The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

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Announcement

Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.

--Matt

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Zombie Strippers! (2008)

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This one's been a long time coming. I saw a trailer for it while watching a Dolph movie in the spring. Then I found out Sony thought they could make a little money giving it a limited release in small theaters in big cities. So I had to wait for it on DVD. Then I got it from Netflix, along with a Corey Feldman movie, and accidentally sent it back before I watched it, thinking it was the latter. Finally, I was able to take a look at it last Sunday.

Zombie Strippers! takes place in the near future, after George W. Bush wins his fourth term in office. Some research lab calls in an elite military unit to deal with a zombie outbreak, and one of the soldiers is bitten, and escapes to a nearby underground strip club. He bites Jenna Jameson, the best stripper, and she turns into a zombie too. For some reason, though, being a zombie stripper is hot, and the guys can't stop throwing ones at her. Robert Englund, the club's owner, knows gold when he sees it, and when Jameson starts eating the clientèle, he looks the other way. Now other strippers see the opportunity to make more money, and they have Jameson bite them. But, as we all know, whenever you involve zombies, things tend to get out of hand.

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This one was a slight disappointment. It was chock full of political commentary that wasn't that funny. Maybe that's why Obama was elected so easily: we were all so sick of the same Bush and Cheney jokes. And I figured Zombie Strippers! of all things would be safe from politicization. In addition, it further hurt the film because, as I mentioned above, we're in a totally different political and economic climate. These are "Yes We Can" times, not "You're doing a great job, Brownie" times, and gas isn't $4.00 a gallon, it's $1.75. I guess that's the gamble in making a horror film that's really poor political satire in disguise: it might become dated.

On the other hand, this movie has another really great message about strippers. The whole becoming a zombie thing is a metaphor for women who get breast implants and other cosmetic enhancement surgeries in order to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Obviously, becoming a zombie means you're dead and it's pretty permanent and bad, and the idea of doing that to be a better stripper is a crazy concept. What the filmmakers try to tell us is that being a stripper shouldn't be an occupation that one invests in, especially at the expense of one's body. Computer programmer taking night courses to make more money: makes sense. Strippers, on the other hand, should be taking their earnings and instead of using them to make themselves better strippers, should be using them to take the same night courses so they don't have to strip. I think that was a better message than the political ones, because at least this is one we haven't heard before.

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Jenna Jameson. Looks kinda scary. Emaciated, pale, lots of cosmetic surgery herself. Yet, when she takes her clothes off and hits the stage, she still has it. She really knows how to move in ways that men like. I'm a guy, I can vouch for that. Her character reads Nietzsche, which is interesting, because I'm not as up on his stuff as I was in college, but wouldn't being a stripper be as anti-Nietzchian as it gets? Maybe a hooker would be more so. Robert Englund, as the strip club owner, would probably turn to Nietzsche to make himself feel better for the stuff he was doing, but a stripper getting down on it would just be delusional.

Speaking of Robert Englund. Not too bad a job here. Is he that hard up that he needs to take roles like this? I can't imagine they could afford to give him more than a warm meal. For someone thats' not that bad at playing the kinds of parts he gets, it's surprising he was in this. According to imdb, he's making money doing voice work as villains for comic book based cartoons-- I mean I'm assuming he's making money at it. He's not listed as a producer or anything, so it's not like he has anything at stake. Maybe he just loves strippers and hates the Bush Administration.

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I want to use this last paragraph before my final verdict to discuss one of my favorite cultural phenomenons, the Goth Chick. I love them. Probably any my age have long since put away their red plaid skirts and dark eye make-up for a desk job somewhere, which is fine: we all have to grow up sometime. I bring this up because one of the strippers is a Goth Chick. I was disappointed when she turned into a zombie. I guess what makes the Goth Chick so intriguing is the possibility that deep down she might have a soft side, and that goes out the window when she becomes a member of the walking undead.

This is a toss-up. Just know going in that it's politically charged. After the past year, I'd had enough of that kind of thing, but you may dig it. It's plenty gory, plenty gross, and Jenna Jameson fights her rival zombie by sticking pool balls in her vagina and firing them at her. It had it's moments, but it just wasn't as off-the-chain as its name suggests.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0960890/

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