COMPANY: Full Moon Entertainment
RUNTIME: 75 mins
PLOT: The Tough Titty is a strip club that's seen better days, but tonight it's gonna see a whole lot worse. Spider has been losing money on his business for years, but now it's finally getting the traffic he's always wanted... unfortunately, most of his patrons are undead. With a sudden outbreak of the zombie virus, strippers Vanilla, Bambi, and Sugar deal with the disaster the way only a stripper can.
REVIEW: You don't wad in the B-Movie pool for any good length of time without coming across Full Moon Entertainment. Even if you don't know their name, chances are you know about at least some of their titles; titles such as Puppet Master, Demonic Toys, Dollman, Dollman vs Demonic Toys, Trancers, Subspecies, Robot Wars, The Evil Bong, The Gingerdead Man, Killer Eye, and even some child-friendly titles like Prehysteria, Pet Shop, and the 6-movie Josh Kirby serial. Granted, classic Full Moon titles from the 80's and 90's are easily their best, with their more recent stuff being of far-lower caliber, however that's not to say there's nothing good to find here. Sure, more often then not their titles disappoint these days (Evil Bong and Evil Bong 2: King Bong were decent, but Evil Bong 3: Wrath of Bong was a let down. And while Gingerdead Man was really good, each of the sequels got significantly worse then the entry that came before. And Killer Eye was really just a porno in disguise so I never even bothered with Killer Eye 2: Halloween Haunt), but when you stumble upon one of their true gems this day in age, all that just makes it all the more sweeter.
When they first announced this movie my gut reaction was another soft-core porno in disguise and I had zero interest in following through with watching this one, but then when the trailer came out, it actually looked pretty entertaining and I decided I'd give it a shot. Shortly after that, Full Moon offered to send me a Screener copy of Zombies vs Strippers for early review and since I've been trying to break into the Screeners Game lately, I pretty much said 'Sure, what the heck'. I figured worse came to worse, and the movie was a total dud, at least Full Moon's recent movies have incredibly short runtimes (an hour and 10 minutes normally, and that's including overly-long opening and ending credits, so really just an hour of actual movie-time), so at most I'd only be wasting an hour of my time on it. Well, when the ending credits rolled on this one, it certainly wasn't of the high fun caliber as The Gingerdead Man or The Evil Bong, but it wasn't quite too terrible either. Nothing I'd probably ever rewatch, but a good enough hour-long time waster that never did reach that softcore porn level that I was initially fearful of (though came close a time or two, but that's for later in the review).
Just like the sun rises every morning and sets every night, the movie opened up on an overly-long opening credits sequence (done in an almost-disturbing Rob Zombie-esque kind of style) that ran for well over 3 minutes, and that any sane person would start to skip past after the first 60 seconds. After that, we get introduced to our main lead, the sketchy strip club owner as he's arriving to work for the night at his seedy club, The Tough Titty. One of the things I loved most about this movie (at least in the first half, where it was applicable), is the entire zombie apocalypse is going on in the background of the movie in subtle little news channel broadcasts and radio reports playing in the background, but this guy is just not paying attention to any of it because he's too wound up and stressed out over his strip club running out of business, and having to deal with incompetent and trouble-making employees. Much like in movies like Shaun of the Dead, he's just so self-absorbed in doing his regular day-after-day bullshit job that he's not paying any bit of attention to the world ending around him just outside of this strip joint. Adding to his problems is the fact that the very few amount of business that they are getting (by way of only two men in the entire place), doesn't seem to be enjoying the girls on-show at all, leading him to blame the strippers for not being good enough. Of course as the viewers of the movie (and as the workers of this club will find out soon enough), we can already tell just by how these 'people' are acting and looking, that they're actually already zombies and they're kind of just...sitting there, groaning and mumbling ('Hmm. Dead crowd tonight' as one of the strippers hilariously worded it).
After just a tad bit too long of establishing these characters, the zombie patrons get kicked out as if they were street bums, and the sketchy manager decides to shut the club down early, since it's their final night before selling the building and he figures he'll let them all celebrate instead. Before they get to do that however, people start coming in to get out of the chaos of the zombie apocalypse outside, thus jump-starting business all over again and giving them their most profitable night all year – that is, until the zombie hordes get attracted by all the noise and music and find their way into the strip club as well, and it soon becomes the job of these tough-as-nails wise-cracking Strippers, and a temporary team-up with a biker gang led by a hilarious poetic 'The End is Nigh' kind of badass, to save everyone and fight off the zombie apocalypse that has spilled into their little slice of real estate.
And fight they do. Granted, the first half did slow to a crawl for a little bit, but just as I started to find myself bored, the second half of the movie kicked it into high gear and never let up until the credits started rolling. There are two things in the title of this movie, and it delivers all the way on both of them: This had all sorts of gory kick ass zombie-killing action, and not just by way of guns – this came complete with awesome make-shift weapons as well, such as one stripper taping her Stiletto shoe to a rod and using it as a hammer, and one really-old man zombie having his head explode because he can't take the death metal music that was playing over the radio system. But don't worry, it's not just the Strippers that get good kills in either, oh no, the zombies get some great stuff to do here as well, such as biting off fingers, ripping into stomachs, ripping someone's face off, and all sorts of various bites, scratches, and gougings. There was tons of blood and gore to be seen here, which surprised me quite a bit with how well done it all was (including the zombie make-up). Full Moon didn't give this movie its usual 25-cent CGI treatment, but instead opted to go with really well-done practical effects, and the movie came through a lot stronger because of that choice, so kudos on whoever came to that decision. There was even this one nightmare-inducing 'Big Boss' kind of zombie they had to go up against, that was some kind of weird pig-faced clown from a children's TV show-turned zombie, and the make-up work on that guy was astounding. Nightmares for Jeff tonight!
As for the second part of this movie's title...well...It goes without saying that there is quite a lot of good eye candy and tons of toplessness. Most of the girls look smoking hot as it is (especially the main female lead), but I don't think the movie goes more then five minutes at any given time without throwing some nudity out for us. Hell, when one of the strippers gets lunged at by a zombie and she steps back to get away from it, it still manages to grab hold of her bra and rip it off. She then proceeds to spend the next ten minutes topless, until she finds a stripper nun costume...only to later have the front ripped off of that, leaving her breasts exposed for the rest of the movie. And that's just one of many examples I could use, not to mention any of the numerous actual stripping and dancing scenes themselves, with one particular pole dance scene coming towards the end that totally stole the movie.
Now the main problem I had with this movie, is it's clear that it wanted you to root for these characters, however that's pretty hard to do when every single person in the entire movie is assholish, sketchy, grimy, and totally unlikable. Not a single person in this movie is worth rooting for because these are all people that I would want to have die if a situation like this ever happened. Hell, I probably wouldn't even stick around with them long enough to see them die. It's also part of the reason why I'm not such a fan of the first half of the movie, since it was spending all that time building up these characters, when really, I didn't find myself caring about them at all, so it just made me more antsy for the zombie stuff to finally start. My other issue is, while it was nowhere near the soft-core porno that Killer Eye was, there was a tad bit too much sex going on. I mean, don't get me wrong – as a straight male I do love seeing hot girl sex scenes in movies, but like with everything else, it's best in moderation and not with such an over-abundance of it. Now here, thankfully, they were all pretty quick scenes and mostly done with some kind of comedic element at play with them so it wasn't too grating, but they did keep going back to that well just a tad bit much, in my opinion.
While the movie doesn't have much re-watch value behind it, it is a pretty fun way to pass a quick hour some stormy evening with a few beer, for a one-time watch. At the very least, it has some decent actors, excellent practical effects, inventive deaths, lots of blood, tons of toplessness, some hilarious sequences (including a Michael Jackson zombie moment), and an ending that may surprise some people as to who survives and who doesn't.
Not the best movie I've watched this week, but certainly Full Moon's best movie in a long time. It hits DVD in just a few weeks on July 10th, so if you're a Full Moon fan, or just a fan of either zombies or strippers in general, then I say pick this one up and give it a watch.
6/10 rooms in the Psych Ward