Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Zombie Strippers (2008, Jay Lee)

This thing is a piece of trash. Seriously, it's utter trash. It's quite possibly the smartest, most sly, intelligent piece of trash I've ever seen. Zombie Strippers is trash, completely, totally and absolutely purposely. The history of film is filled to the brim with examples of film makers who had aspirations for creating real art, something really different, new, intelligent and only ended up with trash. Boom!, for example. There's nothing wrong with aspiring to reach new heights, great art has been created in the attempt to do so. This thing, goes in a completely different direction. It wraps itself in the veneer of trash while hiding some pretty intelligent well crafted social commentary, having fun with all of it the whole time.

It's a parody of both high art cinema and B-movie exploitation flicks and something of a ham handed social satire at the same time. The plot is completely ridiculous. A government created virus escapes from a top secret facility in a future created by the dissolution of Congress by an all powerful George W. Bush. Morality has been the central legislation, along with many, never ending wars. Exposed flesh has been outlawed completely, so stripping is obviously illegal.

When the virus escapes, in the form of a soldier who's been bitten by a zombie, it ends up at an underground, illegal strip club. Said soldier attacks the establishments star, who becomes an uber stripper. The crowd at this illegal establishment develop an appetite for nothing but zombie strippers. Living strippers just don't cut it anymore, because zombie strippers are sexier.

Of course, it all goes south from there, with lots of nudity, lots of gore, and strangely enough, a script practically carpet bombed with references to every major philosophical movement in history. In your face doesn't quite describe it's style. Considering the fact that the modern zombie film is steeped in philosophic allegory, possibly more than any other genre of film, as a fan I found that part of it entertaining. Writer/director Jay Lee is obviously a fan of the zombie genre, and the philosophical underpinnings which have been at it's heart since it made the jump into the modern age and the cultural lexicon with Night of the Living Dead.

It would be an overstatement to suggest this is not a film for everyone. It would also be an overstatement to say it's nothing but a mindless piece of trash, because it wears it's mindless trashiness too proudly on it's sleeve, with a wink and a nod. The best probable audience for this film is probably an extremely small one, philosophy loving fans of zombie movies. Chances are this will end up being exactly what it's intent seems to suggest, a cult oddity passed along from serious genre fan to genre fan for a number of years and generations. All in all a fun film that takes nothing seriously, including itself. It's not bad if your looking to waste some time with something fun, and mindless enough to be laughable, but not insultingly stupid either. Not a classic, but not a dud either.

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