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Mastered in High Def, filmed in Low Brow.

DVD Review: Zombie Strippers

With its thong planted firmly between its cheeks, the aptly titled horror comedy Zombie Strippers first strutted onto home video in late 2008 only a few short days before Election Day. Normally, the aforementioned fact would have little to no significance whatsoever — but, seeing as how the movie took a lot of punches at the Bush administration, Zombie Strippers managed to date itself in a matter of days.

Having seen the same old tired trailer for Zombie Strippers on other Sony DVD titles for almost an entire year before the film’s video release, I must confess that what little interest I initially had in the movie (which was minuscule at best) vanished rather quickly. Frankly, the whole thing seemed like a bad rip-off of Robert Rodriguez’ Planet Terror. But, after finally working some time into my schedule to sit down and watch it, I can safely say that Zombie Strippers is much worse than that (and I liked Planet Terror, by the way).

The premise of the film has a top secret group of commandos that are called into a lab to eliminate all of the zombies that have since overrun the place. Turns out that the new plan from “CheneyCo” to reanimate dead soldiers so that they may keep fighting just isn’t working the way anyone anticipated — to which a newbie commando (named Byrdflough) is bitten. Escaping from his teammates (who will undoubtedly kill him to prevent the virus from spreading), Byrdflough winds up in a strip joint called The Rhinoceros Club (the first of many, many references to existentialist plays and writings), where he kills silicon-laden stripper Kat (Jenna Jameson).

Before you know it, Kat is back on her undead feet and ready to dance — and the shocked, oversexed (and seemingly rich) members of the audience are so overcome by her that she becomes a hit. Soon, the other strippers in the club are asking to be zombified, and Rhinoceros’s sleazy owner Ian (a very hammy Robert Englund) doesn’t seem to mind as long as they bring in the dough. But how many zombie victims can one hide in the basement until they start breaking out and eating everyone?

Ha, ha, ha. Blah, blah, blah.

Aside from the obvious political commentary, Zombie Strippers also hands out a less-than-subtle social commentary and a shitload of dumb jokes and predictable puns. The gore effects in the movie are fine and dandy enough (and plentiful), but chances are the average Joe who picks Zombie Strippers up will be after nudity — and there’s a lot of that, too. On the plus side, Zombie Strippers does have a nice soundtrack going for it, and contains several contributions from Roxy Saint (who co-stars as the Goth stripper Lillith). Other than that, there isn’t a whole lot here that made the movie worthwhile for me (I did like Joey Medina’s portrayal of Paco the janitor, though). Sports fans may want to pick it up for an appearance by Jenna’s babies’ daddy, Tito Ortiz.

Shot on video with a generous amount of green screen action as well, Zombie Strippers looks about as good as it can on DVD. The 2.35:1 ratio of the film seems a little cropped in some spots (that, or the DP had no idea what he was doing), but the film still contains a nice color balance and isn’t all that grainy in the least bit. An English 5.1 DD soundtrack is well-mixed, and there’s an optional French Dolby Surround track included as well. English and French subtitles are available for the main feature.

If you’re a fan of the film, then you’ll dig the special features here: there’s an audio commentary with director Jay Lee and actors Jenna Jameson, Robert Englund, and Joey Medina (which may actually be more fun than the movie itself); over a half-an-hour of deleted/alternate scenes (they left Paco’s social commentary dialogue on the cutting room floor, the bastards!); and two featurettes entitled “The Champagne Room — Behind The Scenes Of Zombie Strippers” and “The Dressing Room — How To Glam A Zombie.” A plethora of previews is also included on the disc.

The bottom line: I never thought I’d say this to a film that had both zombies and naked ladies in it, but “Yawn.”

About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the alter-ego of a feller who loves an eclectic variety of classic (and sometimes not-so-classic) film and television. He currently lives in Northern California with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.

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