Gort vs strippers and werewolves: Jim Moon reviews retro exploitation flick Strippers Vs Werewolves

Commander's log, Stardate 29052013.2:

"Bloody hell! What happened here?!" Admiral Moon spluttered as he appeared on the communication channel.

"Uuuh, it's a long story, sir," I muttered, trying to step in front of the debris left over from Commander Walter's monkey-army rampage, "We'll have this cleaned up very soon."

"You'd better, Commander. Commander Manning will be visiting very shortly, and you know how he can be," the Admiral said. "Sweet space-Jesus, this place is more of a mess than the film I saw last night."

"What film was that, sir?" I asked.


Watch out! There appears to something stirring in the shadows of the schlock forests and in the nitrous cellars of B-movie land! I refer, of course, to the recent slew of movies with 'versus' in the title. The blood and tears swilled back when Freddy met Jason and Alien bumped into Predator have soaked into the irradiated soil of the el cheapo production, and now, several years later, all manner of noisome things that ought to crawl have learned to walk - or rather stroll unapologetically - onto the DVD shelves. In the case of Strippers vs Werewolves, two things that the young male market will hopefully think cool are pitted against each other in deadly combat.

In the lead roles we have Billy Murray (best known as gangster Johnny Allen in Eastenders), Sarah Douglas (forever engraved on fanboys’ minds as the sinister-but-sexy Ursa in Superman II), and two UK soap starlets, Adele Silva and Ali Bastian, both veterans of lads’ mag scantily-clad photo shoots, as our stripper heroines; but wait, that’s not all: we have cameos from more famous faces – Martin Kemp, Lysette Anthony, Steven Berkoff, Lucy Pinder, Alan Ford and Robert Englund. The film's not without some good jokes and there’s a great comic turn from Simon Phillips as a highly competent, but very uncool monster hunter.

So then, if we also inform you that in addition to having a cast that can act and a sense of humour, it’s also rather slickly produced for a low-budget film, you’ll be ordering the beer, popcorn and pizza already...

"The story lurches about like a drunk on a Saturday night, stumbling, bumbling and, while occasionally amusing, ultimately going nowhere"

...but wait! Back away from the phone! There is one crucial point that has not yet been revealed – the film is bloody awful and not in an entertaining way.

Evidently the makers spent a good deal of time on the look of the film – there’s all manner of wipes in the form of claws slashing the screen, silhouettes of naked ladies, jazzy montage sequences and lots of de Palma style split-screen shenanigans. Unfortunately, flashy vision mixing can’t disguise the fact that, as a supposed horror comedy, it fails to serve up enough of either. More damningly, it even fails on its own title – despite having a quartet of lovely ladies as our heroines, none of them actually strip, and there’s not much nudity elsewhere either. Similarly, there’s a distinct lack of werewolvery; but when there is, the creature design is so poor, you really wish there wasn’t.

In fairness, the script isn’t entirely terrible. The central concept of a group of London gangsters who are also werewolves - a lycanthropic Firm - is a good one. Ditto pitting them against a club full of young lovelies. The trouble is that the story lurches about like a drunk on a Saturday night, stumbling, bumbling and, while occasionally amusing, ultimately going nowhere.

If you're thinking that this may be a movie so bad it’s good, think again. For that is the final hurdle at which Strippers vs Werewolves falls – there’s too much good in it for it to be entertainingly terrible, but not enough for it to be enjoyed without irony. The movie feels like a missed opportunity on two counts.