Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Strippers v Werewolves.
She had such great legs…have you found the other one…?
There was no way that I wasn’t going to watch this one, frankly. In fact, I’m just a little bit surprised that it’s taken so long for someone to finally make a film featuring Strippers versus Werewolves in a no holds barred fight to the end. What I am even more surprised about is that it was made in the UK and not in America. Still, we’re not bad at micro-budgeted silly horror, so Strippers v Werewolves should be an absolute piece of cake. Nevertheless it was produced by White Collar Hooligan’s Jonathan Sothcott (although it seems as if practically everything in the UK is at the moment) has a decent cast featuring some absolute B-Movie Stalwarts and, well, at the end of the day it’s about Strippers and Werewolves. This should, in theory, guarantee nudity and gore by the bucketload.
May contain crap werewolf makeup and spoilers below.
Actually, I’m not sure it is possible to spoil this film. If you think about it, you know exactly what the film is going to contain (Strippers, Werewolves, violence, nudity and the odd chuckle) so realistically, I can’t actually blow any major plot points. It’s like going to see a film about boxing and then being surprised when two big men get in the ring and start punching each other.
Strippers v Werewolves opens with an absolute bang, literally, as a club in Basildon (toilet in Essex) is blown up in 1984. The film then moves effortlessly into the absolutely stunning title series. Set to Duran Duran’s Hungry Like the Wolf (inspired), the titles are a series of concept art, Sin City style stills that look absolutely fantastic. This opening is so good, actually, that the film bought itself massive amounts of brownie points with me, and it would have taken P.W.S. Anderson levels of clusterfuck to get a bad review.
Fast forward to the present day, and Martin Kemp is watching stripper Justice (Adele Silva) do her thing. Oh, and warning now, there’s no actual stripping in this film. Sorry to disappoint you. There is “erotic dancing” but very little in the way of jugs unleashed for the camera. Anyhow, he gets a touch frisky and allows his inner beast off the leash and she’s forced to stab him in the eye with her pen- coincidentally, it’s silver and so he croaks on the spot. This then gives our club owner Jeanette (Sarah Douglas) a serious problem- how is she going to dispose of the body? In the meantime, bad pack of wolves (led by Billy Murray with Martin Compston as Scott, his number 2 and Justice’s boyfriend) are hot on the trail of the corpse.
Body disposal duty is handed over to Franklyn (Nick Nevern, again hugely watchable) the bouncer. He, inevitably, fucks it up and brings the wolf pack to the door of Vixens. Cue big showdown between Little Red Riding Hood costumed strippers and the big bad wolves, which is, brilliantly, done as almost a highlights reel with a scoreline provided. I won’t spoil the final ending, but it is very silly, and, to be fair, they did set it up very early in the film.
A quick note on the principle characters: Aside from Justice, there’s also Raven (Hostel’s stunning Barbara Nedeljakova), Chastity (White Collar Hooligan’s Rita Ramani), Jilly (Lysette Anthony), and Dani (Hollyoaks’ Ali Bastian) on the strippers side. On the werewolves side, there’s only really the wank-addicted Barker (Joe Egan) to talk about, and all I have to say about him is that he’s not as funny as they think he is. Other support comes in the form of Simon Phillips as insecure occult hunter (and inexplicably Raven’s boyfriend) Sinclair.
This is a reasonably enjoyable film. The acting is ok, with Douglas probably the standout performance, although I did enjoy Nedeljakova’s turn as the insecure goth. My only real complaint is that Silva (while very attractive) is a bit weak for what is the lead role. It doesn’t matter how many times Douglas says things like “They all look up to you” that doesn’t necessarily make it true. Nevern and Phillips, on the other hand, both display the same easy charm they had in White Collar Hooligan, and the sequence with Sinclair fighting the vampires (glamour model Lucy Pinder) is probably one of the funniest in the film.
Really, this is a hodgepodge of ideas thrown at the screen in the hope that some of them will stick. Some do, noticeably Ali Bastian romancing Nevern by giving him a set of silver knuckle dusters, and the hilarious moment when the wolves break into Raven’s flat and she shoots one of them in the gonads, but all too often they fall flat. Probably the single worst scene in the film is Robert Englund’s cameo, which is not only entirely pointless, but actually detracts from what we’re watching. Incidentally, this scene was a good idea, but it just doesn’t come off, not least of which is because they don’t do anything with the character- it’s a conversation and then totally forgotten about.
Then there’s the monster makeup. This is, unsurprisingly, utter shit. I’ve nothing good to say about it at all, and to be fair, they know it’s terrible so try to play it for laughs. Which brings me on to the real problem with the film- it doesn’t particularly know what it wants to be. Strippers v Werewolves is at its most effective and most entertaining when it’s playing for laughs. It doesn’t mug for the audience, but instead has a kind of easy charm and the cast and writing are strong enough to allow the sequences to fly by drawing the odd grin. However, the horror sequences, and the more action-oriented moments (all of which feature the shoddy wolves) really don’t work.
Having said that, though, there are comic moments, such as Barker wanking watching the girl get changed, that are monumentally crass and unfunny, so it’s not all plain sailing on that behalf either. Not to be nitpicky, but the entire Barker character was monumentally misguided and simply should not have been in the film. I suppose he’s meant to be fat comic relief, but seeing as the fat tool spends his entire time giving himself hand relief, I could have happily lived without seeing him in the film at all.
Finally, before I sum up, there’s a knowing tone to much of the action here. In particular the tooling up sequence with the strippers improvising a variety of silver weapons (particular kudos to the high heels), is clearly playing to the conventions that we all know and love. I’m sure, although my memory may be playing tricks on me, that they forged silver bullets in the Monster Squad in the 80’s, but that may be nostalgia getting the best of my memory. Nevertheless, the punchline that the silver bullets don’t work as they haven’t forged them properly is clever, as it’s a nice nod to credibility in an otherwise very silly movie.
Overall, Strippers v Werewolves is playful and reasonably amusing, so I am going to give it a mild recommendation. However, it is seriously flawed, and does have the aforementioned identity crisis, so this is another Width of a Rizla pass. I did reasonably enjoy it for what it is, and I am glad it exists, but the rest of the film completely fails to live up to the outstanding opening. Bit of a shame really. Nevertheless, it’s not the worst film out there, hell, it isn’t even the worst film I’ve seen this week, and as such Strippers v Werewolves is approved.
Next up will be Return of the Living Dead 4. Promise.