Sometimes, you hear the title of a movie, and who is starring in it, and you just know that it is going to be a train wreck. Take today’s movie for instance. When I first heard about this movie, and that Robert Englund was starring in it, my initial thought was that this would be an interesting movie to watch. Then I heard that Jenna Jameson was also starring in it. Well, that right there just put it into a whole different category. I know that I am being somewhat judgmental on Jenna Jameson’s acting ability but let’s face it, her acting was is not what she is famous for. Anyways, when this movie came out on DVD, I just had to pick up a copy so let’s see just what we have in store with today’s movie, Zombie Strippers.
The plot: In an alternate reality, President George Bush has been elected to a 4th term in office and abolished Congress because they were “cramping his style”. The United States military is stretched thin due to the continuing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Venezuela, France, Canada, and Alaska. Due to the shortage of soldiers, a secret laboratory, run by Dr. Crushfield, is working on a virus to try and reanimate the dead so they can send soldiers back into battle. However, when their test subjects don’t turn out like they wanted, a team of marines, led by Major Camus, is sent in to deal with the zombies. Crushfield and his partner, Dr. Genet, explain what they were trying to do and tells them that destroying the brain will them for good, while an EMP blast will stun them. The marines head out, killing some zombies while maneuvering the majority of them into a trap so they can blast them all with their EMP guns. As Pvt. Byrdflough (pronounced “Bird Flu”) checks on one of the zombies, they all start moving again and the marines begin shooting at them but Byrdflough, who was bitten by a zombie, hides the bite from his team and escapes the lab as they finish killing the rest of the zombies. Trying to find a place to hide, he ends up at Rhino, an underground strip-club as a Congress had made public nudity illegal before being abolished. As the various dancers go on stage, a new girl named Jessy shows up to start work and as she is about to go on stage, she is confronted by her boyfriend Davis, who is uncomfortable with her doing this. Jessy goes on stage and starts to do her routine but chickens out and rushes off stage. Back in the dressing room, Ian Essko, the club’s owner, chastises Jessy and wants her to go back out there but Kat, his star performer, says she will go on in her place. As Kat begins her routine, Byrdflough, who has turned into a zombie, jumps onstage and attacks her, ripping her throat. As Essko yells at his DJ Cole and janitor Paco to throw Byrdflough in the basement, then the three gather with Madame Blavatski, the girl’s trainer/coordinator, to figure out what they are going to do about Kat’s body when she suddenly stands up and heads backstage. The other strippers are surprised to see her there but Kat seems perfectly fine, as the virus that creates zombies allowed women to maintain more of their identity than when men were infected. When Kat goes on stage, the crowd seems to enjoy it even more than usual, throwing more money on the stage. Kat takes one of the men back for a private lap dance but when they are alone, she proceeds to rip him apart and eat him. Essko, Cole, Paco, and Blavatski witness the aftermath and Essko tells them to clean the mess up but a few minutes later, the go to his office and show him the dead man’s head, which is still moving. Lilith, a goth dancer with a death fetish, asks Kat to turn her and she heads out on stage to dance before grabbing a guy of her own and killing him, and Essko and the others place the dead man in a cage in the basement. The next day, the club has more customers and Kat and Lilith are becoming huge hits so Sox asks Kat to turn her as well. The three zombie strippers become the most popular dancers on the stage and Essko is content to let them continue killing some of the customers, placing the bodies in the cage in the basement, as he is making more money than ever. Jeannie, Kat’s biggest rival, is tired of being upstaged by Kat so she decides to become a zombie herself, heading down to the basement where Byrdflough is still being kept and letting him bite her. Her sycophant, Gaia, chickens out and runs back to the dressing room but later decides to go through with it and heads down to the basement. When she doesn’t see Jeannie or Byrdflough anywhere, she heads over to the cage and allows the caged zombies to bite her. On stage, a now zombified Jeannie heads out on stage and begins to fight with Kat, with the crowd cheering them on. In the basement, Gaia reanimates and proceeds to let the other zombies out of their cage. Essko sees this and decides to lock the doors so nobody can escape, hoping to contain the problem so he doesn’t get in trouble. As the zombies begin attacking the customers, Cole, Blavatski, Paco, Jessy, Davis, and Berenge (another stripper), take refuge in Essko’s office. Deciding to kill the zombies, they arm themselves with some of Essko’s guns and begin firing at the zombies but don’t manage to kill any of them. As the zombies begin swarming them, Jessy and Davis run and take shelter in the basement while Berenge locks herself in Kat’s private dressing room. Paco locks himself in the janitor’s closet but then tries making one final stand before he gets ripped to shreds. Essko, Cole, and Blavatski head back to Essko’s office but when Blavatski lets Gaia and some other zombies in, both her and Cole are killed. Gaia heads towards Essko but before he can, two of Camus’s marines rescue him. Back on stage, Jeannie rips the flesh from her limbs and prepares to finish her off but the marines kill Kat, then Camus kills Jeannie. As the marines finish killing the zombies, Essko is confronted by Lilith and Sox, who perform a sex act on him, then Essko is captured, as he is mistakenly believed to be a zombie. Jessy and Davis are rescued, while Berenge is mistaken for a zombie and killed, and as they are about to leave, Camus finds Crushfield had been at the strip club. Camus confronts Crushfield, who admits that he let the virus out on purpose, as it was hoped a zombie outbreak would distract the American population from realizing how badly the government was screwing up the war efforts and economy. As a clean up crew arrives, Camus and his team leave, as do Jessy and Davis, and as he goes to leave, Crushfield notices a trashbag moving and goes to open it, and as the screen fades to black, you hear him being bitten by the zombie head that was inside.
Zombie Strippers received mostly negative reviews from the critics, holding a 40% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though intentionally campy, Zombie Strippers suffers from poor execution, and never rises above its silly premise.” The movie was allegedly inspired by Eugene Ionesco’s play “Rhinoceros”, and Robert Englund’s character and the name of the club as a nod to that source. The movie had a $1 million budget but it wound up coming in under budget.
This was about as ridiculous of a movie as you could expect to find and wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The acting from some of the characters was ok, and completely over the top with some others. I thought Robert Englund (Essko) was pretty decent and Jenna Jameson (Kat) was surprisingly decent as well, but all of the marines were over exaggerated. The story was interesting but honestly felt like a bunch of stuff kind of got thrown in there just to see if it would work. The make-up for the zombies was pretty decent and I liked some of the effects but there were some times they went overboard. For instance, the zombie stripper fight between Kat and Jeannie was pretty ridiculous, especially when Kat started using the ping pong balls and billiard balls (yes, she did use them they way you are thinking she did). It’s some ridiculous fun but not worth a watch if you are looking for a new zombie movie to laugh at.
Rating: 3 out of 5