Zombie Strippers

The chicks may be topless, but this horror schlock wears its pretensions on its sleeve. In Sartre, Nebraska, the military has concocted a zombie serum to recycle dead soldiers into the fearless fighting undead. After an uprising, one government-issue corpse shuffles toward a strip club named Rhino, owned by wicked capitalist Ian Essko (Robert Englund). Yes, writer-director Jay Lee is making an allusion to Eugène Ionesco’s absurdist play about conformity. (It’s possible he might have even read it.) Ionesco gave us an everyman who refuses to follow his town in turning Rhinocerotidae. Here, strippers weigh the merits of reanimation after headliner Kat (Jenna Jameson) sees her tips skyrocket after she becomes an undead dancing diva. Jameson may have grody, molting skin sprayed with so much blood that, when she throws off her top, you can see the outline of her bikini, but post-life and post-inhibition, she’s totally wild on the pole. (Jenna’s acting wunderstroke is changing up the way she shakes her assets.) “Fuck it, what’s the worst that could happen?” shrugs Essko as his dancers line up for their fatal bites – he’s raking in enough cash that he can afford to lose a dozen customers each shift when his girls get hungry. There’s gore and death and a billiard ball scene more hardcore than the wickedest Bangkok dive, but what’s most painful is Lee’s Bush- and Arnie-bashing political humor, which could have been ripped from a 2003 episode of SNL. Neither incredibly smart nor incredibly sexy, the film succeeds as a drunken, sloppy, ballsy, shameless romp, complete with two strippers catfighting over existentialism.

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