Exploring Entertainment in Florida's 850 & Beyond
By: Rob Perez
Since its 2007 resurgence courtesy of Robert Rodriguez & Quentin Tarantino, the term ‘grindhouse’ has seen a lot of spotlight in modern cinema. Prior to the aforementioned auteurs’ double feature, grindhouse was simple – sex, violence, bizarre subject matter… pure exploitation at its finest. As an art form in the 21st century, there seems to be a need to strike a fair balance; becoming true tongue-in-cheek exploitation, all while winking at the camera in a “so bad, it’s good” air of fun. Too much of any element, and you have just a flat-out bad movie. Luckily for you, director Seve Schelenz gets it right with Peelers.
From the opening credits – an NSFW spin on 007’s turf – you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Actress Wren Walker has a ball as Blue Jean “Don’t You Dare Call Her BJ” Douglas, a down-on-her-luck strip club owner on her last night before shutting down and selling the place. And, of course, no proper send off is complete without a few shots of tequila, some last hurrah dances from some rather unique strippers….and some oily pseudo-zombies crashing the party and tearing the patrons to shreds. How did they get there? There’s something about some miners, a dig gone wrong, and subplots abound, but don’t bother reading too much into all that. Just sit back and watch Blue Jean and her rag-tag team of strippers and bouncers go against the odds to win the day, all while simultaneously getting dispatched one by one.
As with any good grindhouse creature feature, what the film lacks in its gravity-defying plot, it makes up for in good ol’ fashioned nudity, gore, and visceral violence. Seve Schelenz’s team have created kills a plenty…and creative, for sure. One particular sequence regarding a character’s still-beating insides was particularly unsettling. And the direction Walker wields her weapon of choice – a baseball bat – is a gravitas similar to a certain barbed wire-wrapped bat-loving gentleman living in an alternate zombie universe, only with an added feminist streak. Speaking of, the girl power is strong with this one and timely to boot. In the era of “grab ‘em by the you-know-what,” it’s a bit of fun to see this cast and these filmmakers take that sentiment…and properly piss on it (figuratively and literally).
Bottom line: if you’re looking for a blood-soaked romp akin to Zombie StrIppers, look no further than Peelers.