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Zombies vs. Strippers

The Tough Titty, a strip club in a seedy Los Angeles slum, finds itself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse in this silly Full Moon outing. Spider (Circus-Szalewski), the proprietor, along with his bevy of shapely and jiggly employees, must cope with swelling numbers of undead perverts who congregate around the building while everyone also tries to come to terms with how they will spend what may be their last night on Earth. A pair of lewd customers wants nasty thrills; DJ Bernie (Tanner Horn) just wants to get high; while Spider and the strippers increasingly find that staying alive is more important than making money they might not be able to spend.

Slightly better than the tacky and unimaginative title might suggest, Zombies vs. Strippers is still an unremarkable pile of trash and risks overstaying its smelly welcome even at a meager seventy-four minutes padded with lengthy opening credits. There are, of course, curves galore, and a few witty one-liners; but the zombies, after a nice gradual tease during the exposition, offer only a modicum of suspense and pay diminishing returns as more and more of the snarlers appear onscreen. Good enough for a slow night, but hardly the movie this viewer would want at the top of his queue at the end of the world.

3 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Zombies vs. Strippers is:

13. Diversity-skeptical. Black stripper Vanilla (Brittany Gael Vaughn) dismisses “crazy fuckin’ white boys”.

12. Pro-gun. Guns are used defensively against the corpses.

11. Anti-slut. Fornicators are punished, with the zombie plague being compared to venereal disease.

10. Anti-X.  Like Creep Van, Zombies vs. Strippers holds Generation X/Y in low regard, particularly in terms of their value to employers.  DJ Bernie is a pothead, and the strippers can be foulmouthed and sassy. “I’m a professional. That used to mean something,” bouncer Marvin (J. Scott) reflects disapprovingly on the slacker mentality. “The American Dream is stuck in the mud,” children’s host Hambo the Ranch Hand (Chance A. Rearden) says before advocating the extermination of the rising generation.

9. Anti-TV.  Paralleling the zombie plague is the zombie-like vapidity and desensitization of the characters in the film from what seems to have been a lifelong diet of dumb television. “What would Hambo do?” Spider asks, the pig-nosed TV personality having apparently taken the place of Jesus in his life. Characters are more than once unable to distinguish between entertainment and imminent threat.

8. Anti-police. The LAPD, whether from cowardice or indifference, never enters the neighborhood of the Tough Titty. Bikers laugh at the threat of a call to the police.

7. Pro-choice/euthanasist. The infected must be put out of their misery for the good of humanity. Hambo, holding up two eggs, calls for the “eggstermination” of the young.

6. Anti-drug. Spider insults a zombie, calling it “crackhead”, and tells Bernie that weed will lower his sperm count. Later, offering a reefer to a zombie, Bernie is bitten.  When Bernie the zombie is killed by Vanilla, she cries, “This is your brain on drugs, motherfucker!” and pierces his head with her high-heel shoe. Drinking impairs the judgment of more than one character. One man is killed just as he is about to light a cigarette.

5. Capital-ambivalent. Zombies vs. Strippers presents a warts-and-all but basically sympathetic portrait of the American small businessman in Spider, who despite his efforts has failed to make the Tough Titty profitable.  Spider is not above trying to cheat a customer out of his money, but his chosen victim, musician Spike (Adam Brooks), is dishonest and an admitted thief. Adding to Spider’s woes are disrespectful and lazy employees like Bernie, whose poor turntable efforts prompt Spider to threaten to replace him with an mp3 player.

4. Anti-Christian. Christians are represented by biker Red Wings (Brad Potts), who spouts biblical claptrap but makes little secret of his nasty-mindedness. Spike gets tired of listening to his “religious crap”. One of the strippers irreverently dons a nun costume.

3. Pro-miscegenation. Black stripper Vanilla, announced as two scoops of chocolate ice cream that will make a man’s banana split, is desired by the white men around her and engages in flirtation with Red Wings.

2. Feminist.  The name of the strip club, the Tough Titty, says it all. Strong women stand the best chance of surviving. The representative male chauvinist pig (Patrick Lazzara) who uses abusive language against the strippers is certain to meet with an unpleasant end.

1. Relativist/nihilist.  “We’re all a bunch of criminals. A whole world of ‘em.”

 

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Charles Band’s latest foray into his favorite horror subgenre, the miniature plastic macabre, has exactly two things going for it: supporing players Stacy Keach and Karen Black, both of whom ought to be embarrassed for their participation in this backward-minded, meanspirited, wilful negation of racial realities aimed at all two angry young black men who wait with bated breath for every new Full Moon release.  “Beyond Django” is the film’s tag line, but “Beyond Gonzo” might be more appropriate.  Ooga Booga, a slapdash horror hash of make-believe relevance, is the sort of idiotic movie in which characters make such witty observations as, “If this thing electrocutes me, I’m gonna be pissed.”

Devin (Wade Forrest Wilson), a hardworking black medical student, is unluckily gunned down by a racist cop (Gregory Niebel), appropriately named Officer White, after being mistaken for the culprit in a convenience store robbery and murder – the 1960s Deep South of liberal mythology apparently having merged and melded with modern Los Angeles in Ooga Booga‘s bizarro world – only to be reincarnated as a revenge-seeking stereotypical bone-in-the-nose African warrior doll.  No racist is safe from the bug-eyed, reefer-puffing wrath of this spear-chucking pigmy!

The concept might have been worth a few chuckles if, like Chucky or that pesky Leprechaun, Ooga Booga had been endowed with the power to spout corny one-liners as he dispatches his quarry; but until the doll inexplicably acquires the power of speech in the final scene, he carries out his simplistic regimen of vengeance (which more than once includes the extraction of eyeballs) with an unimaginative reticence, communicating with his girlfriend (Ciarra Carter) only by nodding or gesturing with his spear.  The scene in which Karen Black – cast as an ode to her role in Dan Curtis’s excellent Trilogy of Terror, in which she also finds herself pitted against an angry doll – is boringly pursued by Ooga Booga through her trailer is only an unintentionally poignant reminder of how far this film falls short of its forebear.

2.5 out of 5 possible stars.  ICA’s advice: see Trilogy of Terror instead.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Ooga Booga is:

8. Anti-slut.  A prostitute’s rash illustrates the wages of sin.

7. Anti-Christian.  Tacky trailer park manager Karen Black has a kitschy picture of Jesus on her wall.  “Jesus H. fuckin’ Christ,” Officer White exclaims angrily in another scene.  Judge Marks (Keach) refers to “puttin’ nigras in the hole” as being “God’s work”.

6. Un-p.c.  Despite its anti-racist social (i.e., socialist) message, Ooga Booga would like to have its crap and eat it, too, engaging in racial stereotype-based humor under the flimsy pretext of satirizing it, but succeeding only in confusing its tone and intentions from one scene to the next.  Hambo (Chance A. Rearden), a Krusty-like, hog-nosed, haggard, and sordid children’s show host, displays an Asian hooker doll and gives it voice: “I’ll suckie-suckie for crackie-crackie.”  Devin is annoyed by the poor taste of Hambo’s jokes, which, however, are presumably supposed to be funny for viewers.  Likewise, an unappealing gang rape scene’s seriousness of purpose is rendered suspect when it is immediately followed by a superfluous scene of the victim complacently showering with her breasts exposed to the camera while Ooga Booga watches and masturbates.

5. Pro-miscegenation.  The doll and his moll decide not to kill White’s wimpy partner (Corey MacIntosh) after seeing a photograph of his black wife and kids.

4. Drug-ambivalent.  The gang of losers working for White represents the drug trade and drug use poorly, but Ooga Booga appears to suffer no consequences from his frequent marijuana smoking.

3. Anti-police.  Cops are corrupt racketeers, racists, and lusty killers.

2. Anti-white.  Ooga Booga is one of those sad, tired exercises in flagrant fraudulence in which white bums beg blacks for handouts, packs of vicious whites rape black women, and whites as a race are generally stupid, mean, dishonest, criminal, and violent drug dealers, users, and pimps who inconvenience the law-abiding minorities.  The LAPD might as well be the KKK, and White’s non-racist partner, though he objects to the bigot’s recklessness and killing of innocents, is too wimpy ever to intervene.  A Confederate flag on the drug gang’s wall reminds viewers of the hackneyed formula according to which states’ rights and secession equal racism and sexism, which, of course, equal mental retardation, rape, and murder.

1. Anti-racist (i.e., pro-yawn).  A specter is haunting America: the specter of racism!  Nearly every racial smear applicable to blacks is included at some point.  Even Devin’s landlord is a bigot and in one scene barges into his apartment to complain about noise and calls his tenants jungle bunnies.  “I want you to remove that stain from my world,” Judge Marks says, exposing the genocidal flame that burns in every white man’s heart.  Ooga Booga personifies hate and stereotyping reappropriated as deadly emancipatory weaponry leveled against their masters and originators.

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