I watch movies for lots of different reason, one of them being the title. Yes, I am that unrefined as a cinema hound that I watch movies because they are called stuff like A Chinese Torture Chamber Story or Nude Nuns With Big Guns just because some filmmaker made up a sensational name for their movie. They could be the biggest piece of shit and have been panned by every critic and fan on Earth and I would still at least give those movies a chance. I’ve been burned and completely satisfied choosing this way, but I will never stop because what if I miss something awesome? So last week when I received Strippers vs. Werewolves (Well Go USA) and Strip Mahjong: Battle Royale (Danger After Dark) in my mail last week I was chomping at the bit to see what was behind the ladies-in-lingerie Blu-ray and DVD covers respectfully. Is there any way that both of them could live up to their titles? The short answer is no and the long answer, well, keep reading.
Strippers vs. Werewolves is a British 2012 production centered around uh, well, half-dressed strippers fighting it out with hairy dudes with big ears and gnarly teeth (no, that’s not a dig at the Brits). We never really find out why the two factions hate each other aside from a prologue of a bar being blown up in 1984 and the Grandma stripper and Papa Wolf somehow being involved in that. The “werewolves” look like elves with sideburns and those plastic Dracula teeth you used to wear around as a kid. The “dancers” on the other hand look pretty authentic; none of them are stunning but when they are all made up in their high heels, make-up and skimpy outfits, they are pretty damn hot, especially blonde bombshell Ali Bastian. Interestingly, the strip joint owner is Sarah Douglas, the lady who played “Ursa”, one of the criminal from the Phantom Zone in the Christopher Reeve Superman movies. Uninterestingly, they used “Freddy Krueger” himself Robert Englund in a cameo appearance that amounted to nothing.
“Play, strip or die!” is the tagline for the sleazily titled 2012 Japanese film Strip Mahjong: Battle Royale in which, you guessed it, women play the Chinese game of Mahjong and instead of getting points, they strip. More directly, four young women are kidnapped and held prisoner by a lunatic game show host, his sexy sidekick and a banana hammock sporting, mask wearing henchman. The ladies are all found to be gambling debtors who will be playing the game, the winner getting 10 million yen and the losers, well, they get assaulted and ultimately killed. Don’t get too excited, thinking this is a slam-dunk winner. Oddly, Strip Mahjong relies on the viewer having a rather extensive knowledge of the game. Half of the movie is made up of “tense” hands of gameplay where apparently stuff happens and someone wins and others lose. I was completely fucking lost but that didn’t stop me from watching for hopes that the payoff would compensate for the boredom but it never really did. Most of the sleaze was pretty tame Asian tit play and bra and panty worship. Only a couple of scenes like the lesbian scissor-grind scene was even worth a mention.
There aren’t any real stand-out scenes in Strippers vs. Werewolves either. Yes, there are a couple of stripper dances (too few) and a some blood and gore (not nearly enough) but it’s not worthy of the name. I also never really got the intended tone of the movie. Some of the time was spent with that goofy British humor and some was trying to be a serious horror movie complete with a well-acted head bad guy (Billy Murray) who could have actually made a movie (not this one) very creepy. They also threw in some comic book-style, split screen post-editing gimmicks to try to make everything more interesting; didn’t work. They even set-up sequels with the predictable ending that are sure to bore. At least Strip Mahjong: Battle Royale knew what it was (a micro-budget exploitation film), it just didn’t deliver the goods. Now, if in some alternate universe we could have a mash-up of these movies where werewolves invade a Mahjong tournament, quickly kill and eat everyone playing, then head to the strip club for drinks and tits afterwards, I would totally watch that. It would be called Werewolves Invade a Mahjong Tournament, Quickly Kill and Eat Everyone Playing, Then Head to the Strip Club for Drinks and Tits Afterwards.