Exhibiting a refreshing confidence in its own low-budget status, STRIPTEASER is above-average exploitation fare highlighted by a memorable antagonist.
It's near closing time at Zipper's Clown Palace, an LA strip club where Christina Loren (Maria Ford) is the leading attraction and a timid, bespectacled young man named Carey (Lance August) secretly pines for her. An apparently blind vagrant named Neil (Rick Dean) walks in and insists on being
served one drink before leaving. He subsequently reveals himself to be sighted, as well as armed, and takes the club hostage. He proceeds to threaten and humiliate his captives, shooting the bartender, Little (R.A. Mihailoff), in the process; noticing Carey's attraction to Christina, he forces the
two of them to make love in a back room.
Neil ultimately discloses that he hasn't picked the club at random, but has in fact been stalking Christina for weeks. To her horror, he tells her that he has not only been following her and invading her apartment, but that he's killed a young man she was dating. A couple of cops who have been
casing the place then burst in, precipitating a shootout in which almost everyone is killed, including Neil, who receives his coup de grace from Christina. She accompanies the injured Carey, the only other survivor, as he's wheeled out by paramedics.
Strip-club movies from Roger Corman are a dime a dozen by this point, but STRIPTEASER stands out from the seamy pack. As with his previous exploration into the subgenre, NAKED OBSESSION, director Dan Golden has no illusions about the kind of film he's making, and dives into its sordid world with
an enthusiasm that can't help but rub off on a game viewer. It helps that the script by actor Duane Whitaker (Maynard in PULP FICTION) is also better than average, with well-delineated characters and welcome touches of sick humor.
The movie's real anchor, though, is the vivid performance of Dean, a Corman regular who also had a memorable bit part in 1995's TALES FROM THE HOOD. Coming on like a demented Howard Stern, he at first appears to be a garden-variety nutcase, but slowly builds layer upon layer of menace until his
lengthy, chilling monologue detailing his shadowing of Christina. It's a tour de force of on-screen psychopathology that's the equal of or better than most of the movie maniacs in bigger-budgeted thrillers.
The rest of the cast acquit themselves convincingly, and the actresses playing the strippers (including Linnea Quigley in a tiny cameo) are certainly physically well-suited for their roles. And while it doesn't really transcend the exploitation genre, STRIPTEASER certainly gives fans of the female
form their money's worth. (Graphic violence, extensive nudity, sexual situations, extreme profanity.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: NR
- Review: Exhibiting a refreshing confidence in its own low-budget status, STRIPTEASER is above-average exploitation fare highlighted by a memorable antagonist. It's near closing time at Zipper's Clown Palace, an LA strip club where Christina Loren (Maria Ford) is… (more)