Directed by Katt Shea [Other horror films: Stripped to Kill (1987), Dance of the Damned (1989), The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999)]
The first Stripped to Kill wasn’t exactly an amazing movie, but it did possess a decent amount of charm, along with a solid conclusion. This sequel isn’t near as good, and though it’s still certainly watchable, I can’t imagine many people thinking it’s better than the first.
One problem I had was that no actors from the first movie appear, or are even mentioned. If you’re making a sequel, even if you can’t get back any of the original performers, you can at least bring them up in conversation once, but no, with one exception, the only thing this movie shares with the first are the strippers.
The one exception is the character Shirl. In the first movie, this character is played by Diana Bellamy, and she stood out as a rather amusing character. The same can be said for Stripped to Kill 2’s Shirl, played by Virginia Peters. They don’t necessarily look alike, but they do have very similar roles (gathering information which is vital to the finale) and attitudes, so I’m pretty convinced this is supposed to be the same person, which makes it even worse they couldn’t do more to connect this to the first movie.
And to be fair, there’s a stripper here named Mantra, played by Debra Lamb. Lamb appeared in the first movie also, as an unnamed amateur stripper, so it’s likely the same character, but that’s not something I realized until checking IMDb credits, and that fact definitely wasn’t mentioned in the film, but still, thought it was worth pointing out.
Ignoring that, though, the story here isn’t quite as interesting or violent as what we got from the first one. We have a stripper who thinks she’s going crazy and killing people in her sleep (and to be fair, there’s somewhat convincing evidence of that), and a city cop investigating the crime, but can’t stop himself from falling for the stripper. It’s not exactly riveting, and I could have done without the elongated dream sequences (though they make sense come the ending), and overall, the story’s just average.
There’s a few things I like about the ending here, what with the identity of the killer, but especially compared to the first movie, this ending felt pretty tame and simple in comparison. I sort of appreciate the artsy dream sequences (which make me partially wonder if this movie was aiming a bit higher than it might seem on the surface), but there’s a handful of them throughout the film, and as this progressed, they sort of lost their charm.
Eb Lottimer was okay as the main detective. He wasn’t anything special, and ultimately pretty forgettable, but he had a sensual soul. Maria Ford (who appeared in a handful of 1990’s horror, such as The Haunting of Morella, The Unnamable II, Slumber Party Massacre III, and Necronomicon) was okay, but given that she thinks she’s going insane, her performance isn’t always the most stable. Karen Mayo-Chandler was decent, though again, as the movie goes on, I was less enthralled with her. As I mentioned, Virginia Peters was pretty fun, Debra Lamb was maybe the hottest woman there, and Marjean Holden was Something Else.
The kills here are far from great, mainly because we never really see them. It’s true that we might see the aftermath, some blood and a corpse, but as poor as the kills were in the first movie, it certainly outstripped this one (SEE WHAT I DID THERE????).
Stripped to Kill probably never needed a sequel, so with that in mind, Stripped to Kill 2: Live Girls probably outperformed expectations, and to be honest, I did like this a bit more than I thought I would. That said, I doubt it’s a movie that will stay with me long, and I’d mainly recommend people just catch the first movie.
This is one of the film’s covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. To listen to Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this one, check the video out below.
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