Originally posted on January 30th, 2015
Purchase Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers – Blu-ray Special Edition From Amazon
Recently released to Blu-ray in a signed, special edition is Fred Olen Ray’s cult classic, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers. The blurb prominently featured on the front of the disc lists it as “the 4th greatest B-movie of all time”. While I’m not exactly sure where I would place this in the hierarchy of cult/B-movies, the film itself is a fun tribute to 30’s/40’s film noir detective mysteries, filled with all the cheese and nudity that one would expect from a film with a title such as this one.
(Please note: The signed copies are no longer available.)
Movie: Jay Richardson stars as “Det. Jack Chandler”, a private dick hired to find a young runaway named “Samantha” (Linnea Quigley). Samantha’s mother has hired Jack to find her daughter after the girl ran off due to step-daddy getting a little too “touchy-feely” too many times, or so we are told. In his search, Jack crosses paths with an ancient cult of chainsaw worshiping prostitutes, led by high priest Gunnar Hansen (“Leatherface” of Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame). The bitches with blades have been offing their “Johns” as appeasement to their God. Now that he has stumbled upon them, they intend to make Jack the centerpiece in their next blood sacrifice ritual.
Let’s be honest, folks. There are really only 3 selling points to a movie like this: boobs, blood, and Gunnar. Let’s start with “boobs”. Everyone likes boobs, right? Yeah, I thought so. The film wastes no time delivering in this department as Michelle Bauer (Nightmare Sisters, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama) is disrobed and dispatching her first victim within the first few minutes. This continues on through the rest of the film as each of the girls is undressed within minutes of their first appearance onscreen. The filmmakers knew their target audience and delivered the payoff quickly and multiple times. That is how you make an audience happy.
As for the blood? Honestly, I found the film to be quite anemic. That’s not to say that there isn’t any blood, but the quantity spilled is significantly less than one might expect. There is one death late in the film that does help make up for it, but it’s still probably not enough to satisfy the bloodlust of gorehounds out there. That said, the lack of red stuff in no way detracts from the film. The gore is not what the film is about. Not even close.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre fans will be happy to see their lovable, chainsaw wielding maniac on display here, but in this writer’s opinion, his performance is by far the weakest in the film. Simply put, there just doesn’t seem to be much energy coming from him. His screen time is limited enough to prevent this from really being a major distraction, but it definitely stands out in contrast to the rest of the cast. All of the female cast members are putting forth their best efforts and it does indeed seem as though they are all enjoying what they are doing. Although, Michelle does look quite surprised during the entirety of the “oil ritual” scene. And can you blame her? The scene is just dumb. So dumb that there is no way that it should have ever worked, but it does.
The one aspect of the film that, to me, seems to get overlooked is the performance of Richardson. Jay’s strong point is clearly his delivery, working the dialog in ways that enable him to draw focus towards himself in scenes where he should, arguably, not be the focal point. In others words, he manages to make us pay attention to him even during scenes where, really, we just want to see some tits. To me, this helps keep the movie flowing and keeps it from submerging in its own absurdity. This is an area where many other films of its ilk fall flat or get derailed. I consider his performance to be the film’s biggest strength. Well, besides the bared, bouncing breasts, that is.
While I encourage other horror fans to take a chance on this film (if they have not already done so), I do feel that it might be better geared for fans of ludicrous, “kitchen sink” comedies such as UHF & Amazon Women On The Moon.
Let’s get audio out of the way first. The film is presented in a 5.1 mix. Now, I’m probably not the right person to be talking about audio quality. I don’t have some fancy ass, high-end Dolby Digital surround sound bullshit. Maybe one day, though. I do have a cheapie sound bar, and between that and the TV speakers, I never experienced any audio issues. I never had to turn up the volume to hear dialog only to have to turn it back down when those chainsaws fired up. Voices were always quite clear, chainsaws loud and distinct, and no pops or crackles were noticed.
As for video, there is fairly heavy print damage in the film’s intro. White speckles and green lines are very evident, but I personally don’t have much issue with that. For me, it adds to the low-budget, underground feel that these types of films are beloved for. Image lacks fine detail, but there is a slight uptick in the picture quality about 10 mins into the film. There remains some very faint specks and a fairly moderate layer of grain, but nothing that ever feels overly intrusive.
At about the 45 minute mark, the transfer really takes off. Honestly, the picture is gorgeous. How Fred and his Retromedia label managed to get a film of this budget and dubious fan-base to look this good is a mystery. It’s a damn shame that some major studios don’t put as much care into their own “blockbuster” titles. I mean, did you see that first Ghostbusters blu-ray release?
Remembering Chainsaw Hookers: 27 Years Later – A new piece featuring interviews with Fred Olen Ray, Jay Richardson, Michelle Bauer, and director David DeCoteau (Creepozoids, Puppet Master 3). A look back at the making of the film, the events of its premiere, and it’s continuing “cult” legacy. Quite entertaining and informative.
Original DVD Featurette – Older interviews with Fred, Michelle, and Linnea. Fred & Michelle pretty much cover the same info from the 27 Years Later featurette, so this is mostly presented to hear memories of making the film from Linnea’s viewpoint.
“Movie Time” Hollywood Premiere – Does anyone remember “Movie Time”? I sure as hell don’t. Was this a TV show? Either way, they sent their “top reporter” to the film’s premiere at the Egyptian Theater. That “top reporter”? Greg Kinnear. Yes, THAT Greg Kinnear. Greg conducts interviews with attendees, but manages to miss most of the cast and crew. He briefly interviews Linnea, but the show refers to her as “Chainsaw Hooker”. It becomes pretty clear pretty quickly that Greg knows nothing at all about the movie. Hell, he barely remembers the name. It must have been contagious since most of the other people interviewed, including Sybil Danning, seem to have little idea of what they are about to watch or why they are even there. It comes off a little insulting to the people who worked on the film. Suck it, Greg Kinnear!!!!!!
Also included are original trailers and an episode of the Nite Owl Theater features that used to be included on Retromedia releases.
I’m not going to pretend that I’m one of these people who grew up loving this film. I was lucky enough to have a small, local video store that didn’t question what they allowed me to rent in my early teens. I rented this film a couple of times, but had admittedly forgotten most everything about it. That said, it was refreshing to find that the movie still held up quite well despite the change in cultures since its initial release. This is a title that is clearly not for everyone, but if you enjoy a healthy dose of comedy with your horror, you could do so much worse. And, once again, who doesn’t love boobs? Highly recommended.
WARNING: Trailer contains spoilers!