Peelers (2016)


Canada. 2016.


Director – Seve Schelenz, Screenplay – Lisa DeVita, Story – Lisa DeVita & Seve Schelenz, Producers – Lisa DeVita, Todd Giroux, Seve Schelenz & Brendan Smith, Photography – Lindsay George, Music – Vince Mai, Visual Effects Supervisor – Jesse Lyon, Visual Effects – Little Monster VFX, Special Effects Supervisor – Keir Vichert, Makeup Effects – Masters FX, Production Design – Todd Giroux & Seve Schelenz. Production Company – Pounds (LBS) Pictures/Sleep Apnea Productions/Robot Post


Wren Walker (Blue Jean), Caz Odin Darko (Remy), Madison J. Loos (Logan), Al Dales (Chromagnum), Cameron Dent (Tony), Momona Komogata (Frankie), Kirsty Elizabeth Peters (Licorice/Carla), Nikki Wallin (Baby/Elaine), Victoria Gomez (Tina), Manny Jacinto (Travis), Rafael Mateo (Pablo), David Torres (Mario), Edwin Perez (Jesus), Andrea Rosolia (Panuche), Jason Asuncion (Farmer John), Rob Scattergood (Officer Karl Robinson), Katherine Blaylock (Officer Simon Lacey), Emma Docker (Aja)


It is last night at the Titty Balls stripper bar run by Blue Jean. She has been forced to close down due to the fact that the club has been bought out by the businessman Chromagnum. As the girls go about their routines, a group of four men arrive from the local coalmine, come to celebrate the fact that they have found oil. However, the men have become infected by the oil and in short course turn into zombies. As they in turn either kill or infect the patrons, strippers and other staff, the survivors are forced to fight for their lives.

Peelers was the second directorial film for Canadian director Seve Schelenz. Schelenz had spent two decades working as an editor and film colourist before making his directorial debut with the Found Footage horror film Skew (2011). Following the success of that film, Schelenz was offered money to make a further horror work. Peelers was shot in sixteen days at an abandoned bar in Coquitlam, British Columbia.

There have been a surprising number of horror films over the last few years that have offered the combination of strippers and zombies with the likes of Zombie Strippers! (2008), Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! (2008), Big Tits Zombie (2010), Stripperland (2011) and, just for variation, Strippers vs. Werewolves (2012). Peelers is not a zombie film per se – in that it is not specified exactly what the creatures are, they behave slightly differently – but what we have could be a zombie film in all other regards. (The only aspect that does not work is the discovery that water can be used to defeat the creatures, which is clearly a desire to get away from the usual shooting zombies in the head, although when this is an Achilles Heel derived simply the fact that oil and water do not mix, the idea seems stretched). The title ‘Peelers’ does not immediately suggest a horror film – although an internet search shows that it is a slang term for a stripper that originated in the US in the 1940s; on the other hand, for someone who has watched sufficient UK tv, it is more familiar as a slang term for a British policeman (named after Sir Robert Peel, the politician, later Prime Minister, who shaped the modern British police force).

Peelers delivers up exactly what you expect of it – strippers getting their gear off and zombie-like creatures devouring people with a great deal a bloody enthusiasm. The results are undeniably entertaining, especially the relish with which Seve Schelenz serves up the gore, blood-letting and meltdown effects. Rather than being a film sold around women taking their clothes off (which to be fair, Schelenz gets most of the women with speaking parts to do at various points), he also has them kicking ass – often showing them (especially Wren Walker) as being far more in charge than the rather clueless guys.

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