Directed by Katt Shea [Other horror films: Stripped to Kill 2: Live Girls (1989), Dance of the Damned (1989), The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999)]
I first saw this one about two years ago at the time of this writing, and I thought it was decent. I think the flaws here are pretty easy to see, but at the same time, Stripped to Kill does possess some of that 80’s charm that makes the experience feel a bit better.
The main problem here, in my opinion, is a lot more time is spent on strippers’ dances then on the kills. What kills we do get are pretty decent, such as a woman being doused in gasoline and lit ablaze, or another one garroted and drug under a truck for some time. But instead of additional interesting kills, we get strippers stripping, which has it’s minor appeal, but gets a bit old, especially mixed with generally generic 80’s pop and rock.
What makes the movie stand out regardless, though, is the somewhat interesting mystery and conclusion. Admittedly, a female cop going undercover as a stripper (which has got to break at least some police codes, I’d think) is an interesting enough plot, but throw in a mysterious killer, a few red herrings (Mr. Pocket was a very decent character, and I really liked how that played out), and a generally fun finale, and you have my interest. I enjoyed the mystery here, and with the decent characters, it did make the film worth watching despite the repetitive strip sequences.
Kay Lenz was fantastic here. She’s not an actress I really know (though she was in the classic horror-comedy House), but I loved her character. Instead of looking down on the strippers, walking in their shoes shows her that they’re just people, and some rather pleasant. She was cute too, and I’d watch her strip sequences anytime. Lenz also had a very solid performance toward the end, a very emotional one, so she certainly brought something to this movie.
Greg Evigan’s (from DeepStar Six) character was another story. His sexist nature (and the way he looked down on the profession of stripping despite enjoying the performances) was difficult at times to deal with, and while I admit he was pretty fun, his character sometimes rubbed me the wrong way. It doesn’t help that, as a police officer, he harassed and was physically violent toward multiple people. A few other performances I liked include Pia Kamakahi and Diana Bellamy (who’s character, while only getting a few appearances, never failed to crack me up).
Stripped to Kill isn’t a great movie. As a slasher, it pretty much fails, but at the same time, I can’t deny I really like the mystery here, and while some stripping scenes got repetitive, I didn’t really mind rewatching this one, and what’s more, I could see myself giving this another viewing in the future.
This is one of the films that was covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. If you’re interested, listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this film.