Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Zombie Strippers
“Let’s see if I got this straight – our best stripper is a reanimated corpse who is feeding off the living flesh of our customers, who in turn reanimate, even if they’re just a fucking head?”
I know that you do your utmost to provide a great service, but occasionally I do have to complain. This postal strike, although entirely not your fault is frankly getting on my nerves. Please remove finger from backside and send me more schlocky goodness.
In all seriousness, this was meant to be a review of something else, but is now a review of Zombie Strippers: the film that does exactly what it says on the tin. They’re strippers and they’re the living dead. That’s it, the whole premise of the film.
Kind of cool, eh?
Zombie Strippers does, believe it or not, make a token attempt at a plot. It is a bit pointless on the basis that the whole film is about undead exotic dancers, but I suppose it would get a bit dull to look at decaying feeders for 90 minutes.
Alright then, it most likely would not, but we will never get the chance to find out now.
Nonetheless, in this exploitative little gem they go to great lengths to establish motivation for the zombies. Motivation, for fuck’s sake! Next thing we will see is zombies in need of therapy. This would be terrible. A zombie should have no more motivation than “braiiiiiins”.
Zombie Strippers opens in a military complex, where they have been experimenting with some sort of serum. The serum turns men into mindless zombie drones, but if a woman is infected she becomes extremely good, bordering on superb, at her one main skill. Anyhow, one of the soldiers (male) becomes infected and escapes the complex (it does look like it’s set in downtown LA). Being male he hides out in the first welcoming place, which is the brilliantly sited strip bar next door. Horny soldiers and nerds next to a strip bar! That place should be a goldmine. Everything then becomes pretty predictable with the dancers becoming infected and chowing down on idiotic men before all being re-killed by some soldiers that took, bizarrely, days to travel the total distance of 8 feet to the bar.
What is good about this? Well, I know this sounds a bit unlikely but actually quite a lot. The acting is surprisingly good, and it is also surprisingly sharp. Robert Englund (slumming it again) is absolutely incredible as the sleazy owner Ian and steals the film wholesale. He’s fucking hilarious, with minor OCD and fear of catching something from the disease ridden whores in his stable. This is unfair, they aren’t disease ridden at the start. They become disease ridden, but he did jump the gun a touch. Jenna Jameson as head stripper, Kat, is good-ish but you suspect that this is the role she was born to play, and Roxy Saint is excellent as the goth stripper. Joey Medina is very, very funny as Paco the Mexican cleaner charged with disposing of the victims. All in all it is a well acted film. Paco is the brunt of lots of ethnically charged jokes, which to be honest are all quite funny. A good comic relief performance.
The gore is also brilliantly done, and the gradual decomposition of the girls is handled well. It’s fucking repulsive the state they are in at the end. There are several excellent effects that they wheel out to prove they could, but I do have to say that there is a nasty whiff of CGI in this film. CGI has no place in a zombie film. There is nothing a computer can do in a zombie film that can’t be done more convincingly with practical effects. Irritating but not a deal breaker.
As this is a film that’s more awesome than good, it is pretty obvious that there is going to be a high level of suckitude present. And, predictably, there is. Almost all of it stems from overinflated ambitions. This is not high art, and tacking on a fucking stupid, useless, brainless, laughable (but not in a good way) social commentary is just going to highlight the flaws in the film. The film opens with an attempt at biting satire that certainly does bite.
We are told that this is now George Bush’s 4th term (I am yet to meet an American that actually voted for him. I am certain there must be some out there, he did win twice, after all) and he has disbanded democracy. In fact, here is the whole narration:
George W Bush has won his fourth consecutive term as president, taking Florida, which due to a glitch in the Jeb B voting terminals, tallied one single vote for President Bush and Vice President Schwarzenegger. Bush’s presidency was unanimously declared legally binding by the Supreme Court as well as “totally cool” by Supreme Justice Jenna Bush who subsequently set in motion another Supreme Kegger. Following the landslide victory, a constitutional amendment banning public nudity was implemented. Shortly thereafter, President Bush dissolved Congress, claiming it was “cramping his style.” American Troops continue to be strung thin due to the still raging wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Venezuela, France, Canada, and Alaska.
How fucking smug and cuntish is that? It is also deeply disingenuous. There’s the smart-arsed pop culture reference to President Arnie, the fucking awful attempt at current events with the wars and the ludicrous and annoying “Cramping his style” and “Supreme Kegger” shit that may be funny to a socially retarded 12 year old, but to anyone else is the antithesis of “kewl”. The whole quote is just sneering garbage and really sets the film off on the wrong foot. They compound this error by handing out wannabe clever names such as Byrdflough to the characters. Just. Fuck. Off.
To make matters worse the first half an hour is dull beyond belief. It is a film called Zombie Strippers. It is not called “Soldiers twat around in a corridor”. It doesn’t get remotely interesting until the action makes it to the strip club. Once it does make it to the strip club, the film does step up a gear, but I was sorely contemplating turning it off.
However, despite the relatively high level of suckitude in the first half, if you do persevere then the second half is a real treat. The zombie strippers themselves are funny and the climax of the film, including a zombie recreation of the legendary ping-pong ball cannon, only using pool balls, is worth the price of admission by itself. Paco’s dash for glory is wonderfully funny, despite a horrid level of self awareness, as he wheels out every Mexican cliché in existence before charging into the hoard, and I challenge anyone not to wince at Englund’s demise. Yuck.
And, obviously, there’s nudity galore in this film. It is about strippers after all. This was going to be NSFW, but I couldn’t find the ping-pong image. Sorry.
Overall, would I recommend it? Yes. It is good fun, and once you manage to wade through the highly disappointing first section, a good laugh to boot. The second half of this film is what Rodriguez was aiming at with Planet Terror– good, dirty, schlocky fun.