Friday, 21 August 2009

Zombie Strippers Review

Rule 34 indicates that for everything that exists there is a pornographic version, something that I have found to be sadly true. From Deathstars to Cacti, there is nothing that seemingly cannot be turned into porn. As ‘research’ for this review I searched Google for examples of Zombie porn, and six therapists later I returned to my work. Also, as a little competition, record how many times I use the words ‘Breasts’, ‘Porn’, ‘Zombie’ and their synonyms in this review. So Zombie Strippers, not a porn but an erotic comedy (with the emphasis on rot in erotic) - as the only thing penetrating the minxes is John Rambo’s entire munitions collection - has found its way into a safe deposit box in the Wank-Bank of England; a bank in which I bring a new meaning to Fred the Shred.

"If you know what I mean"
Well, it’s actually not even an erotic comedy - because that would imply it was even slightly titillating - it's more of a spoof. The film is directed by Jay Lee - director of other forgettable films such as: The Slaughter (2006) The Affairs of God (2004) Snapshot of Molly and Her Man (2002) Noon Blue Apples (2002). Getting the formalities out of the way, I must point out that this is actually a genius idea; combining zombies and pole dancing sirens, with a healthy injection of black humour.  Think of this as the film equivalent of a big red button guarded by a clown holding a sign that reads - “Do not press button, or else an army of break dancing midgets that look like Arnold Schwarzenegger dressed as a nun will be unleashed upon the Planet”. The story is ridiculous, with more holes in the plot then there are in Sonny Corleone after he is ambushed in the Godfather, but that is forgiveable of a comedy. I’ll talk more about these plot holes later, but first, let's get the basics.

It's 2012 (as per usual), and a secret experiment to create undead super soldiers has taken place; obviously shit hits the fan, and the world’s least professional army arrives to contain it - (seriously these guys make the A-Team look like the Federation from Starship Troopers). However a soldier infected with the virus escapes to the outside world, namely an illegal strip club named Rhino’s, run by Ian (Robert Englund), a man who when he is nervous looks like the Honey Monster caught in the thrall of a smack addiction battle. At the same time Jessy (Jenifer Holland) a cute, Christian  girl next door type, joins the strip club trying to raise the funding for her grandma’s colostomy – apparently having never heard of a CV and the job market. Jessy comes with her own creepy Christian stalker Davis (Johnny D. Hawkes), whose every line is pure religious cliché.

The infected soldier eventually bites one of the strippers – philosophical, Friedrich Nietzsche reading queen bitch Kat, portrayed by Jenna Jameson who is described on the back of the DVD as a ‘World wide media sensation’, a fancy name for a former porn star. The virus is revealed to have a different effect on the Y chromosome than it does on the X, and she becomes a stripping machine and, weirdly, an instant hit. This is the one of the major plot holes, the fact the audience are unphased by this woman having her throat ripped out in front of them, yet being perfectly able to get up and dance. Maybe in 2012 the recession has made money worthless, so instead muggers turn cannibal, as there’s no money for food. After her performance Kat gives a guy a ‘private performance’, which if you’re interested consists of devouring his body. Despite warnings from his staff Ian decides that the pros of making a fortune far outweigh the cons of murder, and lets Kat carry on.

The rest of the girls unable to compete, eventually turn to the dark side and become zombies themselves. First up is the Goth Lilith (Roxy Saint), a woman who actually makes the zombies appear more vibrant in comparison. Her original idea of a good performance was mime shooting herself in the head with a pretend gun. Releasing she isn’t very good, she asks Kat to zombify her. I did some research (look at the DVD case) and discovered Roxy Saint is the vocalist in the Goth band ‘Roxy Saint and the Blackouts’. They do some of the film’s soundtrack; you’ll know which songs because they sound like the type of music you would hear at a satanic office party. I jest, their music isn’t that bad, but it’s not in the same league as Sirenia, Epica or Xandria.

Just in case you were worried the stereotypes ended at just Goths, we have everyone’s favourite party guest, the racial stereotype, who has arrived uninvited. There's the Eastern European Madame Blavatski (Carmit Levite), whose purpose seems to be keeping the girls in line, a job which she really excels at (or not as the case proves). And Paco (Joey Medina), the Mexican janitor who apparently lives in the strip club, because during closing time he is locked in with the zombies, and yet inexplicably survives. This guy is so stereotypical you wonder when he is going to don a sombrero and open a bottle of tequila; which does actually happen toward the end of the film. Paco really does go into bandito mode, which may be a tongue in cheek joke at the weird aspects of another culture, but so were Jim Crow’s performances and look where that led.

Times become tough for the other strippers as Lilith and Kat start to get all the attention, and they begin to feel dejected. So Ginger Spice, or Sox (Penny Drake), decides it's time to follow Lilith in asking Kat to zombify her, which she does. The trio make life impossible for the other strippers, including Jeannie (Shamron Moore), who gets booed off stage during one of her performances because apparently the entire audience is now only turned on by rotten meat, and might as well move into the House of 1000 corpses. So she too decides to become a zombie and seeks out the most powerful zombie, the original one that infected Kat. Meanwhile Berenge (Jeannette Sousa), who doesn’t care about anything - something that I can relate to - tells Ian that he should be careful before the situation gets out of hand.

"Before it gets out of hand, I said"...

Jeannie, who is now a zombie, challenges Kat to what can only be described as a strip off mixed with Street Fighter. While this is ongoing, the corpses (who have fallen victim to the strippers and have been held in a cell underground), are now zombies themselves, and have escaped thanks to Gaia (Whitney Anderson); the stripper with the intelligence of cat litter, and she too becomes becomes zombifed. They set upon the crowd, who obviously try to escape but have been locked in by Ian, who didn’t want any evidence of his crimes escaping into the outside world - (though Ian has locked himself in too, which is an idiotic move). As Jessy, Davis, Paco, Ian, Berenge, Madame Blavatski and the announcer guy (whose name I couldn’t find on IMDB), are the only Humans left they must fight for their lives. However all but Jessy, Davis and Berenge fall to the Zombies, with Ian getting a well deserved death; his punishment for murdering all those children in ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’. The ‘elite’ unit, which would have Colonel Gaddafi proud of its garishness, return to sort the situation out - (by which I mean killing a human Berenge, and allowing the villain, the scientist who purposely unleashed the virus, to get away with it). Apparently the Bush administration wanted the outbreak to happen so it could distract the public’s attention away from the disastrous war effort, but would the American government actually be so sneaky? Okay, I can’t say that with a straight face.

While the story sounds like it was taken from the back of an exercise book belonging to a sweaty deprived 15 year old school boy, or my mind, it does its job of being the vehicle to take us from one pole dance to the next. If you want smut and inspired literature go read ‘Paradise lost’ whilst watching ‘Two girls, one cup’. Though in spite of these beauties thrusting their supple bodies against the pole in a manner as subtle as Robert Mugabe’s election campaign, with beads of sweat sensually running down their bodies like massaging fingertips, causing their bodies to glisten like an ocean sunset,  you never actually feel into it. When the zombies eventually start stripping it’s about as sexy as a bag of frog spawn, and in terms of appeal, is probably on level with open heart surgery preformed by Hannibal Lector. I couldn’t figure out why the patrons were going wild over the zombie strippers, but then I didn’t like ‘Slumdog millionaire’, so my perceptions are apparently dodgy.

Surprisingly, the script is quite decent; certainly a lot better than those of Vantage Point and Twilight. It can be cheesy and clichéd in places, but as it is a comedy you expect there to be certain lines that make you cringe. At times it can be genuinely hilarious, and the characters themselves are more developed than you would expect; for example, the film doesn't go down route obvious and have the strippers as complete airheads, instead they spout philosophy and even talk about fatalism.

Some women, and old men embittered by not actually being touched by a woman who isn’t a doctor in decades, may complain that films like this treat women as sex objects, but I disagree. I see it more as exploiting the futility of men, as men are predictable creatures who would probably become amorous with an old rug, if somebody stuck a photograph of size DD breasts on it. The whole porn industry is basically a male money milking farm, a sort of PPW (Pay per Wank) service. Sure, there are women this could apply to, but it is a truly male trait to reject our deeply heralded believes if we believe the outcome will result in a quickie, which lasts as long as a round of Countdown; hell I'm only still here because women find my attractiveness on par with that of a deformed Amphibian that fell into a blender. Before the feminist brigade make me Mr. October on their upcoming 2010 ‘Misogynists of the World’ calendar, I will just point out that I wasn’t suggesting that women are exploitive, just simply that they know our nature. Personally, I think that taking advantage of the weaknesses of others is both fun, and useful; take my Friday night for example, I go round to my local homeless shelter with a bucket of fish and force the starving vagrants to fight to the death for my bounty.

"Thems mah fish haids"

Try as I might, I can’t bring myself to hate Zombie Strippers (and believe me I really did try); as for all its faults, it’s still far better than anything I’ve previously reviewed. This could be due to the fact it doesn’t take itself seriously, has retro camp value, and plays like a throwback to the exploitation films of the bygone era; though, if you have ever watched one you’ll realise these pretty much died out for a good reason. It manages to capitalize on the worst aspects of the genre, and make a ludicrous but hilarious comedy. Sure it’s stupid, but it doesn’t need to be anything else; though I wish someone would have told Jay Lee this. The film tries to be intelligent in the midst of tits and brains by satirising the Bush administration, mainly its failings in the economy and the war in Iraq. However these attempts are futile and patronising, like hiring a prostitute who teaches you about the dangers of global warming. At times it tries to be something it’s not, instead of just focusing on its strengths. That really is my only criticism of the film, as everything else such as the low quality of the story, or the acting (in places), can be attributed to it being the style of film it is; and like a small dog, or child, can easily be ignored.

The moral of the story is if you’re into lap dances with a decomposing beauty, but don’t want to end up a three course meal, than you’re better off going to your local cemetery. There’s that much choice, you’ll end up feeling like the fat kid that got the pizza, and chances are there’ll be more crust on what you find than on that aforementioned pizza.