for 'Stripped to Kill' reads as follows… A
Maniac is Killing Strippers. Detective Sheehan Has One
Weapon to Stop Him. Her Body. Not exactly a
true statement. I don't recall Detective Sheehan (Kay
Lenz) using her body to stop much of anything. Unless
you count the time in the movie when she used her body to stop
Detective Heineman (Greg Evigan) from being horny… but even
that didn't work so well. Concorde Pictures and their
inaccurate synopsis team… I tell you.
Our film starts with a dancer Angel (Michelle Forman)… not a
stripper per se… showing Mr. Roper her new moves. Also
watching is this stripper's girlfriend Roxanne (Pia
Kamakahi). These two girls really, really love each
other, but the problem, however, is Roxanne's clingy brother
Eric who really, really loves his sister. Tragically,
one evening when Angel went to check on her girlfriend, she is
thrown off a bridge, doused with gasoline and set on
fire. By chance, on the scene are Detectives Sheehan and
Heineman, but they aren't very good at their jobs. And
on top of that, Heineman is pretty damned douchey. One
of his favorite things to do, other than cruising in his
underpowered Suzuki Samurai, is to take his fake, retractable
switchblade and stab Detective Sheehan with it. It
cracks him up to no end. I was thinking this was going
to be critical somewhere down the line, but no… just something
to let us know what a douche bag Detective Heineman is.
Heineman has an idea though. Admittedly only one
stripper has been killed, at least that I can remember, but
what if there's a stripper serial killer? Might as well
cut that off at the pass, right? What would be cool if Sheehan
went undercover, as a stripper, and caught this clown.
Reticent at first, Sheehan goes ahead and hits the club, as
arguably the worst dancer ever, wins the job and now the
investigation can begin.
Now in all
honesty, things kind of grind to a halt in this movie for the
next hour or so. Detective Sheehan's investigative
skills leave much to be desired since all she does is ask a
couple of questions here and there. Detective
Heieneman's main function seems to be getting increasingly
upset that Sheehan is dancing nude, despite the fact it was
his idea. We have a few suspects floating around and we
do end up with another dead stripper, but there's not much
urgency in anything that's happening. Like we mentioned
earlier, Sheehan and Heineman do get down, but apparently it
wasn't any good because Heineman left all pissy. Not the
least bit grateful for the gift he was given.
But what we did get was a lot of dancing. Sheehan might
not have done much police work , but she does spend a lot of
time on the stage working out her various dance
routines. And there are a lot of dance routines in this
movie. A lot. 'Stripped to Kill' is made up mostly
dance routines. I know I shouldn't be upset at an
obvious exploitation film from Roger Corman enterprises
calling itself 'Stripped to Kill', and then complain because
there's a lot of stripping in it, but that's exactly
what I'm going to do.
Ah, but allow me correct myself and say that there isn't a lot
of 'stripping', but dancing. Legitimate dancing.
Especially the amazing Tracy Crowder as Fanny who is really
one hell of a talented dancer. Then, near the end of the
dance, the dancers would rip their tops off. We didn't
just get a snippet of these dance routines, no sir, we got the
whole choreographed thing. Speaking purely from the
corner of nostalgia, watching a lot thin women with big 80's
hair flashdancing topless to terribly 80's synth pop did have
a certain amount of charm to it, but I'm still thinking I
needed more kill to go along with the strip.
Eventually Sheehan gets her man, more or less, in one of the
longest chase and hunt scenes in low budget movie
history. I will also say that I didn't see the big twist
coming. Probably because Director Katt Shea didn't it
play it fair, so of course I didn't see it coming.
The truth of the matter is that Katt Shea is the only reason I
tracked this movie down in the first place. We first saw
Miss Shea in the movie 'Barbarian Queen' and observed that
went from in front of the exploitation camera to behind the
exploitation camera, and wanted to see what she could do. Ms.
Shea is a beautiful woman to be certain, and one who could've
easily given herself a role in the movie had she so
chose. But the thing with 'Stripped to Kill', if the
focus has shifted just a little bit more to the actual killing
of the strippers and the investigation of these murders and
maybe a little less dancing… I think I would've liked it a lot
more than I did.
Not that my ultimate dissatisfaction with this movie is going
to stop me from becoming a Katt Shea completest. A
second Stripped to Kill, Dance of the Damned, Carrie II: The
Rage… debating Poison Ivy… we will see.