Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! (2008)

DVD Cover (Passion River Films)
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Overall Rating 38%
Overall Rating
Ranked #4,867
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Lyanna Tumaneng
Lyanna Tumaneng
Jessica Barton
Jessica Barton
Hollie Winnard
Hollie Winnard
Sean Harriman
Sean Harriman
Anthony Headen
Anthony Headen
Review by Chad
Added: January 23, 2009
I've said it before, I'm saying it now, and I'll likely say it again in the near future, but the zombie movie has been done to death in the last decade or so. This in and of itself isn't so bad, because the "zombie film" is a genre of its own: you'd never hear someone say that the "comedy" or "action" flick needs to take a break. Now we come to the "zombedy" flick, a subgenre that has taken off ever since the release of Shaun of the Dead. Obviously, Shaun wasn't the first film to mix humor with the living dead, but it certainly made the combination popular again, and as a result, we've had more of this pairing in the last five years than we've had in the fifty before that.

Just to narrow it all down even more, it seems that a smaller division of the zombedy subgenre has arisen in recent times: the "zombedy with strippers", a fun little way to mix together blood, gore, laughs, and of course, T&A. Zombie Strippers was the one to kick this type of film into gear (though again, it wasn't the first), and even though the reactions to that release have been mixed to say the very least, it looks like that was no deterrent to the budding young filmmakers who wanted to take a stab at the mixture themselves. Thus, we find ourselves with tonight's film, a mixed bag of treats that goes by the subtitle of Strippers vs. Zombies.

The storyline is nothing that we haven't seen before. It all begins when a scientist comes up with a cure for cancer, and as the local crackhead population quickly discovers, this cure will also get you really fucking high. Thus, our scientist pal has taken to handing out samples to the local drug-using population out of the kindness of his heart, but as he and they will soon find out, this "cure" comes with the nasty side effect of turning the user into a flesh-eating zombie. As is usually the case in these films, one zombie bites one person who turns into zombie number two, both of them pass the infection to someone else and bring the total up to four, those four each get a taste of flesh and bring the number to eight, and so on and so forth until the town has a serious problem on its hands.

These zombies will soon find their way down to the local Grind House, a strip club that pays the bills for cowgirl and mega-bitch Dakota (Jessica Barton), schoolgirl Harley (Hollie Winnard), main attraction Dallas (Lyanna Tumaneng), and a handful of other strippers who serve to pad out the cast. Joining their ranks is the ever-so-subtly named Johnny 'BackHand' Vegas (Anthony Headen) and his plethora of whores, a menacing bouncer by the name of Clive (Valensky Sylvain), and of course, Harley's brother Chris (Sean Harriman). This merry band of misfits must barricade themselves inside the strip club, keep the zombies from breaking in and treating themselves to a stripper buffet, and eventually find a way out of this nightmare. Watch for a short but oh-so-sweet cameo by Tiffany Shepis as a character that absolutely shames Tonya Harding's claim to fame.

Though it may not come off as readily apparent based on the above synopsis, this is more of a comedy than anything else. Sure, it's wrapped up in the shell of a zombie flick and there are trace horror elements to be found, and yes, it does center around strippers and whores so there is a bit of T&A goodness for the men in the audience, but both of these aspects take a backseat to the comedy. I can't say that it's a laugh-a-minute affair from start to finish, but I can say that it does provide a fair number of genuine laughs, and I can also say that ninety-five percent of said laughs come courtesy of Anthony Headen as the pimp. According to the ever-so-reliable IMDb, this is Headen's first and only appearance in anything, and I really have to wonder why. The man may not be a stellar actor, but he pulled a laugh out of me damned near every time he opened his mouth. This obviously doesn't mean that he should be the leading man in Hollywood blockbusters anytime soon, but I'd love to see him in more roles like this.

There is some good writing to be found in this film, but make no mistake about it: most of the laughs come courtesy of Headen's delivery rather than the script. Take, for example, the Shakespearean line of "Bitch, I'll cut yo titties off!" - the line itself is nothing to write home about, but listening to it roll off his tongue is guaranteed to pull a solid laugh thanks solely to his delivery. He does have some good writing behind him at times and the ladies do manage to pull a giggle or two (I also enjoyed Hollie Winnard in that regard), but for the most part, it's this man stealing the show in scene after scene. A better overall script would have made this film much more enjoyable, but I can't say that the final product is a complete bust either.

On the horror side of things, we're basically presented with a run-of-the-mill zombie flick: nothing special, nothing terribly original, but nothing to gripe about either. You'll enjoy this to some degree if you're already a fan of zombie movies, but by the same token, it won't make you a believer if you're not. I will say that I did enjoy the gore effects that we were presented with, or rather, I enjoyed the practical effects. Again, these effects were nothing that would put Savini or Nicotero to shame, but when compared to other low budget offerings, they do stand out. The only problem in this regard comes when certain scenes deliver an abundance of CGI wizardry, and by "CGI wizardry", I mean "animation that would look mediocre in a Looney Tunes cartoon." This really hurt certain scenes for the gorehound in me, and it was doubly sad after I had seen what these guys could do with a little latex and fake blood.

Overall, Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! falls somewhere in the middle of my rating system. It's certainly nothing that you should rush out and purchase at full retail price, but at the same time, you'll probably get some degree of entertainment out of it if the concept sounds like something that you'd enjoy. It provides plenty of laughs, a respectable number of zombies, and yes, a bit of T&A exploitation (though not as much as you might expect from a film starring "strippers" and "whores"), but it is a little rough around the edges. 6/10 seems appropriate.
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