Hot on the heels of Zombie Strippers (2008), here’s another campy fright flick that somehow reckons lap-dancers and the living dead are two great tastes that taste great together. When an experimental cancer cure is mixed up with a batch of class-A drugs, the doofus responsible accidentally turns local hookers into infectious zombies. The flesh-eaters swiftly set their sights on The Grindhouse Strip Club, where plucky Dallas (Lyanna Tumaneng), dim-bulb Harley (Hollie Winnard), and hardboiled Dakota (Jessica Barton) are trapped alongside sleazy pimp Johnny “Back Hand” Vegas (Anthony Headen). Harley’s good-hearted brother, Chris (Sean Harriman) and Dakota’s admirer, Steven (Landon Ashworth) are soon stranded there too. The bickering survivors must band together if they are to survive the night.
Neither scary, sexy nor especially funny, this slapdash horror-comedy rambles on without bringing anything new to a siege-based zombie scenario that is getting old fast. Early on, screenwriter Anthony Steven Giordano sketches some promising characterizations among the gutsy strippers who have conflicted attitudes towards their jobs, yet stick together and have an interesting, class-conscious clash with the mercenary hookers. However, awkward attempts to ape Quentin Tarantino result in endless scenes of inane chatter and while heavy on the gore, the scares are poorly paced and ineptly handled.
Sick fun can be derived from moments like the zombie-hooker who bites off one unlucky john’s dick, but much of the humour has an unpalatably cynical edge given that this intended as crowd-pleasing nonsense. Would-be Superfly, Johnny proves especially egregious, an odious creep who discovers one hooker is pregnant with his baby (“I’ll have to work you overtime before you turn fat”), constantly threatens to pimp slap the ladies and sadly, survives through to deliver a post-credits gag that is actually quite nasty if you think about it. He does provide one laugh with his determination to name the baby Shaft, even if it’s a girl. Despite fleeting nudity, softcore fans are liable to feel as short-changed as poor Steven, who finally scores a lap-dance from dream-girl Dakota only to be interrupted by a zombie attack.
While Tumaneng and Harriman are the only actors to emerge with any credit, and former Playboy model Barton has a few good moments as the self-loathing Dakota, most of the cast give the zombies a run for their money. The sole inventive idea is that Chris accidentally ingests the cure for the zombie virus and has to let them eat him, piece by peace, to save everybody. It climaxes as Dallas gets heroic with a chainsaw, Dakota wields a shotgun and a memorably moist mass putrification drenches survivors in the red stuff, but this mostly dwells on inept gags where dumb characters do inexplicable things. Conclusive proof that a cult movie cannot be made to order.