“Zombie Strippers” is the kind of title that was in vogue in the 1980s, in that moment when bad movies got hip and Ed Wood got discovered. Thing was, when you actually watched “Surf Nazis Must Die” or “Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death,” they weren’t funny, or so-bad-they-were-good, or anything. They were just boring.
“Zombie Strippers” lives up to this tradition. It is as amateurish and dumb as anything stuck on You Tube by some dude and his buddies.
Shot on horribly cheap video, the film boasts a couple of celebrity names, an abundance of nudity and gore, and a simple plot: An outbreak of zombie-ism lands at an underground strip club.
Soon the dancers are chomping on clients, which is certainly an interesting way of responding to the dilemma of the “male gaze.” The club’s owner (hammy Robert Englund, “Freddie Krueger” from the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies) sees this as a great boon to business.
Which doesn’t actually make much sense, since the clientele is being eaten. But this movie is not big on sense.
The main stripper is played by Jenna Jameson, a porn star with some experience in plastic surgery. Receiving it, that is, not performing it.
In fact, in this strip club, natural breasts are as scarce as good dialogue. Not that I was looking, but the nudity is non-stop. (How did this movie get an R rating? Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution” merits an NC-17, but this doesn’t?)
The whole thing is kind of an update of the Ed Wood-scripted “Orgy of the Dead,” which is an excuse for a series of strip-teases. (Or, uh, so I’ve gathered, in my scholarly research into the history of film.) But at least “Orgy” is campy.
Writer-director Jay Lee thinks he’s being cute by layering in references to philosophers, a classic film-school tactic. In general, though, distancing yourself from your material is not an endearing ploy.
One funny touch: The stripclub patrons aren’t all that different after they’ve become zombies — still vacant and ravenous. That’s the movie’s target audience, so Lee might be biting the hand that feeds him … so to speak.