PEELERS – directed by Sevé Schelenz – screenplay by Lisa DeVita – SPOILERS
The opening title sequence features Vancouver model LaLaa Love dancing to the music of Blue Foundation, and throughout the film, the music is great. (Notable tunes include Wild Girl by Espionage, Hillbilly Love, by Hillbilly Hellcats, Whiskey Song by Chinaski, I’m Gonna Get You by Memphis Nights, and Burnin’ Up by King Junior.)
This is not your typical zombie flick. PEELERS is skillfully assembled and the story, though inconsistent at times, is riveting. The blood, gore, and dismemberment is muted enough to allow the characters to become interesting, and the movie is, by turns, funny, campy, and poignant. There is a bartender (Cameron Dent) who fixes chainsaws and can’t deal with funky nipples, and a chef (Jason Asuncion) who makes Gordon Ramsay seem polite.
Kiwi actor Kirsty Peters turns in a lovely performance as the very pregnant Carla (stage name Licorice), who puts honey on everything, including pizza. If there is ever a post-apocalyptic sequel to PEELERS, Carla’s kid could be part of it.
Several coal miners, one with a nasty looking leg wound, walk into a small town strip joint to celebrate. One by one, they begin to fall ill, and one by one, they disappear into the men’s room. Their absence goes unnoticed for a while because the featured dancers, Elaine (Nikki Wallin), Frankie (Momona Komagata), and Tina (Victoria Gomez) hold everyone’s attention.
Elaine’s stripper name is “Baby”. Frankie’s is “Thundercunt”.
One of the film’s best moments involves Tina, a dancer new to the club. As she waits to go on stage, she becomes more and more apprehensive as she watches Elaine’s performance (an act that would be difficult for anyone to follow) but once on stage, she slowly regains confidence as she dances to Chillin’ Trippy Me by Alex Morch, (until her act is unfortunately interrupted).
But the story centers around club owner and ex-baseball-player Blue Jean (Wren Walker). She was once, we are told, a pitcher specializing in knuckleballs, although we see her throw a mean and accurate fastball, and she also demonstrates some skill with the bat. Blue Jean is selling her club to a fellow named Chromagnum (Al Dales) who has reasons for buying Blue Jean out that are much more involved than she has been led to believe. (The aptly-named businessman turns out to be more essential to the story than one would initially expect.)
Be sure to watch the end credits all the way through, or risk never finding out why the club is named “Titty Balls”.
In an interview with CYOUNGMEDIA, director Sevé Schelenz explained that PEELERS came about after his agent suggested he put “more blood and more boobs” into his next film. “I did some research,” Schelenz explained, “and it turned out there were not a lot of stripper horror films and of the ones I found, they just weren’t that great. So, I felt there was an untapped sub-genre of horror there. I went to [Lisa] DeVita and asked her if she would be interested in writing the script. I had three requests of her and they were: a strong female character(s) who kicked ass, a deft story, and some good twists. DeVita’s eyes went wide and then she told me a story about something that happened to her while she was at a strip club in Las Vegas. From there, PEELERS was born.”
PEELERS screenwriter Lisa DeVita has a cameo in the film as Officer Castanza.
Nikki Wallin (Elaine) will be Diane Johnson in THE FUSION GENERATION, a romantic comedy set in Vancouver’s Punjabi community, starring Sitara Hewitt (who was Lita in the LOST GIRL episode “Can’t See the Fae-rest“) and Bollywood legend Gulshan Grover. Writing on Facebook last August, writer/director R. Paul Dhillon said: “Rich men have a weakness for mistresses but they can be very expensive and dangerous! Filming at the Shangri-La Penthouse courtesy of Ricki Gill. Gulshan Grover’s first day and he is getting a real workout from Corinna Rennie. Love, Sex, Betrayal and Violence – The Fusion Generation has it all and then some…Look out for it in 2017.”
Momona Komagata (Frankie) stars as Lina in the erotic murder mystery VALLEY OF THE RATS, which follows a young man accused of his ex-girlfriend’s murder as he embarks on a two-day odyssey to find the real killer. The film is currently making the rounds of film festivals, and a trailer is available on Vimeo.
And Komagata will play a newscaster in the science fiction film ALPHAMEM, which is set in a near-future time when most people are equipped with neural implants that allow them to replay their memories. The tale focuses on one man who must fulfill a promise to his dead wife before all memories of her are wiped by a solar magnetic pulse. A trailer is available on YouTube, and the film will begin a limited US release on 1 December.
or from Amazon Video.