day. The strip club is pretty much a metaphor of our government and the strippers themselves are representations of the social ladder many of us try to climb and sometimes decline. Kat is the upper class of the club, gaining the attention and the rewards from her superiors. The other strippers fall below her, jealous of Kat and wanting her spot - or to at least share her spot. When Kat is turned into a zombie and becomes one of the most acrobatic strippers ever on film, she becomes more popular. Even dead and rotting, the men throwing bills at her find her hotter as a corpse than when she was alive. This causes the other strippers to think about risking their lives in order to become zombie strippers themselves so they can reap the rewards. It's like going against your morals and doing things that you know are wrong just to make your dreams come true. It's not right but you know that you'll be better off at the end in the material world. Ian, the strip club owner, represents the greedy corporations who take advantage of their workers in order to gain a profit. He degrades his strippers to make them feel less than human, knowing that their weakness will make him stronger and richer. And the military plays itself, knowing right from wrong but not caring about those things when orders are given and they must use every method in order to stay alive. I read a lot of reviews saying how weak the commentary was in this film, but I don't think many really LOOKED to really see it. Hell, all I cared about was seeing a bunch of hot girls slide down a pole while zombies tore them apart and I still managed to learn something from it at the same time. How come others weren't able to do that?
The script by Jay Lee and his sister, Angela, was based on some French play called Rhinoceros by Eugene Ionesco. Since I've never seen that play, I can't compare the two. I will say that the script isn't really strong in terms of character development or telling an intelligent story from point A to point B. I mean most of the film is just women dancing nude. It doesn't require a lot of dialogue to make these scenes work. But the dialogue outside of these scenes is pretty funny and clever enough to entertain. Besides, no one is watching ZOMBIE STRIPPERS for its script. Let's be honest here.
The gore FX here was pretty fuckin' cool, I gotta say. It's pretty much CGI but it's good looking CGI. There's a lot of blood spilling in this film and some really cool deaths. One involves a penis being ripped off. Someone gets their skull scalped and their brains eaten. Necks get chomped. We get a decapitated head. Bullets and other weapons splatter some blood, especially the head shots that make heads explode. And my favorite was when a head was actually ripped in half! I actually said, "Holy Shit!" when I saw that. This is what a zombie film should look like and I couldn't get enough.
And of course, we get hot naked ladies strutting their stuff and grinding on a steel pole. Boner City, I say! Jenna Jameson and the rest of the female cast that stripped were really smokin' and did not hold back at all. Hell, the best part was the stripper catfight scene with Jameson and Shamron Moore, who pretty much tore each other's flesh [literally] off of their bodies. I will never forget the part where Jameson actually puts a bunch of balls [pool balls and golf balls] inside her vagina and shoots them like its a cannon to attack Moore. I was dying and it's something I've never seen in a horror flick before. Nice to see the use of both ZOMBIES and STRIPPERS and making it work for our entertainment.
The direction by Jay Lee isn't gonna change the world or anything. But he's more than capable of giving us visuals we won't forget for a very long time. It's pretty much a point and shoot affair, but the editing is tight and there's a sleazy atmosphere that can be felt most of the time. The film does look like some of those softcore films you can find on Cinemax at night, but I actually felt it gave ZOMBIE STRIPPERS its charm and appeal. Not the best direction I've seen in my life but I can't complain about it either.
The acting was pretty much campy and not all that great. But in a B-movie, that's pretty much the point. Robert Englund plays it over-the-top like he usually does and it works here. Englund plays a disgusting, chauvinistic, greedy bastard of a strip club owner who puts his workers down but doesn't mind if they put money in his pocket. And you totally buy it, even though a part of you does find the guy likeable because Englund shows how much he enjoys the role. You can never knock Robert Englund so I'm not going to. Jenna Jameson, surprisingly, does a pretty good job here as Kat. It's not like I didn't think she could act. Out of all the modern porn stars out there, I always felt Jameson had the chops to have a decent mainstream career. ZOMBIE STRIPPERS isn't a bad place to start that at all. She's quite appealing and can carry lines well. She's also a great stripper. Surprisingly, her acting is actually better she plays a member of the undead, wearing a bunch of makeup and looking like she's having the time of her life. I thought Jameson did a great job and I wouldn't mind seeing her do more mainstream work once she gives birth to her twins.
The other actors are decent and do enough to create funny characters and have a place in the story and film. I do think Roxy Saint, Joey Medina, and Carmit Levite stood out besides Englund and Jameson. Saint played the gothic stripper, Lillith, who idolized Kat. She turned me on with her dark character and her seductive dancing, especially as a zombie. Joey Medina played Paco, the stereotypical Mexican janitor. Either you'll hate him or laugh with him because Medina as Paco will offend some Mexicans. I thought he was funny and his sparring with Englund who pretty much called him every Mexican slur in the book was hilarious as well. And Carmit Levite as the Russian, Madame Blavatski, was funny as well with her one liners. Nice cast for a low-budget flick.
My only real beef was the last few minutes of the film. ZOMBIE STRIPPERS should not be a serious film, but it got sort of serious as it wound down. It also tried some heavy duty political commentary while it was at it and it didn't really do much to help the story. Oh well.
THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE GATHERING DOLLAR BILLS FOR A ZOMBIE LAP DANCE
- In 2012, George W. Bush will win a 4th term as United States President with his Vice President pick, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Wow, the KINDERGARDEN COP and the guy who probably never graduated past Kindergarden. I had no idea END OF DAYS 2 was in production!
- You can't kill zombies with an electromagnetic pulse. But you can kill their Presidential hopes by pairing them with a dumbass hockey mom/Governor who thinks running for top office is like competing in a beauty pageant. Even Joe Six-Pack knows this! *Wink*
- Some strippers will sit on your face and give birth to your head. As far as I'm concerned, that is the true meaning of reincarnation. Oh to be born again...
- A zombie attempted to eat a scared Jenna Jameson. I don't know why she was so surprised by that. It happened all the time at her old job...
- Kat was a better stripper dead than she was alive. It turned me on so much that I may have to consider necrophilia. Again.
- Don't ever receive a blowjob from a hot zombie. She'll bit off more than you can chew. Literally.
- Don't get seduced by a zombie stripper. Her act will eventually give you a headache. Literally.
- A zombie's favorite film is THE WARRIORS. Funny how the dead have better taste in films than most of the living. BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA? Really?
- Davis, who wanted to get laid with the prudish Jessy before dying, promised he wouldn't stick it in her all the way. Okay, who stole my journal and has been using my life story? Um I mean...yeah...that's funny...heh...because that would never happen in real life...yeah...
- Jenna Jameson got stabbed three times in the head. Talk about deep penetration!
THE FINAL HOWL
Yeah, I can't believe it either - ZOMBIE STRIPPERS is one of the best horror flicks of 2008. It's not a great film in the slightest but it's one of those films that is so bad that it's good. Plus it'll put a smile on your face when you're watching it with your buddies while drinking beer and chewing on some popcorn. Here's a movie that finally gives the viewer exactly what it's promoting and I am totally appreciative of that. Definitely rent this one if you just want to be silly on a Friday or Saturday Night. Hell, I'm buying this one eventually when I get the chance. If you like zombies and if you like boobs, boobs, and more boobs - you can't go wrong with ZOMBIE STRIPPERS.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to work out the rigor mortis that's suddenly affected my penis. Now where's the baby oil...?