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Headless Body in Topless Bar (1995)

Late one night, in a seedy topless bar, a group of men watch a stripper dance over their malted beverages. But, one of them is an ex-con who's about to put the group on a collision course ... See full summary »





Complete credited cast:
Vic Palmieri
Jennifer MacDonald ...
Bradford Lumpkin
Carl Levin
Letitia Jackson
Drunk (as Tom Breznahan)
Deborah De Voto ...


Late one night, in a seedy topless bar, a group of men watch a stripper dance over their malted beverages. But, one of them is an ex-con who's about to put the group on a collision course with death. Inspired by the events that spawned the New York Post headline, Headless Body in Topless Bar is an intense black comedy about a group of hostages held under the torment of a twisted gunman. The lonely, deranged killer leads the patrons through a bizarre, intriguing, and darkly humorous pop-psychotherapy session that's part truth or dare, part Russian roulette. As the searing drama develops, issues arise: the politics of gender, the effects of institutionalization, and the deadly dance between predator and prey. Who will survive? Candy the jaded stripper? Lumkin, the Wall Street sexual deviant? Carl, the wheelchair-bound regular? Or Vic and Creamface, the two loudmouth beer-chugging hockey buddies? Anything can happen with this madman in charge. Written by Clint Weiler

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Release Date:

16 February 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ans Messer geliefert  »

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Did You Know?


Referenced in Women of the House: Women in Film (1995) See more »


Written by Christy/Green/Scott
Published by Polygram Music, Inc. (BMI)
Performed by Lauren Christy
Produced by Lauren Christy And Rodney Lee
Lauren Christy Appears Courtesy of Mercury/Polygram Records
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User Reviews

Very possibly one of the worst movies ever made....
24 June 2002 | by See all my reviews

First off, considering some of the reviews, and the description on the DVD jacket I rented, I can only assume there must be two movies of the same name out there, since this whole "spontaneous decapitation" aspect mentioned in two other reviews is not in the movie I just watched.

Although, in all fairness, watched is a loose term. After half an hour of squirming at horrific dialogue, poor direction, and contrived scenarios, I began to skim through the movie (ah the wonders of DVD), stopping at what looked like hopeful scenes. Then I was openly fast- forwarding. And most of it was still ridiculous....

"The Man" attempts a fairly quiet robbery of a nearly vacant strip club (the only smooth part of this film). However, when one of the other patrons (apparently gifted with X-Ray vision) spots the revolver the Man's hiding with his body and jacket and shouts out, our hero (??) panics and kills the bartender. After a few moments of muttered- out- loud inner monologue, he decides it'd be best to turn his botched hold- up into a hostage situation.

Lucky for him, none of the handful of New Yorkers who frequent this club think of fighting back or resisting, even when he tucks his pistol deep into his pants pocket to feel up the club's lone stripper. Actually, he rarely holds onto his weapon, usually putting it somewhere fairly inaccessible (once even leaving it on the counter top while he roots around behind the bar).

Yet the hostages all sit quietly at their tables, ignoring countless opportunities to tackle, pummel, or simply overwhelm their captor. In one of the (only slightly) more ridiculous scenes, the Man has one of his captives dance with a chair, then turns his back, leaving this poor, mistreated prisoner holding a metal chair at arms length, with the back of his captor's head just inches away.... He doesn't try anything, of course. That would end this movie far too quickly.

The Man's pathetic attempts at forced "bonding" and psychotherapy sessions are a joke, a feeble and failed attempt to copy similar scenes in far better movies. The reactions these attempts get from his hostages are equally forced.

The characters are plastic, inconsistent, and utterly unsympathetic. The numerous scenarios that crop up through the entire movie are all over- worded, forced, and painfully silly. There is not so much a story arc as a sine wave, rippling back and forth to whatever whim the writer and director seem to have been struck with that day on set. What should have been a fifteen minute student film has been under- developed into a paper- thin feature. Saying this movie drags on is like saying General Custer could have done better at Little Bighorn.

I feel very sorry for Jennifer MacDonald, who goes through this entire movie topless for pretty much no reason at all (perhaps in a desperate attempt to keep 50% of the audience watching). I feel sorry for Paul Williams, that his career has slipped to the point that he did a film like this. I feel sorry for the crew of this film, who probably had to sit through multiple takes of these incredibly painful, poorly- written scenes. But most of all, I feel sorry for my friends and myself. We lost an hour of our lives to this movie, and we can never, ever get that hour back.

If this review keeps one person from making the same mistake, then my work here is done....

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