Strip Club Massacre (2017) | Directed by Bob Clark
Colour | 101 Minutes
Written by Bob Clark, Bruce Kilroy | Starring Alicia Watson, Erin Brown, Courtney Riggs
If you’ve ever wanted to break into indie filmmaking, read on because you’ll find what I’m about to say uplifting. Strip Club Massacre, co-written and directed by Bob Clark, proves that anyone, regardless of skill, equipment, money, or talent, can make an independent film and find a distributor for it. So grab a camera, get on out there, and start filming: the light is green.
The best thing about Strip Club Massacre is the title, because it perfectly sets up exploitative expectations. Where things sort of fell apart was in all aspects of the execution: the substandard B.P.M. (Boobs Per Minute) and the actual massacre itself, which may set a record for the slowest, most tedious mass murder in cinematic history. The poor B.P.M. rating isn’t a crushing disappointment, as at last count there are more websites devoted to the exposition of bare bosoms than there are stars in the sky, but what I found odd was the casting choice: none of the strippers with speaking parts actually, well, stripped. Or danced very much. In any other genre this wouldn’t be an issue, but this is an exploitation movie with “Strip Club” in the title, so it’s a problem.
The protagonist Megan is having the worst possible day: she gets laid off from her desk job, comes home early to find that her hateful boyfriend is banging her roommate, and subsequently gets thrown out in the street. So she goes to live with her friend, whose hateful boyfriend is the co-manager of a strip club. With few skills and no money, what’s a woman to do? Why, work at the strip club, of course. Things go from white-trash to worse in short order, what with the homicidal strippers and the awful customers, culminating in scenes of vengeance that might have been horrific if the special effects hadn’t been handled by Chef Boyardee.
The acting and writing are what you might expect from such a movie. Memorable lines include, “You can choke on your fucking bagel,” and, “What are we gonna do with this scrawny little twat?” What, indeed? (I did laugh at that last line because it’s always funny when someone says “twat.”) The shaky, often out-of-focus camerawork; mid-scene iris adjustments; poor color balancing; bizarre framing where the actors talk to the right edge of the screen from the right third; clumsy scene changes; specks on the lens that follow the action from scene to scene; and horrible sound editing suggest a certain lack of familiarity with video production, to be charitable.
There’s plenty of violence, though the vast majority of it is pointless, glacially-paced, and poorly-performed. One girl’s eyes are removed with a corkscrew (quite a feat, that). A guy gets his penis sliced off, and the trauma of the event is such that he dies immediately afterward (wouldn’t you?). People are shot with plastic guns and die. In the most entertaining scene in the movie, a man is raped with a crowbar, and bloody chunks of rectal flesh and/or fecal matter dribble out of his abused anus onto the floor in reddish plops that look exactly like canned spaghetti and meat sauce, down to what might have been strands of pasta in the mess.
Obviously the movie doesn’t take itself seriously, and nor should the viewer. Will you be entertained by Strip Club Massacre? Can’t say. Maybe it falls under the “So Bad It’s Good” category, and I missed the intent of both producer and distributor. You’ll have to decide if its runtime is an hour and 41 minutes you’ll regret spending at a screen, and make your life choices accordingly. Let us know either way.