Zombie Strippers (2008)
Zombie Strippers (2008)

Genre: Horror Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 34 min.

Release Date: April 18th, 2008 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Jay Lee Actors: Jenna Jameson, Robert Englund, Roxy Saint, Penny Drake, Whitney Anderson, Jennifer Holland, Shamron Moore, Jeannette Sousa, Carmit Levite, Jessica Custodio, Laura Bach

 


 

W

hile there are several individual elements to like about “Zombie Strippers,” it feels like director Jay Lee added in too many contradictory ingredients, only to fail to leave the blender on long enough to achieve a desirable mix. The sexuality shifts from placid erotica to disturbing decadence, the humor wavers between utterly silly and downright vulgar, and the acting ranges from wildly over-the-top to porn star complacence (which is, unsurprisingly, the occupation for the majority of the actresses). Maybe there isn’t a whole lot to like about this film after all.

When a group of mercenary troopers is called in to exterminate the threat of a deadly chemo-virus outbreak in a research lab, one of their own is exposed to the zombifying toxins. To avoid execution, the renegade soldier escapes to a nearby strip club, where disease-paranoid owner Ian (Robert Englund) governs a group of rivalrous dancers. Succumbing to the infection, the serviceman ends up taking a generous bite out of Kat (Jenna Jameson), similarly turning her into a zombie – which, unpredictably makes the undead stripper an even bigger hit at the club. Realizing the monetary potential of zombie stripteasers, Ian exploits the resurrected girls – but things quickly spiral out of control as their ravenous appetites rapidly diminish the number of raving customers.

When the cast contains primarily well-known porn stars, the promised erotica becomes a definite draw. And such nudity is certainly delivered, as each girl (including Roxy Saint, Penny Drake, Shamron Moore, Whitney Anderson, Jennifer Holland, and Jeannette Sousa) gets her own lengthy strip scene both before and after the reactivation of dead tissue. However, it’s here that the film takes a mortifying turn towards the unsettling, as the zombie strippers swiftly decay – and there’s nothing sexy about seeing copious amounts of mutilated flesh. Perhaps this irony is Lee’s cunning punishment to his audience for participating in such a perversely voyeuristic affair – but it’s probably just for the gross-out factor.

The film is also filled with plenty of humor, but of the kind that is largely hit-or-miss. Attempting to overload the audience with racial, religious, slapstick, pop culture, and crass jokes, more often than not they simply don’t pack a punch. At one point the Mexican janitor Paco (Joey Medina) is seen armed to the teeth like Pancho Villa, bidding his mule farewell. It might be humorous in the realm of a cartoon, but asides like this are ill-fit for a zombie movie.

Meanwhile, all of the strippers engage in meaningless conversations about existentialism, fatalism, and other philosophical doctrines, probably in the attempt to satirize the events that unfold. But considering that so much time is spent simply trying to unsettle the audience, or showcase the physical talents of the nude pole-dancers, any meaningful cynicism is immediately lost. At least the gore, violence, and prosthetics are all superbly portrayed – up until the sketchy computer-animated blood erases all that hard work. By the end of it all, third-rate dialogue, third-rate acting, third-rate storytelling, and first-rate nudity accounts for all of the appeal of “Zombie Strippers.” The film is made for a single distinct crowd, promising entertainment only to those who expect nothing more than what was eluded to in the theatrical trailer.

– The Massie Twins

  • 3/10