Plot: Amber (Karissa Lee Staples) is living her best life, running a popular dance studio and about to walk down the aisle with her beloved, Owen (Mark Hapka). Before she takes the plunge however, her friends want to have one last wild night, which of course means a party to remember. The bash is at her own dance studio, but it won’t be Amber in the spotlight, instead her friends have brought in Hunter (Tyler Johnson), an exotic dancer who uses a fireman gimmick. The fun comes to an end however, so life goes on, or at least it should have. Instead, Hunter begins to show up at the dance studio looking for lessons, then he’s dating one of Amber’s friends, and popping up in unexpected places, making Amber anxious. Has she attracted the attention of a stripping stalker or is there a reason Hunter refuses to go away?
Entertainment Value: Now this is some Lifetime style melodrama, a male stripper with an obsession, stalking a bride-to-be who might be marrying a man with a dark, hidden past. I had a lot of fun with Psycho Stripper, as it is so over the top and a constant flow of drama, but manages to keep a straight face throughout. I think that makes the movie even more outlandish, as seeing such ludicrous, soap opera narrative threads performed dead serious is just hilarious. The exception is when our exotic dancer dials things up at times, but by and large, as over the top as Psycho Stripper is, the serious tone just takes it another level of silliness. The tone helps the movie have wider appeal, as some Lifetime fans prefer the more serious narratives, but those who love the craziness can also have fun here, given the b movie melodrama just beneath the surface. I wouldn’t rank this with Lifetime’s wildest thrillers, but for fans of dysfunction and melodrama, Psycho Stripper hits a lot of the right notes. I suppose it kind of depends on whether you see this as a serious thriller that makes some odd choices, or an outlandish thriller that tries to play it straight at times. In either case, I found the movie to be a lot of fun and I have to think most fans of Lifetime style thrillers will be entertained, so Psycho Stripper picks up a strong recommendation.
As someone who loves dysfunctional characters and exchanges in movies, I was in a great place with this movie. Almost all the characters here are judgmental assholes in one way or another, to the point that even our murderous psycho seems almost likable at times. The good girls in Lifetime movies are often naive or flat out oblivious, but Karissa Lee Staples is at least given a little more to work with here. She isn’t totally unaware of the danger that is stalking her, though she is a little on the naive side, but that is more or less required from the material. If she was razor sharp and aware, there wouldn’t be much of a movie, right? Her performance is just what you’d want from this kind of role, so she’s a natural for the Lifetime style good girl, always a plus. Tyler Johnson plays the titular stripper and while he ramps up his performance at times, he is not the out of control, manic villain Lifetime often delivers. He is able to convey the obsessive creeper elements well, but also come off as a real person with some real problems, so it is nice to see a human villain, rather than a sadistic psychopath. The cast also includes Mark Hapka, Rachele Brooke Smith, Krystal Joy Brown, and Lisa Ann Walter.