“I dunno about everybody else, but I certainly got a hard-on.”
It’s closing time at Zipper’s Clown Palace, one of Hollywood’s sleaziest strip clubs, when a deranged gunman (Rick Dean) strolls on in and holds the remaining patrons, as well as its employees, hostage. As a long night wears on, we come to find that our verbose villain has developed an unhealthy infatuation with Christina Martin (Maria Ford), one of the club’s most popular dancers, and decides this is the night they meet face to face.
Like many Roger Corman productions, especially of this era, Stripteaser is very much a family affair. Dean and Ford have appeared in numerous Concorde / New Horizons Home Video quickies (a handful of ‘em together), as have Nikki Fritz and Duane Whitaker. Duane, most often seen in front of the camera, penned the screenplay directed by Dan Golden, who stood at the helm of several Concorde films. Fans of low-budget thrillers will undoubtedly recognize the name Andrea V. Rossotto, cinematographer on more than 70 productions, a good percentage of them for Corman. Tossed into the mix is R.A. Mihailoff, who played the title role in Jeff Burr’s under-appreciated Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. Here, he’s wielding bottles, as opposed to power tools, playing “Little,” the bearded, beer-bellied bartender.
Though I’ve been a long-time fan of this micro-budget, straight-to-video epic, I never before noticed the endless padding throughout its 74-minute running time. From extended dance sequences to opening titles that seem to go on forever, Stripteaser utilizes a number of methods to maximize what couldn’t have been more than a 50-page script. It’s actually over 7 minutes into the film before any dialogue is spoken. Nevertheless, there’s enough here to keep the viewer entertained, especially if said viewer enjoys excessively gratuitous nude scenes. There’s a moment in the film where one of the dancers, fully disrobed, stands over a strategically-placed stage light and there’s practically a near-glimpse of cervix.
While there’s no doubt that Stripteaser is a T&A film (the title pretty much says it all), some of the performances are particularly strong. Rick Dean plays a pretty convincing psycho and delivers every line (and demented cackle) as though this were a mainstream film meant to be seen by a much larger audience. Maria Ford, who probably holds the world record for playing more strippers than any other actress, has always given her all, despite the lackluster material she’s so often given. Here, she plays the doe-eyed woman-in-peril to the letter.
Much to my surprise, Stripteaser is available for streaming via YouTube and in its uncut, unrated version. However, if you’d like to watch using the Concorde DVD, which runs 1:14:06, please feel free to do so.