Zombie Strippers! (R)
Two stars out of four
The good about movies such as "Zombie Strippers!" is that you know exactly what you're getting going in and can keep your expectations appropriately low. This is also not the type of movie studios generally screen for the press in advance, however Sony did just that, which means one of two things. They either thought it was good or that it might be different from all other zombie movies.
They were right on both counts - sort of.
Any legitimate theatrical release that stars porn queen Jenna Jameson and horror legend Robert "Freddy Krueger" Englund cannot be ignored - as much as many would like to do so. Whether anyone will admit it or not, this is something resembling a notable pop-culture happening.
For the first five minutes, the movie shows immense promise. A faux news broadcast announces the fourth inauguration of George W. Bush (and Vice President Arnold Schwarzenegger) and the expansion of the nine-year-old Gulf War, which has spread to a dozen other countries as well as the state of Alaska.
In addition, the bit also contains a blurb about the "W" corporation (headed by you-know-who) which has developed a serum that can bring dead soldiers back to life. With so many wars going on, finding enough breathing troops is a tall order. It's very funny but unfortunately has little to do with the rest of the movie.
Set in a strip club near an Army base on the outskirts of a desolate Nebraska town, the action kicks in when an infected soldier stumbles into the establishment and attacks lead dancer Kat (Jameson). Bitten and undead, Kat's motor skills become greatly enhanced, which allows her to wow the customers in new ways. The rest of the girls - already jealous of Kat's status - realize they can't compete and must decide if they too will take the zombie plunge.
Englund stars as Essko, the club's sleazy owner delighted with the new spike in business but who doesn't have the wherewithal to recognize it will be very short-lived. Englund's Essko is intermittently funny but more often an annoying distraction.
As a sub-par, Grindhouse B-movie, writer/director Jay Lee's little trifle is mildly entertaining and gets the job done. It borrows heavily from both "Planet Terror" and "From Dusk Till Dawn" but, because of the less-than-impressive performances from the cast, it can't be taken for more than face value.
If zombies and/or strippers are your cup of tea, you'll certainly get your money's worth.
Opens exclusively at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, 931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta. Call 678-495-1424 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com.