Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988)

The Movie: Jack Chandler (long time B-movie regular Jay Richardson) is a private dick (i.e. detective, and yes, there are plenty of jokes about that) in L.A. who is in search of missing runaway Samantha Kelso (the Scream Queen Linnea Quigley). A check in with the police department reveals that they are having problems of their own; somebody is going around hacking up people with a chainsaw. Unfortunately for Jack, the two cases are connected.

A mysterious figure known only as the Master (Gunnar Hansen, the original Leatherface of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and his right-hand woman, Mercedes (lovely and prolific scream queen Michelle Baur) lead a cult of psychotic, chainsaw-worshipping prostitutes. Samantha has gotten herself involved with these crazies; and those who get in their way tend not to come out of the situation in one piece….

The Review:

"I'd stumbled into the middle of an evil, insidious cult of chainsaw worshipping maniacs. I had to wonder if we'd let our religious freedom go too far in this country, or maybe our immigration laws were just too lax."
-Jack Chandler

Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers had me from the pre-credits introduction; a disclaimer about not using chainsaws when nude and about to engage in sex, and a police interrogation that starts to go terribly wrong (for the police) just before the credits roll. It’s impossible not to love a movie that begins that way. Sadly, it kind of drops the anchor at the climax, but I still have a lot of fun with this one.

Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers is a very low-budget comedy spoof on noir with naked women and some horror movie elements thrown in. It is clear from the very beginning that this movie is just meant to be fun, and that nobody involved is taking it seriously. The one true gore part mainly consists of Michelle Baur holding a chainsaw that, despite the sound effects, is obviously not on. She laughs evilly and waves it around while somebody just off camera throws red paint and blatantly plastic body parts at her. This alternates with shots of her victim, who tries to writhe convincingly and keep his limbs off camera at the same time while that same off-camera individual throws more red paint on him. It isn’t a high-quality affair, and it isn’t meant to be.

The cast, overall, does a good job with their parts. For the most part they deliver their lines well, and it’s clear they are enjoying themselves. The only exception is Gunnar Hansen. He really does not display any screen presence and he delivers his lines with very little, if any, emotion. On a personnel note, something about his appearance and speech makes me think of an acquaintance of mine. Not that said acquaintance has a cult of psychotic, chainsaw-wielding hookers; but considering his standing in the local gaming community he probably could if he really wanted to. There’s no significance to this, it’s just one of those weird similarities you occasionally find in disparate individuals.

My only real complaint about this movie is the ceremony at the climax. The ceremony, and Quigley’s preceding Virgin Dance of the Double chainsaws, is a major letdown. The ceremony itself just drags. As for the Dance; admittedly the idea of Linnea Quigley wearing just a thong and paint dancing with a pair of chainsaws is wonderful. Unfortunately, it fails in practice. This is mostly because Quigley doesn’t have any muscle or meat on her at all and obviously can’t do very much with the two heavy chainsaws she’s holding. Mostly I just wonder how she’s able to hold the things at all with those stick arms.

Don’t get me wrong; I love Linnea Quigley, she’s one of my favorite actresses. It’s just that this scene really doesn’t work for her, or the movie. Fortunately, the following chainsaw duel does make up for it a little. It’s still the weakest point in an otherwise fun movie.

What Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers has to recommend it are as follows: naked women, a garbanzo premise, some truly great lines (such as the quote at the beginning of this review, which is one of Jack’s voiceovers); and a lot of fun, if ridiculous and juvenile, humor. This is not a movie to watch if you are easily offended. However, if you are in the mood for some twisted, brainless fun, it’s great.

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