DVDSleuth.com is your source for daily DVD news and reviews.
Zombie Strippers (2008)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 10/28/2008
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 10/20/2008
If you've read all of the negative reviews on this site (and it certainly seems like I write a lot of them), then something must be very clear; It's difficult to get certain genres right. I've seen plenty of horror movies which weren't scary, comedies which didn't make me laugh, and dramas which didn't move me. (Unless you count the fact that they moved me to hit the fast-forward button.) Given this, it must be nearly impossible for a movie to combine genres, and very few succeed at being able to walk a fine line between film styles. Zombie Strippers wants to be a horror comedy and it fails miserably. Well, it is scary how devoid of humor the movie is, but I don't think that's what they were going for.
Zombie Strippers (or Zombie Strippers!, as the titles proclaim) is set in the near future, where George W. Bush has been elected to a fourth term (they don't bother to explain how that was possible). We learn that the United States is involved in several wars around the world and that Bush has outlawed public nudity. A company called Cheneyco has developed a process to reanimate soldiers so that they can fight again. There is an accident at their lab and the staff becomes contaminated. A military team is called in to quell the situation. One of the soldiers (Zak Kilberg) is bitten and he flees to a nearby underground strip club run by Ian (Robert Englund). The club is packed with desperate men and when the soldier attacks star stripper Kat (Jenna Jameson), she immediately becomes infected and becomes a zombie. But, instead of simply staying dead, she continues to strip. The audience loves her and soon the other strippers want to be zombies. Ian begins to lose control over his club, but since it's an illegal operation, he can't call the authorities. The zombie strippers begin to infect the patrons and soon, chaos ensues.
One would have to be a world-class moron to expect any movie called Zombie Strippers to actually be a quality film, but I was still surprised at what a stinker this one is. Essentially, this is a one-note movie -- the strippers turn into zombies (well, at least the title didn't lie) -- and that's it. If you don't get into that concept, then the movie won't do anything for you.
But, the question is, why would that do anything for you? It's this part of the movie which is never explained and doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Why do the patron find the zombie strippers attractive? I mean, they're zombies! It's implied that the ladies acquire newfound strength and agility which allows them to swing around the pole in an impressive manner, but they are also decomposing at the same time. We see the audience go nuts, and soon the living strippers become very jealous and want to be undead as well. At no point does anyone say, "Wow! The customers sure do like the zombie strippers for their _______."
Of course, any movie entitled Zombie Strippers is not meant to be taken seriously, and Writer/Director Jay Lee inserts many jokes into the movie. The problem is that they aren't funny. The attempts at social commentary and political humor fall flat. The opening is supposed to lampoon action movies, with some of the dialogue taken straight from Aliens, but none of it is clever or humorous. Is the fact that the strippers eat the customers supposed to be funny? If so, that joke missed me completely. One thing that the movie does have plenty of is gore. The film (even the R-rated cut) doesn't pull any punches when showing the zombies at work and by the end, the characters who aren't dead are covered in grue.
Zombie Strippers is the kind of film that wants to offer a lot of different things to the viewer, but there's not enough of any one thing to satisfy the audience. Very few will enjoy the level of gore and awful comedy here. The movie isn't funny enough for a general audience, and those who do find it funny (God bless them) may be turned off by the violence. If you've come here hoping to see Jenna Jameson bare it all, then this is the movie for you. But, I would have to imagine that she's shown more in movies which probably had better plots. As Chris Rock once warned us, "There's no sex in the Champagne Room", and there's nothing to recommend in Zombie Strippers.
Zombie Strippers becomes unclothed and undead on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film has come to DVD in two separate releases, one R-rated and the other unrated. Both carry a running time of 94 minutes, so the differences must be miniscule. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The movie was shot in HD and the image is very sharp and clear. The picture shows no grain and no defects from the source material. The image is well-balanced, as it's never too bright or too dark. The colors look good, especially any pastels and the neon lights in the club. Fleshtones are never waxy and the detail is acceptable. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are good and the speaker separation is notable. The surround sound effects are surprisingly good for such a low-budget film, and the movie never fails to display the noises happening behind the characters on-screen. The in-film music provides some nice subwoofer action.
The Zombie Strippers DVD contains a g-string full of extras. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Writer/Director Jay Lee and cast members Jenna Jameson, Robert Englund, and Joey Medina. Looking at this commentary from a strictly informational level, it works well. Lee and Englund attempt to take things semi-seriously here and give scene specific comments on locations, shooting conditions, the cast, and the effects. Meanwhile, Jameson and Medina try to be funny, and the jokes are just as bad as those in the film. The DVD contains 17 DELETED SCENES which run about 37 minutes, and can be viewed with optional commentary from Lee and Englund. In reality, the bulk of these scene are merely longer versions of moments from the film, so there's actually only about 10 minutes of truly new footage here. "The Champagne Room: Behind the Scenes of Zombie Strippers" (8 minutes) has the cast and filmmakers discussing the story and how they became involved in the movie. There is some behind-the-scenes footage and we learn that the characters' names are based on great scholars and that the movie has "huge, underlying meaning to it"...those facts don't make this movie any better. "The Dressing Room: How to Glam a Zombie" (5 minutes) has comments from FX makeup artist Patrick Magee, as well as a discussion of the zombie effects. This includes some behind-the-scenes footage of makeup being applied.
Review Copyright 2008 by Mike Long