Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
The synopsis for 'Stripped to Kill' reads as follows… A Maniac is Killing Strippers. Detective Sheehan Has One Weapon to Stop Him. Her Body.  Not exactly a true statement.  I don't recall Detective Sheehan (Kay Lenz) using her body to stop much of anything.  Unless you count the time in the movie when she used her body to stop Detective Heineman (Greg Evigan) from being horny… but even that didn't work so well.  Concorde Pictures and their inaccurate synopsis team… I tell you. 

Our film starts with a dancer Angel (Michelle Forman)… not a stripper per se… showing Mr. Roper her new moves.  Also watching is this stripper's girlfriend Roxanne (Pia Kamakahi).  These two girls really, really love each other, but the problem, however, is Roxanne's clingy brother Eric who really, really loves his sister.  Tragically, one evening when Angel went to check on her girlfriend, she is thrown off a bridge, doused with gasoline and set on fire.  By chance, on the scene are Detectives Sheehan and Heineman, but they aren't very good at their jobs.  And on top of that, Heineman is pretty damned douchey.  One of his favorite things to do, other than cruising in his underpowered Suzuki Samurai, is to take his fake, retractable switchblade and stab Detective Sheehan with it.  It cracks him up to no end.  I was thinking this was going to be critical somewhere down the line, but no… just something to let us know what a douche bag Detective Heineman is.

Heineman has an idea though.  Admittedly only one stripper has been killed, at least that I can remember, but what if there's a stripper serial killer?  Might as well cut that off at the pass, right? What would be cool if Sheehan went undercover, as a stripper, and caught this clown.  Reticent at first, Sheehan goes ahead and hits the club, as arguably the worst dancer ever, wins the job and now the investigation can begin.
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Now in all honesty, things kind of grind to a halt in this movie for the next hour or so.  Detective Sheehan's investigative skills leave much to be desired since all she does is ask a couple of questions here and there.  Detective Heieneman's main function seems to be getting increasingly upset that Sheehan is dancing nude, despite the fact it was his idea.  We have a few suspects floating around and we do end up with another dead stripper, but there's not much urgency in anything that's happening.  Like we mentioned earlier, Sheehan and Heineman do get down, but apparently it wasn't any good because Heineman left all pissy.  Not the least bit grateful for the gift he was given.

But what we did get was a lot of dancing.  Sheehan might not have done much police work , but she does spend a lot of time on the stage working out her various dance routines.  And there are a lot of dance routines in this movie.  A lot.  'Stripped to Kill' is made up mostly dance routines.  I know I shouldn't be upset at an obvious exploitation film from Roger Corman enterprises calling itself 'Stripped to Kill', and then complain because there's a lot of stripping in it, but that's  exactly what I'm going to do.

Ah, but allow me correct myself and say that there isn't a lot of 'stripping', but dancing.  Legitimate dancing.  Especially the amazing Tracy Crowder as Fanny who is really one hell of a talented dancer.  Then, near the end of the dance, the dancers would rip their tops off.  We didn't just get a snippet of these dance routines, no sir, we got the whole choreographed thing.  Speaking purely from the corner of nostalgia, watching a lot thin women with big 80's hair flashdancing topless to terribly 80's synth pop did have a certain amount of charm to it, but I'm still thinking I needed more kill to go along with the strip. 

Eventually Sheehan gets her man, more or less, in one of the longest chase and hunt scenes in low budget movie history.  I will also say that I didn't see the big twist coming.  Probably because Director Katt Shea didn't it play it fair, so of course I didn't see it coming.  Cheater.
The truth of the matter is that Katt Shea is the only reason I tracked this movie down in the first place.  We first saw Miss Shea in the movie 'Barbarian Queen' and observed that went from in front of the exploitation camera to behind the exploitation camera, and wanted to see what she could do. Ms. Shea is a beautiful woman to be certain, and one who could've easily given herself a role in the movie had she so chose.  But the thing with 'Stripped to Kill', if the focus has shifted just a little bit more to the actual killing of the strippers and the investigation of these murders and maybe a little less dancing… I think I would've liked it a lot more than I did.

Not that my ultimate dissatisfaction with this movie is going to stop me from becoming a Katt Shea completest.  A second Stripped to Kill, Dance of the Damned, Carrie II: The Rage… debating Poison Ivy… we will see.
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