Friday, 7 October 2016

Strippers vs Werewolves (3 Stars)

This is my Halloween Challenge film #7. Despite giving it a lukewarm rating last time I watched it I thought I would watch it again, and this month's 31 film horror challenge is a good excuse. I haven't revised my judgement after the second viewing. On paper it looks like a good film. It features top British actors with a guest appearance by the wonderful Robert Englund, it has pretty girls, and it has werewolves. But something intangible is missing, and I can't say what it is.

Needless to say, the plot is cheesy and comical, but that's not the problem. That's what you would expect from a film like this. It's about gangland wars in the East End of London, and one gang just happens to be made up of werewolves. The film starts in Basildon in 1984. A popular strip club called Silva Dollaz is regularly visited by werewolves looking for a good time. The owner Jeanette (Sarah Douglas) doesn't like the way the patrons harass her girls, but she can't do anything to stop them coming, so she burns down her own club while the alpha wolf, Tapper (Robert Englund), is present. He somehow survives, but he's captured and put behind bars for life. A new werewolf called Jack (Billy Murray) steps up to take over the pack, but Tapper still gives advice from behind bars.

In 2011 Jeanette has a new strip club called Vixens. Tapper thinks Jeanette is dead, and Jack doesn't contradict him because he's secretly thankful to Jeanette for helping him become the new alpha. Jack can't keep the secret any longer when a young werewolf is accidentally killed while having a lap dance in Vixens.

Billy Murray probably isn't well known outside of England, because he plays mostly television roles. Despite being a werewolf in this film it's a typical role for him. He's always involved in the London crime scene, either as a police detective or as a gangster.

Sarah Douglas is one of those wonderful actresses who appears in many films but is never remembered because only her character stands out. When I name her roles people reply, "Oh, that was her as well?" That's one of the highest praises I can give an actor. Actors aren't supposed to promote themselves in films, they're supposed to give their characters life and credibility.

There's something about Robert Englund that sends a shiver down my spine every time I see him on screen. He has an imposing presence that comes from his training as a stage actor.

One problem with the film is that it promises something it doesn't deliver. The word "strippers" in the title suggests gratuitous nudity, but there's very little of it. In the first 15 minutes we see glimpses of naked breasts, but after that there's no nudity at all. That's not what we expect in a strip club.

There are vampires as well. They're the sexiest girls in the film. but unfortunately we only see them for a few minutes. That's a shame. If it had been a whole film with these two girls I would have given it five stars.

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