A-Z Daily Throwback Review: Zombie Strippers (2008)


         It doesn’t take an extremely observant person to notice all of the zombie film that have flooded theaters and rental shelves since Danny Boyle’s successful re-imagining of an apocalyptic, zombie-like virus. Shortly afterward Zack Snyder (300) brought the running zombies to America with his remake of the second in George A. Romero’s legendary zombie series, which he returned to quickly afterward with Land of the Dead and more recently with Diary of the Dead. The question is, why did Romero choose this time to make his zombie comeback?


Sure, they were already popular again, but the reason they became popular when in the 1980s nobody seemed interested is somewhat of a mystery. Since zombie films are often read as apocalyptic, and with The Night of the Living Dead (1968) seeming to reference to the Vietnam War, it seems to make sense that zombie films would become popular while we are at war and living in an apocalyptic world. With all of the stress and anxiety brought on by the these films, it is a relief to see them begin to gain some humor and enjoyment in recent reflections on the zombie genre. Once again our trend seems to follow the British horror films, oddly enough, who also added humor to the genre with Shaun of the Dead.


Zombie Strippers makes no attempt to hide the social and political commentary, humorously giving a drastic future in which George W. Bush has become a dictator in the United States, with many wars raging overseas and nudity illegal in the United States. Whereas zombies in many past films have come from unknown origins, we are told directly on a news program that the zombies are being created to become soldiers in the many wars. As always happens, the virus gets out. A group of soldiers are sent into the research lab to kill all of the zombies, but when one of them is bitten he runs away to save himself. When he accidentally stumbles into an illegal underground strip club and unwittingly gives the virus to the strippers.


When the star stripper, Kat (Jenna Jameson), is bitten by the zombie soldier, the club owner, Ian (Robert Englund), is surprised to see her get back up. Rather than resort to simply feeding off of flesh, the female zombies in this film retain the ability to remember what they were trained to do, as the soldier zombies are meant to, so Kat immediately begins stripping again. When the small club begins benefiting from the zombie stripping, the other strippers begin offering themselves to be bitten in order to become popular at the club. The only downside to the strippers is that they resort to biting when giving private lap-dances and the male zombies are not nearly as controlled once infected.


Writer/director Jay Lee wrote a clever script with strippers discussing philosophy in relation to the transformation of the strippers. At times Lee’s reach extends beyond his grasp, especially when the actresses playing the strippers stumble over the words of dialogue. Many are too committed to their roles while others remain campy through the entire film. Surprisingly Jameson seems to be the one able to stay campy and humorous without losing the persona she is playing. It seems strange that the porn star in the film would be the most natural, but I suppose she has enough experience in front of a camera to feel comfortable. Roxy Saint of the goth rock band Roxy Saint and the Blackouts is also one of the strippers, but her acting is slightly less convincing as a goth stripper. You would think she should be a natural. The doorman is also played by Ultimate Fighting Champion Tito Ortiz, ensuring that a large number of the cast has a recognizable name, even if it is in another field of entertainment. Fortunately, the film is soaked in enough graphic violence and nudity used for humor and arousal to distract from the many errors in the clever B-film.


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