At its heart, Zombie Strippers is a deeply stirring tale about the emptiness of the human condition and the fulfillment of zombiedom. It is also an epic tragedy, where few if any of the characters come to an understanding of the true horrors of existence.
For a movie made by humans, for humans, it takes a surprisingly understanding view on zombie life. Historically humans have reviled and indiscriminately murdered our kind, so it is especially pleasant to see that we do have some allies among them. In the movie, the zombie strippers are depicted as being extremely desirable, as well as having their own motives and personalities (faint as those may be). Several of the human strippers voluntarily become zombies, something that we know happens fairly frequently in real life but due to human prejudice is rarely shown on film.
The writers of the movie have also clearly done some research before developing their film. I doubt that they actually bothered to meet with any real zombies, and they certainly didn’t (as usual) hire any zombies, but at least they seem to have searched out zombie-made porn, and taken some cues from that. Not great, but I have to say, better than what other human directors have bothered to do. The classic bloodshot comes early in this film, but is shot with enthusiasm and fervor. And again, zombie sexuality is paired with a heavy metal soundtrack. Is there something about heavy metal that seems appropriate for the undead? I guarantee that we have a wide variety of musical tastes here.
Where the film fails, it fails dramatically. Male zombies are shown as nothing more than mindless creatures, a throwback to the older more classic zombie films. In a movie that made such leaps forward in showing a fairer portraits of zombies, it is especially disheartening to see such a pointless, unrealistic, and discriminatory portrayal of male zombies. Many of my male friends found the movie offensive and hurtful as a result.
The film was only rated a 4.4 on IMDB, and I have to admit to feeling pretty conflicted about how to rate the film. On one hand, it is one of the most progressive portrayals of zombies I have seen to date. On the other, it introduces some deeply problematic themes that may continue to haunt us. In the end, I can only give it faint praise – which only serves to highlight the disappointing nature of human-zombie relations.
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