Quantcast FIRST LOOK: ZOMBIE STRIPPERS with Jenna Jameson, Robert Englund


FIRST LOOK: ZOMBIE STRIPPERS - by Phil Fasso

There has been a glut of zombie movies on the market the last few years. Sparked by the arrival of the highly popular, financially successful 28 Days Later, filmmakers have returned to the living dead en masse; returned to it so often, in fact, that it seems one of every three horror releases nowadays revolves around the undead. While some have stayed within the confines of Romero country, others have veered wildly off that course, venturing onto untouched grounds. Which means it was only a matter of time before the zombies hit the strip club. Yes, folks, Zombie Strippers is the latest crazy swerve in my favorite horror sub-genre. Read on to see whether the zombies laid down smart money for the buxom babes, or if they should've stayed home with their fat, unattractive wives instead.
Zombie Strippers dumps a lot of exposition in quick fashion. After a brief scene which tells the audience that President Bush has made himself dictator of the United States, the film turns to a government lab where the government has created zombies. A crack military team arrives to purge the area of the undead. When one of the soldiers is bitten, he decides he'd rather escape than let his fellow officers put him down. He hides in an underground strip club; when he bites the star stripper, business picks up in more ways than one.

All of this is played for a goof. But then again, it's not. See, Zombie Strippers wants to be two very different movies. It functions best when it acts like a funny, gory romp. A lot of humorous quips fly from the characters' mouths, especially from Jenna Jameson as Cat, the main attraction on the stage, and Robert Englund as the club's clearly gay owner, Ian Essko (I'll get back to that name later).
Blood spurts as strippers start to rot, blowjobs get ghastly and bullets fly by the thousands. Sex and death combine for a twisted concoction, and in the bargain raise some perverse questions: What does it say about young males in general when, once introduced to the undead strippers, they boo the living ones off the stage? How vain are the strippers that the still living ones want to be dead so they can make more cash? Even if you don't get all profound and ask yourself these questions, the film works on a bluntly simple level: boobs and gore.
Then there's Zombie Strippers, the philosophical treatise. Frequently, the characters break out into conversations about existentialism, fatalism and the ideas of Frederick Nietzsche. Not only are these discussions totally out of place in what is intended to be a comedy horror, but they stop the movie dead. All the action crashes to a halt as the film's writer tries to impress you with what he learned in his Psych 101 class freshman year in college. These pretentious displays of knowledge extend to the name of the club and Englund's character's name; as Mike C. informed me before we entered the theatre, the filmmakers claim that Zombie Strippers is based on Eugene Ionesco's famous absurdist play, The Rhinoceros. This is about as far a stretch as a claim could ever be (even if I really got a kick out of the neon rhinos with the G string panties!) All this heavy handed material should have been excised from this film and saved for another, more serious effort.
The film suffers from two more problems: it runs about 20 minutes too long, and it has too many story threads going at once as it careens toward its ending. A better job of editing would have fixed both of these. Unfortunately, these errors lead to a final act that is more than a bit of a mess. The final product leaves me thinking of what this movie could have been, if only created under a surer hand.
Based on the title alone, I had very low expectations for Zombie Strippers. Surprisingly, it exceeded those expectations, but still wasn't anything more than good. Had it stayed as simple as its title and not been so uneven, I probably would have liked it a lot more.

As it stands, however, I can't recommend it. There are much better things to do with the ten bucks you'd spend to buy the movie ticket. After all, a beer at a strip club runs about 7 bucks nowadays. And that still leaves you with three bucks for the next performance. --Phil Fasso


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