Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #175
Number of Views: One
Release Date: April 18, 2008
Sub-Genre: Zombie Comedy
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 94 minutes
Director: Jay Lee
Producers: Larry Schapiro, Andrew Golov, Angela J. Lee
Screenplay: Jay Lee
Special Effects: Jonathan Kombrinck
Visual Effects: Chris Dawson
Cinematography: Jay Lee
Score: Billy White Acre
Editing: Jay Lee
Studio: Stage 6 Films, Larande Productions, Scream HQ
Distributor: Triumph Films
Stars: Robert Englund, Jenna Jameson, Roxy Saint, Penny Drake, Joey Medina, Whitney Anderson, Jennifer Holland, Shamron Moore, Jeannette Sousa, Carmit Levité, John D. Hawkes, Brad Milne, Zak Kilberg, Jen Alex Gonzalez, Tito Ortiz, Margad, Laura Bach, Jessica Custodio, Travis Wood, Billy Beck, Catero Colbert, Joey Medina
Suggested Audio Candy
You want to find a recipe for success? Here is a winning tip. Call your movie Zombie Strippers and you’ll be onto a winner from the get go. The world free world can’t get enough of one while the entire male populace is likely to be drawn towards the other. For that extra pull simply enlist the legendary Robert Englund and I’d say you’re sitting on sizable plutonium. However, somehow Jay Lee manages to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory as, despite having all the elements firmly in place, his B-Movie left me a little cold when it should have been firing my pistons.
I begin, as is customary with any good story, from the very start and I had doubts within the opening minute which were compounded progressively as Zombie Strippers lurched from one scene to the next without truly taking advantage of its goldmine premise. A little political subtext kicks us off, aiming a not so subtle dig at the Bush administration and we are hastily introduced to the horde. A group of badass government military types fail to contain your everyday zombie viral outbreak and allow it to spread to nearby Nebraskan strip joint Rhino’s, run by none other than the infamous Freddy Krueger himself.
Amazingly, despite the somewhat blatant title, Zombie Strippers actually managed to bear away from its projected trajectory and turn into a far different beast than I was expecting, nay convinced of. The stage was set for a good old-fashioned us against them battle to the death complete with fake-breasted sex bunnies and Lee decided instead to introduce a whole new element which had me more than a little discombobulated. The super stripper. Well at least he got the fake-breasted sex bunnies part on the money.
The dynamic which becomes opaque within the first ten minutes is that Zombie Strippers is as campy as anything you’re likely to watch all year. This is unashamedly B-Movie fodder thus campy would ordinarily be par for the course but it is all too self-aware for my liking and this is to the detriment of the overall experience. Moreover, the notion that the dancers will rocket in popularity after becoming infected and actually bring more punters in is ill-advised at best. The fact that they’d probably give you a run for your money at Scrabble is purely insane. Not that I was expectant of anything tangible here, but it’s so utterly preposterous as Lee squanders a rather unique opportunity.
When is he likely to have Robert Englund and nineties porn starlet Jenna Jameson in the same room again? More to the point, when will he possibly get another shot at pairing together buzz words Zombie and Strippers unless this spawns a sequel which I get the distinct clue that it won’t? It isn’t sharp enough to be considered satire and most attempts at humor come across as lackadaisical. Occasionally however there are moments to cherish and the sight of Jameson sitting in her dressing room reading Nietzsche is more than worthy of a cackle. In fact, the gag resurfaces to great effect later when, having been zombified, she returns to said book and remarks on it making more sense now. Brilliant.
As y’all should be aware I regard two components as being capable of saving face in such circumstances. The grue and T&A play a major part in convincing Keeper to brave the elements with low-budget fodder such as this. Lee gets it right on both counts and there is an over-abundance of blood, of boobs and of blood on boobs. This elevates it, no question, but still doesn’t extinguish the tang of disappointment. Not only that, but the running time could have done with being ten minutes leaner.
I can’t believe I’m saying this about a film called Zombie Strippers. One of my all-time darlings from the eighties was Richard Wenk’s Vamp and that didn’t take itself too seriously. What it didn’t do was overstep the balance and veer into downright parody. It’s here that it spectacularly derails. Sure, if you’re willing to absolve from using logic and/or brain cells and enjoy it for what it is then you shall be rewarded with the sight of Jenna Jameson firing billiard balls from her vaginal slingshot. But it all feels mighty wasteful.
Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 5/10
Grue Factor: 4/5
For the Grue-Guzzlers & Pelt-Nuzzlers: On both counts there is plentiful gristle to masticate. Heads are shot clean off, throats are removed, faces ripped wipe open and intestines landslide but the choice to use partially digital effects is misinformed and robs the kills of much of their grandeur. Regardless, there’s a veritable feast on offer and ain’t nothing digital about those titties, silicone most definitely, but not digital. Unfortunately for Keeper, I prefer them to be more natural so, once more, the sheen is removed.
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
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