Shame on you! Just when you thought undead cinema had seen it all. From nights and days and lands and dawns, with rage, returns and even raves—if you think you’ve seen every manner of battle against the forces of the walking dead, think again. And prepare yourself for the ultimate in titillating terror…it’s Zombies vs. Strippers!
Writer Anthony Giordano and Director Jason Murphy might not have titled their film Zombies vs. Strippers but no-matter, the poster art declares that plot point in no uncertain terms. Actually, the films working title was Crack Whore Zombies which misses the none-to-subtle joy of the current moniker, but provides a useful descriptive for the genesis of the productions cannibal cast.
So, what’s in a name? Well, in this case it’s all pretty damn obvious…Brain-munching, bloodlusting, zombie bastards!
It’s a real case of girls gone wild when a prostitute turns ravenous after scoring some contaminated crack and starts chomping hookers and johns by the boat-load. Before long it’s a barrage of flesh-feasting madness outside the local gentleman’s club. Holed up inside, a trio of sexy strippers—Dakota (FHM model Jessica Barton), Dallas (Former Mrs. Oahu Lyanna Tumaneng) and Harley (Hollie Winnard from TV’s Beauty and the Geek)—along with an assorted cast of characters are forced to not only deal with each other, but also the growing zombie contingent smashing against their barricaded doors.
In the wake of SHAUN OF THE DEAD, the independent horror scene has certainly seen its fair share of “Zomedies”. Most of these ill-conceived projects suffer the same humiliation as Harley’s character in the film: On the event of her first dance of the night, the painfully unprepared Harley is pelted with quarters from an old man in the audience. Impossible to catch loose change in mid-flight, eventually one of the quarters simply sticks to Harley’s exposed chest.
This laugh-out-loud moment in the film very nearly defines the problem that exists within the sub-genre. Most of the guys making these types of movies are so caught-up with the comedy that they neglect the horror and wind up tossing joke-after-joke up on the screen, hoping like hell that something will stick. Giordano and Murphy also whip a few too many jokes in—periodically—too short a succession. But, overall the tone is spot-on, and more importantly, funny to boot—making ZOMBIES! ZOMBIES! ZOMBIES! still sanguinary, and more in tone with the cheekier genre elements that made John Gulager’s FEAST such a festive feral romp.
Indeed, the effects work supplied by Rick Gonzales (Automation Transfusion) provides a bloody good time for all, empowering the characters to take out their zombie foes with an arsenal of everyday objects—from reliable stand-bys like shotguns and chainsaws to the inventive use of a weed-whacker. There are sliced off faces and blown off limbs all climaxing in a computer generated orgy of exploding living dead that paints the interior of the club and what’s left of its clientele in gallons of grue—it should be more than enough creative kills and cheerful carnage to sate you gorehounds out there.
The only aspect of the film that fails to impress is the pre-credit opening sequence. Shot in 3D (a format that I’m quickly becoming sick of—“cough”—NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD—“cough”) B-movie starlet Tiffany Shepis makes a cameo in what appears outwardly to be something like ICE PRINCESS 2—BLADES OF GORY. The short sequence is set-up as a quick gag and then a brief introduction to the “hero” character Chris (Sean Harriman). The problem is that once you determine that this sequence was only a movie, pop off the 3D glasses, and then try to assimilate yourself back into the plot, the momentary disorientation is just subtle enough to make you forget what you saw. So, later when we meet Chris again, we struggle to determine who he is, and what his relationship is to the story. I will however submit that this problem might be resolved with a 2D version of the film. But for now, we’ll call it a minor misstep in an overall satisfying production.
Look…I’ve seen a lot of the so called “new breed of zombie-comedy” and I can tell you that rarely do filmmakers pull it off. Horror-comedy seems to be the de facto stomping ground for Indie filmmakers. The box office failure of films like SLITHER and BEHIND THE MASK only proves prescient for the future of the sub-genre. But, if more low-budget mavericks like the crew behind ZOMBIES! ZOMBIES! ZOMBIES! could keep putting out quality product like this, than perhaps those of us who see the humor in hacked off limbs might start to turn the tide. ZOMBIES! ZOMBIES! ZOMBIES! might not be the best the genre has to offer but in a category where far too many first-time feature filmmakers fail to hit the mark, Anthony Giordano, Jason Murphy and their bevy of beauties manage to give us an entertaining movie despite increasingly bleak odds.