At last, after more than a century of being banned and censored, the last
unpublished work by the Bronte sisters has come to the silver screen.
Can you still call it a silver screen if the movie is in color?
But I digress.
The work was created not by the three Bronte sisters you are probably
familiar with, but the lesser-known Kimmi Bronte,
the Bronte's saucy little tart of a half-sister. Interestingly, her original
manuscript for Zombie Strippers had hearts over both "i's" in the title
instead of those boring old dots.
Imagine this cast: Kenneth Branagh, Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino,
Siobhan McKenna, and the legendary reclusive acting genius Nicol Williamson ...
Those are just six of the many great actors who neither appeared in this
film nor would even be willing to acknowledge having heard of it. Although I'm
pretty sure Nicholson would like it.
You have undoubtedly already deduced from the title that Zombie Strippers is not a
filmed version of a Victorian romance novel, but rather a nasty, silly little
bit of comedy gorotica which can best be described as a Troma-style film,
although Troma actually had, to the best of my knowledge, nothing to do with
The story takes place about six years in the future, in the middle of
President Bush's fourth term. (Oh, forget that silly constitution. It's just a piece
of paper.) The president has taken the country into several more wars in the
Middle East, stretching the American armed services so thin that the only
possible solution to their personnel requirements is to re-animate dead
soldiers into zombie super-soldiers, who will exhibit the same American
fighting spirit with none of that pesky fear of death. That is the theory, at
least, but the experiments go wrong, and an elite special forces unit is
called in to eradicate the useless laboratory zombies. The soldiers do an
excellent job, but one of them is bitten by a zombie in the course of the
action. Knowing that his colleagues will have to shoot him in the head, he
escapes through a basement window before he can zombify enough for the others
to discover his condition.
It pretty much goes without saying that he ends up in an illegal strip
joint where he doesn't look much different from the other patrons. As his
condition degenerates, he eventually attacks the lead stripper (Jenna Jameson)
and zombifies her. It turns out that the zombie virus has a different effect
on women. While zombified men turn into the shambling, slow-moving, brainless
George Romero kind of zombies, the women turn into cunning, fast-moving new-wave
zombies who retain all their brainpower, but acquire an irresistible urge to
devour human flesh. Their energy, athleticism and lack of inhibition makes the
men in the audience think they are perfect strippers - well, at least until
they get a guy alone in the Champagne Room.
Soon there are some more zombie strippers, and this really ticks off the
other girls, who get booed off the stage because the guys want zombies,
dammit! The club's #2 stripper, who has always wanted to be #1, finally gets
herself zombified, whereupon she challenges #1 Jenna to a dance-off, which
degenerates into the ultimate catfight in the manner of the Black Knight fight
in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with the girls ripping off each other's
flesh, tearing out each other's limbs, and so forth.
It's the most Tromatic film not actually created
by Troma, and that should pretty much tell you whether you will like it. It is
pretty funny in a lot of ways that Troma films can be funny: wildly
exaggerated splatter and gore, (deliberately?) bad performances, black humor,
and lowbrow jokes, all of it as dumb as can be, yet salted with some recondite
observations from the great existential philosophers. The adventure takes
place in the town of Sartre, for example, and one of the zombie strippers
notes that Nietzsche makes a lot more sense after one dies. The strippers
spend more time discussing existentialism than make-up, and one can understand
that. After all, zombies disdain make-up, and who is better prepared to
understand the true nature of life and death than somebody who has tried both?
You get the picture. You may actually like this if you go for comedy/horror
films. Zombie Strippers does not skimp on the nudity or the outrageousness
and, while it is not my kind of movie, I admire its demented, outré sense