Strippers become zombies and customers eat them up (figuratively speaking; if you're being literal it's the other way around) in Jay Lee's blood-soaked horror satire, which is neither as smart as it should have been nor as brutally dumb as it could have been.
In the not-too-distant future, the military has developed a virus that reanimates the dead, providing cannon fodder for wars around the world. The hitches include the fact that zombified women retain their intelligence, while their male counterparts become the shambling eating machines of popular movie myth, and that viruses have a way of getting loose, regardless of government assurances to the contrary. That's why there are also elite Z-Squads, whose sole job is to contain zombie outbreaks like the one that just occurred at a military medical facility in Sartree, Nebraska. All members know the drill: Kill them all with shots to the head and whatever you do, don't get bitten. No one has to spell out the consequences, but Lieutenant Byrdflough (Zak Kilberg) knows to flee when he falls afoul of an undead snapper. As it happens, there's a strip club nearby, and that's where Byrdflough takes refuge when he begins to succumb to the virus. As he deteriorates, we meet the Club Rhino family: Owner Ian Essko (Robert Englund, who played a similar role in the "Masters of Horror" episode Dance of the Dead); den mother Madame Blavatski (Carmit Levite); top ecdysiast Kat (porn star Jenna Jameson); jaded beta-strippers Lilith (Roxy Saint) and Gaia (Whitney Anderson); and neophyte Berenge (Jeannette Sousa), who just wants to make some cash and stay out of the backstage drama. The reanimated Byrdflough eventually attacks Kat, whose first move after she comes back, covered with gore, is to sneer, "I'm gonna dance." And dance she does; the other girls soon realize that she's a better stripper than ever: Customers are lining up for lap dances in the VIP room, though no one ever comes back. All Club Rhino's strippers are faced with a grim decision: Join the zombie herd or cling to their humanity.
"Club Rhino?" "Ian Essko?" Yes, ZOMBIE STRIPPERS takes its inspiration from Eugene Ionescu's absurdist parable about collective psychosis, conformity and the price of bucking the status quo, substituting the undead for lumbering rhinoceroses. Warning: Don't try to crib for Existentialism 101 by watching Lee's spoof, coproduced with his sister Angela. But on its own low-bar terms, it delivers the goods: pole-dancing, gut-chomping and Jenna J. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh