Stripperland (2011)

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Overall Rating 33%
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Review by Chad
Added: October 20, 2011
What do you get when you combine Zombieland and Zombie Strippers? Stripperland, of course! Look, I'll be honest: when I saw this pop up on new release day over at Netflix, I thought that it would be a horrible movie. I didn't expect anything award-winning or groundbreaking, but nevertheless, I threw it in my queue faster than you can say "zombie boobs." Why? Because I thought that maybe, just maybe, it would provide me with some laughs, some boobs, and possibly even some entertaining zombie carnage. I wasn't asking for much, but what I got... well, you know the deal by now.

The story finds nerdy Idaho (Ben Sheppard) teaming up with his book of rules concerning strippers and the badass Frisco (Jamison Challeen) in an attempt to survive the stripper onslaught. You see, this is a world in which some sort of infection has turned almost all women into zombies that dance to bad hip-hop music, beg for your dollars, tear off their clothes, and then tear into your flesh. Frisco has it out for these bitches after seeing his boyfriend torn to pieces by them, and the only thing he wants more than bumping his body count is some nice, fresh baked goods. You know, cookies. A pie. Some cake. None of those nasty Twinkies, just some good, home-cooked baked goods.

They eventually meet up with what could quite possibly be the last two uninfected women on the planet, sisters Virginia (Maren McGuire) and West (Ileana Herrin). The four get off to a rocky start, not trusting or even really liking one another, but they stick together because there is obviously strength in numbers. They decide to head for Oregon, which may be the stripper capital of the world, but it is also the home of Grambo. Who is Grambo? Well, watch and find out. Watch for cameos by Daniel Baldwin, Lloyd Kaufman, and - much like Zombieland - a special cameo appearance that I won't spoil.

If you couldn't tell, Stripperland is not just a zombie movie with strippers: it is a genuine parody of Zombieland, and a pretty good one at that. It's not as good as Zombieland, let's just get that out of the way right up front, but it is an entertaining movie. It is full of laughs, and it parodies all of the major Zombieland scenes (while also throwing in quite a few nods to other horror classics) in a way that is both entertaining and respectful.

I'll be honest, when I read the concept for the movie, I sort of expected a skin-flick with "zombies" and some low-brow humor. That's really not what this is. Sure, there are tons of scantily-clad strippers in the movie, but this is not just another skin-flick; in fact, there are only about ten seconds worth of actual nudity in the entire film. That is a good thing, because had this been just another softcore flick, I can't say that I would have enjoyed it near as much as I did. It may skimp on the boobies, but it more than makes up for that with plenty of laughs and a ton of in-jokes for the horror geeks in the audience.

Aiding this is a perfect run of acting from the stars, Jamison Challeen in particular. Challeen has some of the best lines in the movie, and his line delivery and mannerisms make even some of the weaker lines work better than they should have. Ileana Herrin is also great as the no-nonsense, machete-wielding babe, and she manages to steal more than a couple of scenes away from the rest of the cast. The other two leads are entertaining as well, no complaints from me, but these two in particular were clearly the stars of the show.

The only real complaint I can make is that the movie runs just a little too long and tries to pack just a little too much in. There's one lengthy scene with Daniel Baldwin as a hip-hop DJ, and it is pretty good - not great, but pretty good. There is another which takes place in a mall, in an obvious nod to Dawn of the Dead. Again, it's a pretty good scene, but not great. There are a couple of other scenes like this, scenes that are nothing to rave nor complain about, and I think that cutting one or two of them out would have made the overall product a little leaner and a lot more exciting.

Overall though, I'm giving Stripperland a recommendation for fans of horror / comedy hybrids, for fans of zombies, or for those of you who simply loved Zombieland. It is not as good as the movie that it is spoofing and it is not a perfect movie on its own merits, but it is pretty entertaining and I think that most of you will have some fun with it. 7/10.
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