The near future and George Dubya is on his fourth term, at war with the world and in need of new meat for his military machine. An experimental serum is created to reanimate dead soldiers, but when a zombie infects the strippers of a low-rent flesh joint, thongs hit the fan. The undead dancers prove a hit with the clientelle, even if the backroom private shows pack more bite than the customers bargain for. An unashamedly Z-grade horror with A-class monster FX, this does exactly what it says on the tin and packs a meaty performance from porn icon Jenna Jameson as a literal maneater.
With more ambition and two dozen script rewrites, Zombie Strippers could have been a Dog Soldiers-like mini-classic.
But, director Jay Lee is content with the Troma-level fratboy humour and a plot that cannibalises everything - Doom, Aliens, From Dusk Til Dawn, the Night of the Living Dead series, Showgirls, plus forgotten cult items The Gore-Gore Girls and Vamp.
And in a nod to Wes Craven, who based Last House on the Left on Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring, Lee steals the plot of the French classic Rhinocerous (even christening the strip-joint The Rhino).
Following an aborted assault on rampaging zombies in a government facility, one infected soldier seeks refuge in The Rhino and soon starts chomping on the "exotic dancers", and while the horny male patrons feast their eyes on the girls, backstage the girls literally feast on them.
Writer/director/cinematographer Lee stretches his one-joke script to a screamingly elongated ninety minutes and blows a good idea (the zombie serum transforms women into butt-kicking babes, but turns the menfolk braindead) early on in snooze-and-you'll-miss-it, exposition-heavy dialogue.
Jameson, no stranger to meat-eating movies, stand outs amidst the low-rent cast, including a slumming (even by his standards) Robert Englund as the misogynistic, racist wacko running the flesh parlour. His glamour model co-stars, however, must heroically battle a script that leaves them hanging between gore-nographic set-pieces.
Saving Zombie Strippers from one-star oblivion is Patrick Magee's stellar FX work that grossly mistreats the human head (cracking it open via the mouth, slicing the scalp off boiled egg-style, applying plenty of shotgun ventilation), paying tribute to Tom Savini and Rob Bottin, FX masters behind Day of the Dead and The Thing, and giving a new meaning to the phrase "jaw-dropping".
Undemanding fans of softcore nudity and hardcore gore will chew it down, but real horror aficionados will crave more meat on the bone.