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.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Strippers vs Werewolves (2012)

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I've seen this one on Instant for some time, and it looks like it could be a lot of fun.  Plus it lists Robert Englund in the cast, which is another selling point.  On the other hand, I had similar expectations for Zombie Strippers!, and was somewhat disappointed with that one, so who knows.  That one also had Englund.  Am I sensing a theme here?

Strippers vs Werewolves is about a London strip joint where Justice, giving Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet a private dance, turns him on so much he turns into a werewolf and she stabs him in the eye with a silver fountain pen, killing him.  That's not a good thing, when his werewolf friends want revenge, and it'll only be a matter of time before they trace his death back to the club.  That leaves club owner, Sarah Douglas, with a choice (and no it's not to jump in a flying parallelogram and escape into space): fight or run.  She chooses to fight, resulting in the ultimate showdown between strippers and werewolves.

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You ever heard that joke "how many people with ADD does it take to change a light bulb?  Let's ride a bike!"  That's how I felt watching this movie.  My God, it was all over the place, it never knew what it wanted to do.  Not to mention, it did this comic book editing/cinematographic device where the screen would be split into panels and make things even worse.  I don't remember that device working in Ang Lee's Hulk either.  The worst was how it would look like it wanted to develop something, and then just totally abandon it.  Whether it was Martin Compston's character torn between protecting Justice, his fiancee, or siding with his fellow werewolves, which runs through the film only to have him decide on his werewolves in a way that made it seem like he was never torn; or the strippers vs. zombie scorecard during the end battle, which is inexplicably abandoned after two minutes, and really never even kept score considering the strippers who were killed weren't actually killed.  I understand, a movie called Strippers vs Werewolves should be all over the place, but considering most of the jokes were of the "waka waka waka" notsomuch variety, and the gore mixed with the bad jokes felt off in terms of dark humor, the inconsistent story had me thinking "what am I doing here?"

Why is a movie like Strippers vs Werewolves so hard to make right then?  It sounds like it should make itself?  When I tell people about the Direct to Video Connoisseur, it's movies like this they think of, and movies like this they assume I'd love, and I assume it too.  I think it's that problem though, it feels like it should make itself, and then the film makers start going off the rails, whether it's a story that doesn't know where it wants to be, jokes that are just "hey-oh! Irony! waka waka waka!", or this Michael Bay split second take combined with comic book frames all over the screen style of editing.  Simpler is often better.  Maybe because I grew up on the coast of Maine, where simplicity is desired, where a lobster is simply boiled alive, cracked open, dipped in butter, and that's it, I have trouble with too much being done to jazz up something that should be so good on its own.  This story of Martin Compston and Adele Silva's Justice should be enough to carry the day if he throws in his lot with her to protect her, and in the late 80s early 90s, it would have been, and all of this craziness would've been dialed down.

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Don't get me wrong, there were some great touches in this that worked really well.  The opening credits had "Hungry Like the Wolf" playing, which was really cool.  At the end, when the strippers confront the werewolves at the end, they dress as Little Red Riding Hood, which I liked and was really hot.  I liked the idea of the strippers fortifying their club for the showdown with the werewolves, but like a lot of the film, it felt like the build up was better than the payoff.  And the actors, which I will get into more in the next paragraph, all turned in great performances and seemed to be on board with what the film was all about, even if the film didn't seem to know.

All right, so let's start with Martin Compston, who we've seen before in The Disappearance of Alice Creed.  If you look at his imdb photo, he seems so happy to see you, doesn't he?  Man, he was perfect for the guy who doesn't feel comfortable being a werewolf, and wants to protect his girlfriend, but doesn't know if he wants to cross Billy Murry, the werewolf leader.  It's too bad we never got there with that.  Billy Murray we've also seen before in One in the Chamber, and he was perfect as the baddie.  Sarah Douglas was equally great as the strip club owner, but her death was pretty weird and muddled, something I was disappointed in.  Even worse was Alan Ford, Brick Top in Snatch, who was fantastic, and is rubbed out by the werewolves without a fight.  What a waste considering they somewhat developed his character.  Finally, of all the strippers, I really liked Barbara Nedeljakova's (the two Hostel movies) character, though I think if they'd gotten rid of her awkward vampire hunter boyfriend character and made her the expert on the occult, it would've been so much better; and Adele Silva as Justice was good too, but would've been better had her character along with Compston's not been at odds with each other.  Oh, and I almost forgot Martin Kemp and Robert Englund.  That's because they're barely in the film.

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I'm writing this review as my Celtics start their first season since 1998 without my favorite player, Paul Pierce, and of all the places to see someone in a Celtics Pierce jersey, it's here in a campy horror film shot in England.  Yes, I'm also watching my Red Sox play in Game 6 of the World Series tonight too, and hopefully they'll win it, but still, I'm in for a long year with my C's, and seeing that jersey didn't help.  On the other hand, I guess it's cool that those jerseys are sold there.

Okay, enough of that, let's wrap this up.  It didn't work for me.  You might dig it though.  Too all over the place, too many things started but not finished, too hard to concentrate on anything.  As of this posting, you can get it on Instant.  Maybe check it out, at least you don't have to finish it if you don't like it like I did to write this review.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1702009/

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