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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents
Zombie Strippers (R-rated Special Edition) (2008)

"Tired of that same old lap dance? Well pull up an extra seat, young fellas, and experience Rino's exclusive face dance! One of our lovely ladies will sit on your face and give birth to your head!"
- Ian (Robert Englund)

Review By: Matt Serafini   
Published: November 10, 2008

Stars: Jenna Jameson, Robert Englund, Joey Medina
Other Stars: Shamron Moore, Roxy Saint
Director: Jay Lee

MPAA Rating: R for Strong violence and gore, sexuality/nudity and language
Run Time: 01h:33m:57s
Release Date: October 28, 2008
UPC: 043396252325
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C C-B+B B

DVD Review

I like to consider myself an easy going horror fan. Sit me down with the most inane movie out there (see my recent Syngenor write-up for evidence of this) and Iíll be perfectly content to watch. Hell, Iíll probably even enjoy. But Iíve got two rules with which I evaluate films like Zombie Strippers: They cannot try too hard to be funny and they cannot believe to be cleverer than they really are. Sadly, I find Zombie Strippers guilty on both counts.

We open with yet another George W. Bush gag (you would think the entertainment industry could begin to give it a rest, but apparently not). Good Ďol W. is accepting his fourth term in the Oval Office (howís that for a horror story, hardy har har!) and his regime has proposed an all out nudity ban in the country. Naturally, this is bad news for all strip club owners and pornographers as they quickly resort to running Speakeasy-style operations so to satiate their customers. When a commando unit is called in to clean up a zombie outbreak at a research facility, one of their members, Byrdflough (say it out loud), succumbs to the undead attackers. Fearing execution at the hands of his peers, he flees to a nearby strip club only to unleash his infection on the dancers and clientele. Itís not long before a full fledged zombie outbreak is let loose on the club and the strippers and patrons find themselves besieged by an army of wise-cracking stiffs.

This stuff is largely innocuous and those looking only for a healthy dose of gore and breasts should be satisfied. Itís clear that writer/director Jay Lee is going for an all out cult flick here, but thatís part of the problem: Itís far too obvious heís going for it. There isnít a joke that doesnít feel forced, while the most outrageous bits are hampered by terrible CGI and lame sight gags. Thereís nothing wrong with trying to pay lip service to the films that inspired your own creativity, but itís astounding to note how many modern films miss the point. The majority of these flicks work because theyíre not trying to be funny (not trying this hard, at least). But if youíve ever wanted to see a naked zombie launch a GCI pool ball from her vagina, look no further.

Letís talk about Jenna Jameson. Much ado has been made of her performance in this one but I canít understand why. Iíve read reviews offering kudos to her routine as a stripper who gets sexier after sheís been bitten. The best I can say about her, however, is that she isnít horrible. In all honesty, Iíve seen Jenna exhibit more acting skill in her adult features Ė and thatís no sarcasm. Sheís capable of crossing over, but Zombie Strippers isnít going to make it happen. In fact, her role consists of two sexy strip sequences and a few zombie attacks. Robert Englund pops up in one of his most enjoyable post-Freddy Krueger roles as the germaphobic club owner but, despite some amusing lines, he canít save the material with his wit any more than Jenna can with her body.

Most of the blame has to be put upon Jay Lee. His script is simply a mess. His repeated attempts to send up the Bush Administration are as tired as they are clumsy. Thereís an evil corporation here called CheneyCo., but Lee doesnít seem to know why itís there or what heís trying to say as it never gels with anything else happening in the story. Okay, so the strip club scene is now illegal thanks to an oppressive governmental regime. Thereís nothing in the story that runs with that material beyond the fact that our characters need to avoid notifying the authorities hence, placing them between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Lee doesnít prove to be a very competent writer in any respect, though. A more straightforward example is when our military men are shown how to kill the zombies (via a classic headshot, of course). Why, then, do they quickly begin aiming for the chest and legs as soon as theyíre attacked?

One thing I will say for Jay Lee, though, is that his movie looks pretty damn good for such a limited budget. Production design is largely excellent and the make-up work is nifty as well. Props for making Jenna and the other strippers decompose over the course of the film. At first I thought the sight of a nude and zombified Jenna was inspired, but Lee isnít afraid to show their hideous side as well. The make up is fun in this regard Ė probably closer to a real rotting corpse than, say, Mindy Clarkeís sexy brain-eater in Return of the Living Dead 3. Like most modern horror films, though, thereís a hefty chunk of awful CGI work that detracts from any marginal sense of fun.

In the end I canít recommend Zombie Strippers, even to those among you who like this sort of thing. Itís definitely not the next cult sensation Mr. Jay Lee intended. It is, on the other hand, a stupid and, more importantly, boring horror-comedy that never successfully gels the elements of either genre. You want funny zombies? Take in a double feature of Return of the Living Dead and Shaun of the Dead. Thatíll more than satiate your need for comedic flesheaters. Leave Zombie Strippers to rot among its peers.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Zombie Strippers is a colorful film and this DVD proves to be a very attractive showcase for the madcap carnage on display throughout. Contrasting colors stand out nicely and fleshtones are very warm and inviting (and you do see a lot of flesh, so it's an easy one to judge). There's a lot of problems with this film, but Sony's image quality isn't one of them. Only the occasionally murky blacks detract at all, but it's a minor qualm.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
English, French (Dolby Stereo)no


Audio Transfer Review: The audio is solid if somewhat lax. Boasting a 5.1 Dolby Digital track, action and music is dynamic, if a little lackluster. Your rear channels do come alive with gunfire and music while your subwoofer keeps up pace with the bass-heavy dance numbers. My only qualm is that NOTHING feels quite as pronounced as it should. It's a better than average mix, but it falls short of emulating a theatrical exhibition.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish with remote access
17 Deleted Scenes
2 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Writer/Director Jay Lee, stars Jenna Jameson, Robert Englund and Joey Medina.
Packaging: Keep Case
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The audio commentary by the director and actors is a bit too self-congratulatory for my tastes. Englund is his usual chatty self, director Jay Lee seems very proud but spreads his appreciation around while Joey Medina comes off like an obnoxious jerk that I wouldn't want to spend two minutes with, let alone a whole commentary. Only Jenna Jameson comes off well here. She seems very proud of her work on the film and reveals herself to be a bona fide horror devotee. Very cool!!! She also wins some huge points from me for taking a dig at Paris Hilton's wonky eye! Awesome!

The two featurettes are largely pointless: An eight minute 'behind the scenes' bit which documents a strong sense of fun had on the shoot. A second, much shorter piece covers the titualr creatures in fleeting detail.

Lastly, there are 17 deleted scenes - running approximately 38 minutes long. These are okay, ranging from alternate takes and extended scenes to clipped character development. There's another Paris Hilton joke that was sadly removed from the final film, and a few gleefully un-pc comments about illegal immigrants spouted by Robert Englund's smarmy club owner. If you enjoyed the movie these are worth a look. Hell, I didn't particularly care for the movie and I still enjoyed these.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

For some reason, Sony opted to send out the R-rated cut of Zombie Strippers for review (how Ďbout the Blu-ray next time, Sony!). This cut is largely different in that it consists of wider and less detailed shots of the stripteases. I canít confirm whether or not the difference is sufficient enough to warrant seeking out an unrated cut, but saying as both movies consist of the same running time, Iíd wager not. That said, this is a solid transfer and audio mix. Beyond that, the extras aren't anything terribly memorable. I can't recommend anything other than a rental and that's only for the most curious among you.

 


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