When a female detective finds a lesbian stripper murdered and set on fire she does what any good cop would do and goes undercover to crack the case. With the help of her too-cool-for-rules partner, the not-so-dynamic duo battle sexual tension, police procedure and a serial killer with a taste for blood. Scads of 80s sluts prance about for your viewing pleasure.
Duane: I love the title and the poster for this one; it’s too bad they went the thriller route rather than making it into a super sleazy slasher film though. Don’t get me wrong, it’s plenty lurid and has a ton of striptease sequences (I’ve never understood you Americans and your titty-only strip clubs, what’s the fucking point?) with at times some ridiculously elaborate set pieces (I particularly enjoyed the last one lady-cop does with the “home from the office” scenario, complete with window blinds and vanity). It was great to see Norman Fell (Bullitt, Three’s Company [TV]) as the sleazy, yet empathetic owner of the illustrious “Rock Bottom” club (SUCH a perfect name for a grubby strip joint). It’s a bit light on plot, but what’s there is pretty entertaining, albeit formulaic. The murders while not overly explicit were deliciously malicious and misogynistic.
Jocelyn: You’re right, this is a trashy lil quickie that’s very low on plot and grue but manages to almost make up for it with complex dance routines, 80s sluts and an interesting, albeit obvious twist ending. It’s also fun to watch due to the main characters all being notable 80s TV icons. (Is ‘icons’ the right word?) Although, I can say without a doubt that I never want to see the guy from BJ and the Bear in a fucking love scene ever again; slowly removing his shirt, fumbling with lingerie, it’s unbearable. (pun!) It’s great in a totally WTF kinda way cause there are like 3 murders in the entire movie and the whole thing starts because of one dead stripper. How do they even know it’s related to her profession? What kinda cops go undercover every time a murder takes place? On the plus side, it’s a Corman production through and through so there’s more cooze strutting around than there is dialogue or (unfortunately) bitches getting slashed. Since we know he’s capable of ample sleaze and quality it would be nice if the two met on a more regular basis.
I love the fact that these dancers, (who are dancers above and beyond stripping, shaking your tits for 30 seconds a song does not a stripper make) clearly spend more time and energy setting up their routines than they could possibly be getting paid for. We have dance numbers that involve giant snakes, playing with fire, motorcycles, the aforementioned extensive set pieces; I mean, they’re doing fucking back flips in heels all over a scuzzy stage, I seriously doubt they’re getting health benefits. You never see them take one single tip and there’s a law about being too close to the customers when they’re topless?! What sort of fucked up shitty stripper vortex have we stumbled into?
Did you have a favorite stripper? Mine was Dazzle, hands down. Not that she was so hot but she had a sweetness and vulnerability that separated her from the rest. She also had a cute voice and knew how to work that pole!
D: Was Dazzle the one who looked like her face was hit with a shovel one too many times? That one could definitely dance, for sure. I’m terrible about remembering the names of characters in films. There are a couple reasonably attractive strippers in this but I’ll be fucked if I was paying attention to their names, let alone recalling them. I’ll say I liked Muffy and Starshade.
And what was with that weird garage/loft apartment? THAT’S where they decide to do the love scene, on a dirty mat on the floor of a garage? What a fucking weird-ass setup. And then there was that weird countertop oven; that whole apartment/service center was so fucking bizarre. I’m still unclear as to which one of them actually lived there. I choose to believe that they were both squatting there, hobo style; makes things more interesting.
As you mentioned this certainly has Corman’s niggardly stamp of approval all over it. Did you notice the scene (with that fucked up oven) where the boom mic popped into the shot? Heineman was talking on the phone but they didn’t bother to matte the frame so you can see him smiling into the phone but his lips aren’t moving when he talks. That’s a quality production! Or perhaps a supernatural element that was left unexplored – this is a Corman film after all.
I did dig the sets; all those dark, foggy, neon-lit streets for provocatively dressed girls to walk home alone in gave me goosebumps of joy. They certainly did a good job in capturing the shithole atmosphere of everything. Not to mention the sluts had some good shoes for the most part. What didn’t work for me was the way-too-obvious red herrings constantly rubbed in your face when you could totally tell who the culprit was just by the fact that they show up in the movie and then completely disappear. It seemed hastily slapped together and like they just wrapped a plot around the fact that they had access to a stripper pole and a bunch of dumb twats willing to shake their boobmeat.
J: Uhm, no. Dazzle did NOT look like she got hit with a shovel. She was cute; kinda fried white hair, not too long, she’s the one that didn’t take her top off because no one was paying attention and she got chewed out for it by Mr. Roper, remember? She was on the bike in the beginning, walked around in panties and a leather jacket, said she’d go with the DJ to the Dire Straits concert? HELLLO?!!
I didn’t notice the boom mic but I couldn’t help but notice that crazy oven! And Kay Lenz griping about walking around in 4” pumps, are you kidding me? That’s nothing to complain about, that’s a walk in the park, that’s practically a running-shoe! Talk to me after you’ve spent an evening in 6” with no platform, idiot!
They showed her partner and that god damn fake knife trick so much it was just a matter of waiting to see when it was going to come into play. I hate when movies rub your nose in foreshadowing like you’re some kind of mentally challenged goldfish that can’t possibly remember what you just saw. I guess all in all they are minor gripes, because it’s still super watchable for the unique twist (which I want to talk about SO BAD, but I do NOT want to ruin for anyone else) and the nostalgia. I miss the 80s so fucking much!!
J/D: If you’re looking to kill an hour and a half and you like watching topless pole dancers, this is certainly right up your alley. Stripped to Kill isn’t going to blow any minds, but it’s unique and attention-grabbing enough that it will scratch that itch for a little sleaze with your action.
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Jocelyn lives on 35 acres of woodland in an undisclosed Appalachian location. When not boozing it up or fighting the power she's tending her organic garden or collecting punk/soundtrack albums. Her best friends walk on 4 legs. She does not own a cell phone.