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Review: FETISH FACTORY (2017)

I’ve lost count of how many strippers versus zombies/werewolves/vampires/whatever films I’ve seen. Most were just an excuse to work some skin into a stale plot. In FETISH FACTORY, horror journalist Staci Layne Wilson’s (SHEVENGE) debut feature, she changes things up a bit. It’s set in a burlesque/fetish theatre. Which means lots of tease with no real payoff, just like the movie itself.

The Fetish Factory of the title is a club given over to recreating old-time eroticism on stage and catering to non-sexual fetishes in the back. Non-sexual in the sense there’s no actual sex happening. It’s obvious the customers, mostly depicted as drooling idiots, are getting off.

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Around the forty-minute mark, a bunch of male zombies show up and attack. Considering the film only runs seventy minutes, that’s a bit late in the game. Not that it really helps, apart from the makeup on some of the zombies. The gore is almost nonexistent and the attacks are badly staged. A really stupid twist ending doesn’t help either.

FETISH FACTORY should have been a good film. It’s written and directed by somebody familiar with the genre and who’s done several shorts. It has a capable cast that includes Tristan Risk (HARVEST LAKE, AYLA), Jennifer Blanc-Biehn (THE DIVIDE, TERROR EYES) and Elissa Dowling (WE ARE STILL HERE, BUS PARTY TO HELL). And the setting should have provided a bit of sizzle.

Nothing works, however. The script is silly rather where it tries to be funny. After the zombies arrive, it never manages to produce any tension or suspense. The characters are so bland the only way to tell them apart was by recognizing the actresses that played them. The burlesque setting is wasted. Not only is there no nudity, the routines are shot with so much editing they don’t have a chance to build any heat.

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There are some cool looking zombies, one good gore gag and a new piece of music from The Ventures (the director’s father is co-founder Don Wilson) as the title theme. But that’s far from enough to make it worth sitting through. Check out PEELERS instead, it delivers.

FETISH FACTORY is available from Indie Rights Films on Amazon and other streaming platforms.

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