Directed by: Fred Olen Ray
Written by: Fred Olen Ray and T.L. Lankford
Starring: Jay Richardson, Linnea Quigley, Gunnar Hansen
Reviewed by: Tyler B.
They charge an arm and a leg!
The 80's were a great time for horror fans who favored a large helping of cheese with their scares. At one point it appeared that the sex comedy and the horror film merged creating such gems as The Slumber Party Massacre and Frankenhooker. Even popular straight slashers like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street ascended to either goofy one liners or cheesy and ridiculous kills as their sequels progressed. Even with the fromage piled on, these films turned a profit for their distributors. It also seemed the more goofier and sexier you're movie's title the more those video tapes were flying off the shelves. And as you're walking through a video store how the hell can you pass up a film featuring a buxom babe on the cover holding a chainsaw? Three words: Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers.
In Hollywood it appears hookers are hacking up horny men with chainsaws left and right. Detective Jack Chandler (Jay Richardson) is on the case of trying to track down a missing teenager (Linnea Quigley) whom he suspects is caught up in the middle of the unsolved murders. Upon finding a bloodied strip club matchbook, Jack goes undercover and stakes out the club where he meets Mercedes (Michelle Bauer), one of the chainsaw-happy hookers. Before Jack realizes she's one of them, and that there's more than one, it's too late. Plunged into the dark underground of the Hollywood strip, Jack discovers the murders are linked to a religious cult headed by a chainsaw-worshipping madman (Gunner Hansen) and his cult of deadly beauties. Now he'll have to carve his way out of this mess, and rescue the missing girl, before he loses his limbs. Beware the busty babes, beware the religious fanatics, and most of all beware the Virgin Dance of the Double Chainsaws!
I had a lot of fun watching Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers. It's face paced, considering it's only 72 minutes long, and there's never a dull moment. There's plenty of blood, babes, chainsaws, and copious amounts of nudity to make this one of the better B-movies to come out in the late 80's. Fred Olen Ray mixes a lot of humour in with the horror and I was constantly cracking up during Jay Richardson's screen time as the private detective. Often his character is narrating the film in the tone of 40's/50's detective noir serials. Personally, I thought that it was a great touch and really worked for the overall story structure. The film really felt like a cross between those bikini beach babe flicks and a detective noir mystery. Throw in some chainsaws and some blood and you got a cocktail sure to knock you out. The writing is sharp, the acting is pretty decent for how low budget the film is, and the gore is pretty gruesome, if not at least comical. Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers is a near perfect drive-in/grindhouse horror comedy.
Shot for only a little over $50,000 and in only 5 days, Fred Olen Ray got a whole helluva lot of bang for his buck. Fred Olen Ray has made some bad horror films before, but he's also keen to show you that if you don't have a lot of money you can still get good talent, write a fun script, and be creative to make that budget look bigger than it is. And if you've got a title like Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers that also helps. Some of the set-pieces were shot in the actual production offices since they had limited cash and the Aztec-like temple of the chainsaw worshippers was built from left over sets from the William Katt horror comedy House. As a horror comedy the gore gags are over the top. In one of the opening scenes, Mercedes strips down completely nude except for a shower cap and covers her Elvis portrait hanging on the wall in plastic before hacking up the john she took back to the motel. Limbs fly and blood sprays out all over the place in a very cartoon-esque manner. But just like Friday the 13th, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers is sending a message to it's audience: practice safe sex. If hookers with chainsaws isn't a bold enough image to suggest that, I don't know what is! And as noted by Linnea Quigley in numerous interviews, all the chainsaws were real! Sure, they may have changed the chain to a felt rope in some scenes for safety, but all the exhaust fumes are authentic.
Retromedia, Fred's personal company, re-released the film on DVD recently in a 20th Anniversary Widescreen Edition. Finally the movie comes to DVD 16x9 enhanced! The transfer is not the greatest as it's taken from the only remaining 35mm film print in existence, which happens to be a print that has been screened across numerous theaters and drive-ins. But for this film, I don't consider this to be a downside; sure there's dirt, dust, debris, grain, and scratches all throughout the print, but this only ups the grindhouse factor of the film and really takes you back to the good old drive-in days. There is a real downside to the transfer however, it's got quite a bit of artifacting, especially in the reds. Rounding out the disc as far as extras we get a commentary track featuring Fred and co-writer T.L. Lankford, a 'making of' featurette, and the original theatrical trailer. I really enjoyed the 'making of' and we get interviews from Fred, Linnea, and Michelle Bauer discussing how this low budget flick became a very successful cult B-movie.
If you're a fan of B-movie horror comedies, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers will be right up your alley. 72 exhaust-filled minutes of chainsaw hookers, gum shoes, religious madmen, boobs, blood, and even more boobs will satisfy all your cravings. Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers made me feel like I was 12 again, where you'd go to the video store and rent the most ridiculous movies you could find based on the cover or title alone, and sometimes you'd find a real gem. I can gladly say I've added this to my collection and I can see myself revisiting more often than a lot of movies just because it's so much fun. So what are you waiting for? Grab a copy of this movie and get your chainsaw a-buzzing! Buy it!
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