Zombie Strippers (2008)
Directed by Jay Lee

Starring Jenna Jameson Jennifer Holland Robert Englund

The chief appeal of "Zombie Strippers" can be summed up in two words: head explosions.

This low budgeter has great gore effects -- and more head explosions than possibly any other movie that preceded it. A good attempt at Frank Henenlotter-style cult comedy that tackles the Living Dead genre, "Zombie Strippers" is exactly what it sounds like -- a good bad movie intended for horny guys looking for something to watch at their video store. It may be inspired by the zombie movie craze of recent years, but there's definitely more of a "Frankenhooker" vibe to it.

The film is set in a future where George W. Bush is in his fourth term. The U.S., overwhelmed by wars in Iraq, Iran and elsewhere, needs more troops. A government experiment to create some goes horribly wrong and a small zombie horde is created. In a low-budget attempt at "Resident Evil"-style thrills, a small military attack squad goes into a base to wipe out the zombies. When one of the military personnel is bitten, he runs away rather than face certain execution, and stumbles into a nearby strip club.

It's here we meet the main characters of the story. We have the virgin heroine (Holland) -- a girl trying to be a stripper to play a family member's medical bills, only to lose her nerve before she strips. We have the veteran stripper bad girls. We have the foreign "madame." And, best of all, we have Robert Englund playing the strip club owner who is trying to cover up problems as they develop in the club slowly being overrun by the zombie illness.

When one of the strippers is bitten by the infected soldier, she dies and comes back to life. The film has already established that only men become lumbering zombies -- women talk and strut. She she doesn't lose the urge to poll dance and bring guys onstage to eat their flesh, in a pretty predictible way. As other stripers "turn," their first urge is to jump on stage and strip zombie-style with superhuman pole twirling abilities. Their private room lapdances end in blood baths -- and very good makeup effects.

The strippers become Jean Rollin-like living dead beauties while the lapdance subjects they chew on devolve into Romero-like drones. As the strippers start to rot, they actually become more popular. "This zombie thing's got to end," complains one of the remaining human girls. "The other girls can't get any stage time."

Englund gives his role as the greedy club owner his all. "You're nothing until you can do what those zombie bitches can do!" he tells one of the remaining human strippers. Things climax with an onstage war between two super zombie strippers and an invasion of the club by the drone-like male victims. The film's budget basically went into hiring Jenna Jameson and Englund -- and in the CGI gore effects, which are outstanding.

All in all, a fairly original movie, which raced to get itself to a limited theatrical release before the similar "Zombies Zombies Zombies" (about strippers at war with flesh eaters) hit DVD stores. How that one stacks up against this has yet to be seen. But "Zombie Strippers" is a bloody good time.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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