Zombie Strippers (2008)
By: Mr Intolerance on September 26, 2008  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Sony (Germany). Region 2, PAL. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, German DD 5.1. English, German, Turkish Subtitles. 94 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Jay Lee
Starring: Robert Englund, Joey Medina, Shamron Moore, Roxy Saint, Jenna Jameson
Screenplay: Jay Lee
Country: USA
External Links
IMDB YouTube
Can you think of a more perfect mix for the horror/exploitation crowd? This film doesn't only have zombies and strippers, it has zombie strippers! Why are you waiting? Don't read this – go out and buy the frikkin' thing! Come back when you've revelled in it.

Oh, you're back. The place: Sartre, Nebraska. The time: the near future. George W Bush has just won his constitutionally illegal 4th term in office as President, and the old US of A has taken a bit of an arse-whipping in the process. A crack team of soldiers led by Major Camus (Sartre, Camus – have you noticed the name-dropping? It all makes sense as we go on, and adds to the 'more intelligent than we thought' aspect of the film) has been called to a scientific research facility where experiments in how to make more efficient soldiers have been taking place, with less than desirable results. The director cleverly uses CNN-style news footage as Verhoeven does in Starship Troopers, using the microcosm of America to show the world turning into a right-wing nest of turds. The opening sequence also harks back to the goodness of 50s sci-fi horror via soundtrack and storyline, but with lashings of blood and guts.

This crack team of ridiculously over-the-top macho soldiers recalls the aforementioned Starship Troopers as well as the Colonial Marines Aliens – it's the first of many filmic references made throughout the film. We get given a whole bunch of crazy riffs on famous genre and non-genre films, making this film a fair bit more intelligent than the title might suggest. Ditto the up-to-the-minute political satire. But, as one of the cast states in the extras, even if that's not what you're looking for the film has "titties and jokes" – it also has lashings of well done splat-shtick humour, a la Jackson and Raimi at their early best.

At an early point of the film one of the soldiers, who we later see battling zombies in her best camouflage combat-bra, asks of the facility, "Jesus. What team of fuck-ups designed this place?" She moves aside to let us see the logo of W Industries, their logo being a Mount Rushmore-inspired picture of the heads of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. Not exactly subtle, but then can I draw your attention back to the title?

Anyway, one of our macho team gets infected by the zombies, and gets his way to the nearest safe haven he can – a titty bar, the Rhino Club, such things now being illegal under George Dubya's new regime. At the same time, a new girl, Jessy, gets hired to shake her groove thing at the club. Madame Blavatsky (named after the founder of the Theosophists, for reasons best left known to the director) brings her to the room where the elite meet to greet, and we find out our dancers are a little bit smarter than we might at first think. Existentialist philosophy is the discourse of the day. Kat (porno uber-slut Jenna Jameson in a surprisingly good and very entertaining turn), for example, spends her time in between flashing the gash reading Nietzsche. The other girls are similarly up to speed with Marxist politics, Nihilism and other counter-culture modes of thought. Clever strippers – it also provides some good laughs at later points of the film. And oddly enough, if you look at the film seriously, it actually makes sense, if you're familiar with these texts. Similarly, hard done by Mexican janitor Paco makes reference to the crappy status of immigrants in America from a neo-Marxist viewpoint later on in the movie. This film might at first appear to be all about the boobs, but there's surprisingly quite a subversive brain at work here, too.

Enter Robert Englund in his best role in over twenty years. As night club owner Ian Essko (as in referring to Surrealist playwright Eugene Ianescu, it's hardly subtle) this is Englund's time to shine. After the Masters of Horror episode Dance of the Dead, and the sadly belated and completely redundant HG Lewis sequel 2001 Maniacs, I haven't seen Englund's actual talent in some time. We see it here. And we see it in spades – he's very funny. Matter of fact, he's practically re-inventing himself.

So Jessy is stripping to pay for Nanna's colostomy, and her boyfriend Davis is along for the ride. That's kind of weird, to put it mildly. I mean, if your gal's giving it up for the boys, would you really want to watch? Worse yet, Jessy's some kind of Christian (reminding me for some reason of Trey Parker's role in Orgazmo), and is relentlessly chipper about the whole dancing nekkid for men vibe. Again, it does provide for some laughs, genuine ones, too.

Jessy ain't cutting it as a stripper, despite being hotter than a five-alarm chilli, so Kat decides to show her how it's done. Unfortunately, she gets chomped on the throat by the zombie-infected soldier, so she ain't having a real happy howdy-doody day, as Captain Spaulding might say. Well, at least from our perspective – the zombies in this film seem to enjoy being the undead, at least in their stage one incarnations. Ah, yes – to elaborate, the zombies, once infected, move through three stages of being (or not being, depending on your stance on Descartes), becoming more and more decomposed and generally fucked up in appearance – the really sad part is that the kind of fellas who go to the titty bar are so morally bankrupt that they actually dig the zombie queen. You just know that happiness isn't going to feature largely in their day…

Kat performs one more pole-dance and drags one of the johns backstage for a bite to eat. Essko thinks that this will work well as a gimmick, having a zombie stripper in the club, and asks Cole the DJ, "Fuck it. What's the worst that could happen?" And they let them out alone… Kat does something that every male in the audience will either cry at or pass out to, and Essko starts to see the folly of his ways. But Paco steals the scene at this point with his oft-repeated Treasure of the Sierra Madre line (used in various contexts throughout the film), "Badgers? Badgers?! We don't need no stinking badgers." Groan? Oh yes, but it was still pretty fuckin' funny in context.

Lillith (named after an ancient Jewish female demon), the resident Suicide Girl type stripper (actually played by Roxy Saint from Goth band Roxy Saint and the Blackouts) has been bitten by Kat, and so the infection spreads, just like in a Romero film. But with boobs.

Essko thinks he has the situation under control, but he is rather wrong, as events will show me to be right, as I always am. Jessy is even contemplating becoming a zombie to help Nanna shit into a bag, because that's what these fucked up crackers want to watch, err… the zombies, I mean, not the shitting into a bag – I'm assuming that this is some kind of metaphor for what the average person watches on TV or in movies, as being barely better than some sad sack of skin getting trotted out for the sake of the equally vacuous viewers to perform some random-ass task in order to get more viewers. Hate reality TV? Fuck yeah.

So Jeannie, Kat's arch rival in the stripping game, goes and gets herself zombified to compete in the stripping stakes, thus achieving some kind of moral victory (in stripping?), but things play themselves out a little further than that. The whole idea of philosophically becoming one of the herd is addressed, and the notion of individuality also comes to light, through the stripper Berenge, who tries to enlighten Jessy as to the ways of things.

This is about the point where we move into the final reel, go completely dog nuts (and up the film to one million miles per hour), and I shut my cinematic mouth, although I have to say, body parts as weapons is always gold, as is a crazed NRA member with a totally over-the-top arsenal. What you need to know: this film is high on splatter, high on boobs and while it might appear a lowest common denominator piece of stupidity, actually has a real brain throbbing behind it. I highly recommend Zombie Strippers, not just because it incorporates two of my favourite things via its title, but because it's a breath of fresh air in the rather foetid quagmire of horror comedy. You'll also be amazed by a man's love for his fellow donkey.

It's gold!
Video
Presented in a 16:9 enhanced 2.35:1 aspect ratio, Zombie Strippers looks good, although the budgetary restraints can be seen at times. This may worry some, but it didn't worry me.
Audio
Comes with English Dolby Digital 5.1 and German Dolby Digital 5.1 audio tracks. The sound is more than adequate, but as with this video, because of the movies' budgetary restraints the surround sound mix isn't overly aggressive.
Extra Features
Not a great deal, but there are a couple of interesting featurettes. The Champagne Room – Behind the Scenes of Zombie Strippers is kind of cool and shows you the origin of the film, the symbolism behind the characters' names, and addresses the nature of some of the satire, with on and off-set interviews with the cast and crew, all of whom appeared to be having a whale of a time making the film (the interview with Jenna Jameson was kind of weird; she had a big ol' bite wound in her throat while talking quite animatedly about the film – it was also weird when she revealed that not only is she an exotic dancer and porno star, she's also a classically trained dancer in ballet and tap. Maybe the musical comedy road will beckon. Or a re-make of Bloodsucking Freaks!). The second featurette was called The Dressing Room: How to Glam a Zombie. Not what you're expecting from the title – this is about the special effects, not, as I imagined, the costuming. My bad. And we all like to see how the gory stuff is made.

Deleted Scenes: There are a fuck of a lot of them, alternate ones too, missing some of the diagetic and non-diagetic soundtrack (the music, most noticeably, during the stripping scenes). Worth a watch, definitely – there are some good laughs on offer here, and I think some of them should have been retained in the film. Don't watch either the featurettes or the deleted scenes before the film – MAJOR spoilers ensue in both. Don't say you weren't warned.

Trailers: A promo for Blu-Ray called Blu-Ray Disc Is High Definition, which frankly was not a worthwhile time waster, and then proper trailers for I Know Who Killed Me, The Cottage and the totally freakin' brilliant Outpost.
The Verdict
A big dumb clever movie? If that's what you're after, then Zombie Strippers is the film for you. You'll laugh, you'll cry (especially if you're a male), you'll have fun. This is an un-PC film that will rock your world. Cry with laughter, after you think about it.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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