Zombie Strippers! Review
Initially dazzles with clever ideas and satire but rapidly disolves into being repetitive and boring
The main problem with Zombie Strippers is the sheer ambiguity of the title. If you do go out and buy this Blu-ray just what kind of film should you expect to be watching? Are you going to get a film about some strippers who become Zombies, or are you going to get a film about a group of Zombies who decide to strip? Thankfully, for those of you who do not want to leave your local blu-ray emporium with a reputation for Necrophilia, it is the former that is delivered on this disc. And deliver it does, in spades!
Zombie Strippers is an entertaining, low budget (and proud of it) remake of a 1959 play written by Eugene Ionesco (you're not as surprised as I was) that is interested in doing nothing more than entertaining it's audience.
We begin in a satirical way, that looks not unlike a Verhoeven film. We are watching a news broadcast just as Bush has been re-elected and the US Army is stretched thin due to it's commitments across five simultaneously running wars. This is happening in the near future, as is evidenced by the ticker across the screen (Rolling Stones embark on Steel Wheelchair retirement tour III) which showcases moments of sharp comedy.
Once she puts on the show of a lifetime however, the watching men erupt in a frenzy of excitement and applause. One unlucky punter is told he is cute and taken backstage for extras. When she goes down on him however, the result is not exactly what he was expecting - and a series of events are unleashed which are predictable to say the least. And this, put simply, is all there is to Zombie Strippers. Women dance, take men back stage and eat them. Repeat, ad infinitum. Nothing more, and most certainly nothing less. Yet something about the film just works.
Maybe it is the fact that the whole thing is performed totally tongue in cheek. Even though it is quite gory in places, it never achieves the fear that other seminal horror comedies such as American Werewolf in London manage. This is purely interested in making you laugh, so even the most gory moments are so over the top, so ridiculous, that they are just funny. You will not find yourself at all frightened by this film.
The performances are also perfectly tongue in cheek, fitting the mood of the film. Robert Englund (Freddie in the Nightmare series) relishes the chance to ham it up as the owner of the strip club. Treating all his dancers with disdain, and thinly veiled disgust, his reaction and opinion of them changes not a jot whether they be alive or undead. It is a very broad performance, and is certainly not a fine performance in the conventional sense but it fits the film well. He is supported by a cast of unknown women as the dancers, apart from one Jenna Jameson. For anyone who does not know, she is a world renowned star of adult entertainment and has achieved quite a reputation within this world. Here she is required to do very little except for dance erotically and start the carnage after being bitten. She does do very well within the structure she is given however. There is little doubt that amongst the many plastic looking porn stars that grace adult film these days, Jameson has always offered a little above the average, and she is certainly pleasing on the eye here. She doesn't really get much chance to do any actual acting, but when she is called upon she manages to at least hold her own amongst her co-stars.
The major flaw of the film, however, is that it does very quickly run out of ideas. As already mentioned, the film begins in a original, witty manner - and the director exhibits some really clever ideas. The opportunity seems to be there to raise this above it's obvious roots and actually satirise some ready targets. It does do this at the start, but once the film takes root in the club it really does become an endless scene of erotic dancing followed by chowing down on human meat. The film suffers the ultimate indignity of being about Zombie Strippers, yet simultaneously managing to be boring. And this is a great shame - you almost get the sense of a director who is deliberately reigning himself in and ignoring his desire to raise the film above the shlock roots and providing the audience with something more. It is hard to see exactly how a director can make erotic dancing boring, but sadly after the third or fourth performance (which really is not that explicit) this is exactly what is achieved here.
So, there you have it. A film that does exactly what it says on the tin. A film that initially dazzles with clever ideas and satire, but very quickly manages the unforgiveable feat of becoming rather repetitive and boring. A film that shows so much style and clever direction at the start, but quickly runs out of ideas, and uses the women as eye candy to disguise the lack of plot. To be fair, if you decide to watch this film, you are not expecting high art and you may well find this entertaining. My recommendation, however, is to rent first.