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Great Bad Movies: "Zombie Strippers" (2008)
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 @#$%-ing head?— Robert Englund in "Zombie Strippers"
"Zombie Strippers" (2008)
Directed by: Jay Lee
Starring: Robert Englund, Jenna Jameson, Tito Ortiz, Penny Drake, Roxy Saint
Before I begin this review, I must mention that I was totally unaware that this movie even existed until I was given this DVD by a friend - who warned me that the movie was "almost unwatchable." This opinion seems to be supported by the film's less than encouraging rating on IMDb (where it currently holds a 4.2 out of 10), but unlike many film fans, I tend to take reviews like these as a challenge. Whenever I hear that a particular movie is "terrible" or "the worst ever" my immediate response is to say, "Awww c'mon, it can't really be THAT bad...can it?" and I end up checking it out for myself. It's a severe character flaw that I've been working on correcting (unsuccessfully, I might add) for a number of years now.
...but I digress. After watching Zombie Strippers, I found myself in agreement with my buddy... this was bad. VERY bad. I did make it through the entire movie but it was a pretty tough slog.
Zombie Strippers takes place in a not-so-distant near future where George W. Bush has been set up as President-For-Life - a concept which, quite frankly, is more frightening to me than anything else that happens in the movie. Under this new, comically iron-fisted Republican rule, all adult entertainment has been outlawed, which has created a thriving "black market" of underground strip clubs and porn palaces - all of which operate in secret, similar to the liquor-slinging "speakeasies" of the 1920s Prohibition era.
Meanwhile, the United States is also in the midst of fighting wars on a dozen different fronts - which naturally has resulted in a massive amount of American military casualties. In order to replace their soldiers who are dying in battle faster than new ones can be recruited, the U.S. government has developed a top secret chemical compound which re-animates dead tissue. If the formula is a success, the government hopes that they will be able to "recycle" those dead soldiers and send them right back out into battle again. That sort of thing ALWAYS works, right? Suuuuure! Unfortunately, the chemical may be great at re-animating corpses, but it has one bummer of a side effect: the dead soldiers awaken with a burning desire to - you guessed it - chow on living human flesh. Yup, I hate when that happens. In Zombie Strippers' very Resident Evil-esque opening scene, a crew of military types invade a lab where the zombie compound has turned everyone on the staff into ravenous flesh eaters. One of the soldiers gets bitten and since he knows this means he'll soon wind up with a bullet in his head, he escapes from the inevitable by crawling out a window and ends up hiding out in an underground strip club, which is run by the sleazy Ian (Robert "Freddy Krueger" Englund), and whose star performer, "Kat," is played by former porn queen Jenna Jameson. Yeah, I guess if I only had a few hours left to live I'd want to run them out in a strip club too.
From there, things start getting silly fairly quickly. Our bite victim soldier boy eventually "turns" and takes a chunk out of Kat while she's onstage. Following the timeless Zombie Movie Protocols laid down by George Romero, Kat soon turns into a zombie and leaps into the crowd during her spotlight dance to attack the clubs' patrons. You'd think this would be a cue for mass panic but inexplicably, having a Zombie stripper around turns out to be GREAT for the club's business. Suddenly Ian's club is packed with curiosity seekers, so he merely shrugs his shoulders and begins locking up any bitten customers in a cage in the basement to keep them secret. Soon the other "human" strippers become jealous that Zombie Kat is getting all the attention - and all the tip money - so one by one they start volunteering to become Zombies themselves. Naturally, things soon achieve Critical Mass. While the Zombie Strippers are having flesh-flinging, blood splattering catfights with each other on the club stage, the caged Zombies bust loose from the basement and overrun the club, so Englund and his few remaining human staff members must try to escape with their interior organs intact. I will leave it up to the reader to decide if you really want to find out if they're successful...but trust me , you really don't want to bother. This is truly Z-grade stuff, made on a budget of about six bucks and a broken cracker. There are some occasionally nice, sick gore effects here 'n' there but the "comedic" parts aren't funny, the attempts at political/social satire fall flat, and the acting is atrocious by all involved, even the usually-dependable Robert Englund. Side note: Jenna Jameson may have been one of the hottest stars in adult film during her heyday, but time has definitely NOT been kind to her. She looks like hell even BEFORE she gets turned into a zombie!
More Strippers! More Zombies!
Zombie Strippers is just one of a multitude of zombie T&A comedies involving strippers that have popped up over the past couple of years. (Who knew?) A quick Amazon search reveals such additional blood splattered delights as 2008's Strippers vs. Zombies (which is apparently not to be confused with 2012's Zombies vs. Strippers), 2012's Girls Gone Dead (starring long time scream queen Linnea Quigley), 2013's Stripperland! and 2015's oh-so-tastefully titled MILFS vs Zombies. Japan is even getting in on the fun with the irresistibly-titled Big Tits Zombie ...which, with a title like that, has got to be the Gone With the Wind of the zombie/stripper sub-genre! (It's even in 3-D, because of course.) I haven't seen any of the above flicks but hey, if they sound like your kinda thing...have at it.
Zombie Strippers wishes it was a go-for-broke, balls to the wall grindhouse style bad-taste splatter comedy ala Peter Jackson's Dead Alive or Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror, but its no-budget look, lack of likeable characters and mostly-incoherent storyline doom it from the get-go. It isn't worth your time or hard earned money. You can safely avoid this one unless you simply must see every movie with the word "zombie" in the title, you're an obsessed Jenna Jameson fan, or you have a severely high tolerance for B-Movie pain!!