DVD Review: Strippers vs. Werewolves (15) / Director: Jonathan Glendening / Screenplay: Pat Higgins, Phillip Barron / Starring: Robert Englund, Steven Berkoff, Billy Murray, Lysette Anthony / Release Date: May 7th
Strippers vs. Werewolves starts off bad, trails off in the middle, and the less said about the end, the better.
What a bitter disappointment. This is a film that has squandered every opportunity it had to shine. It’s a lamentable take on horror and a monumental step in the wrong direction for the genre as a whole. If a review could be summarised in two words, it would be: Don’t Bother.
The story follows the untimely demise of werewolf Mickey (Martin Kemp) in the strip club Vixens owned by Jeanette, Sarah Douglas of Superman fame. His pack, led by Ferris (Billy Murry), a hard, cruel gangster type, seeks revenge. But these aren’t any ordinary run of the mill strippers the werewolves are up against. These gals can fight as well as strip, and the stage is set for a bloody, titanic showdown.
Strippers vs. Werewolves makes no secret of its tongue in cheek approach. It’s a send up of the genre, a tribute to all those wobbly set horrors of our youths. Or rather it should have been. But it falls short of the mark; in fact misses the mark completely. The script simply doesn’t deliver. There’s no substance to work with, no memorable dialogue, no interesting characters. In fact, the characters portrayed are for the most part heavily clichéd and uninspired. The press release refers to an adult with learning disabilities as a masturbating man-child. Also adding to the general woefulness is the almost complete lack of budget, we can only assume it must have been spent on the actors. There’s not a lot of cash here, and it really shows, but that’s not reason enough to produce one of the worst films of all time.
Dog Soldiers had a meagre budget and produced a strong Werewolf film. They couldn’t afford the transformation scenes so became creative in their approach. A few years back we were treated to Colin, a zombie flick with a heart, all for the meagre sum of £45 and a packet of biscuits. Colin proved you don’t need money to tell a good story. And here we come to the heart of the matter. The story sucks. The writing is so bad it would make an episode of Dora the Explorer positively shine. Amazing really when it actually has good actors stepping up for various roles: Billy Murry from EastEnders, Martin Kemp in a short-lived cameo, Alan Ford as a barman (sadly underused and lost in what are mostly filler scenes), Lysette Anthony – from Corrie - and worse of all, Robert Englund. How the mighty have fallen. In fairness to Mr Englund, his one scene is performed with sufficient menace, almost as if the writers pulled their collective finger out when they decided to bag a film star, but true to form once his one scene is out of the way they fall back on their laurels and serve yet another double helping of bland.
The film truly flounders, scenes fail to move the story on in any meaningful way, actors do the best they can, but it’s simply not enough. Stripers vs. Werewolves shies away from gore when it should embrace it. The strippers don’t actually do that much stripping. And it fails to engage on almost every level. So congratulations to Strippers vs. Werewolves, they have successfully achieved: