Monday, July 6, 2009

Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (Fred Olen Ray, 1988)

The consistency of the arterial spray may have been erratic at times, the sets sparsely decorated, and the sexual innuendo was not even close to being indiscreet, yet Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers somehow manages to live up to its righteous name. Brilliantly combining the seedy, neon-tinted netherworld that is Hollywood, the cutting efficiency of a gas powered chainsaw, and the compassionate functionality of your average hooker, writer/director/schlockmeister Fred Olen Ray warmly embraces his low budget and lurid premise with an overly medicated brand of gusto. Casting aside pesky little things like refinement and dignity, the surprisingly competent production has a straightforward ambition: Show as many topless women wielding chainsaws as humanly possible without seeming too unsavoury in process. Now, do they succeed in this regard? It's hard to say. I mean, as far as crossing the line in terms of unsavouriness goes, I have no idea. (I lost the ability to distinguish between tasteful and distasteful years ago.) However, the fact that Michelle Bauer, Linnea Quigley, and Esther Elise all appear unclothed while using chainsaws in a non-brush clearing capacity is irrefutable proof that this film delivers on its promise. Which is something that not all cinematic yarns about prostitutes who commit ritualistic murder with chainsaws in Hollywood can attest.

Proudly wearing its debased premise on its freshly shaved bikini area like an itchier than usual rash, you'd think the film would be about chainsaw hookers from Hollywood. Of course, people who think that are naive and a tad decelerated in the intelligence department. On the surface, the film is essentially a detective story about a 1940s-style private dick named Jack Chandler (Jay Richardson) who is hired to locate a runaway teen named Samantha (Linnea Quigley) but ends up sidestepping the creaky chainsaw blades of a chainsaw worshiping cult along the way.

Digging deeper though, one won't find anything else, so don't bother digging, there's nothing down there. That being said, if looked upon utilizing my not-renowned cockeyed point of view, the riches to be found in this deceptively moronic film are galactic in their immenseness. When visually serviced using my untreated brain, the film's outlandish mix of shameless nudity, strange violence, and smart ass dialogue all coalesce to create a powerful elixir, one that somehow renders all the images that dance before you on the screen profound and illuminating.

This unforeseen profundity and illumination is best observed during the film's opening salvo in which the gorgeous Mercedes (Michelle Bauer) seduces a barfly named Bo (Jimmy Williams) and proceeds to take him back to her minimally furnished place of residence. Humorously disgusting, yet playfully erotic at the same time, Mercedes entices Bo with the first-rate shapeliness of her astounding physical structure. This genuinely serene moment gives the rosy-cheeked Mercedes a chance to showcase her wittiness (lot's of saucy comments directed towards his imminent ejaculation). This barrage of drollery lets the enchantress unveil her regulation-size chainsaw without alarming her not-yet dismembered date.

I also liked how Mercedes took the time to cover her painting of Elvis with a plastic sheet and offered her victim a shower cap (to shield his hair from the intensity of his splattering blood). The absurd courtesy of this gesture had me thinking about rolling around on the floor in laugh-fueled stupor for a solid five seconds.

It should go without saying, but I think Michelle Bauer (Café Flesh) is the bee's knees when it comes to being facetious while naked and crazy. Whether she's calling herself Michelle McLellan or Pia Snow, Miss Bauer manages to ooze a well-groomed form of levelheadedness no matter what role she happens to be inhabiting at the time.

Making lacy ankle socks with high heels and a blue micro-mini skirt seem like the sexiest thing on the planet, horror movie veteran Linnea Quigley (Savage Streets) literally emits sparks and billowing smoke as Samantha, a teen runaway who gets caught up with a cult of chainsaw enthusiasts run by a mysterious man in a beard (Gunnar Hansen). Sure, the sparks and smoke were mostly as a result of her chainsaw antics during the unbelievably hot virgin dance of the double chainsaws, but everything else was pure Quigley-based awesomeness. I adored her small scale approach to being sexy (she uses her smallness to great effect) and the off-kilter chemistry she has with Jay Richardson's wisecracking gumshoe.

Adding to the deranged appeal of Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers is the presence of Fox Harris as a baseball bat fetishist named Hermie. The actor best known for Repo Man and, in some circles, Dr. Caligari, does a tremendous job selling his unique perversion to the audience. Employing the toothsomely legged services of a woman named Lisa (Esther Elise and her effervescent eyebrows), Fox demands that she pose sexily whilst holding a brand-new baseball bat, so that he may photograph her. Of course, he doesn't know that his model is a chainsaw hooker, but like majority of the citizens that populate this tawdry world, the last thing they expect is to be killed by an attractive woman wielding a chainsaw. Which, I must say, pretty much sums up the overall appeal of this unpolished turd/endeavour.

Ritualistic Body Paint + Chainsaws = Hesitant Drool.

video uploaded by rarevideosUK


  1. You had me at "Chainsaw Worshiping Cult." Those three words fit together so well, I'm astounded that I've never seen them next to each other before!

    With a title and premise like this, the movie would be quite within its rights to rest on those laurels--the fact that they went above and beyond to get Gunnar Hansen involved (I haven't seen the film, but I'm going to assume his role does *not* have him as a gigantic transvestite chainsaw-wielding hooker) indicates a movie willing to go the extra mile for your enjoyment. So thanks in advance, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers. I'll be seeing you soon. :)

  2. I've given you an award at my latest post on my Sugar & Spice blog.

  3. The Vicar of VHS: Yeah, the hookers don't just use chainsaws, they actually worship them. No foolin'. They have a temple and everything.

    Your assumption of what Gunnar Hansen does not do in this movie in right on the money. He's kinda like the Dalai Lama of Chainsaw Hookers... you know, like a spiritual adviser.

    Keith: Thanks, man. I appreciate it.

  4. Man, I've been so busy I haven't had time to leave a comment....

    I finally have a minute, so I'll make this brief.

    I caught this one on vhs in my gore hound days...I was all about "serious" zombie films and Tom Savini's FX FOR's unique vision was lost on the humorless mesolimbic regions of my 16 year old brain.

    Not even the gratuitous T&A or the awesome hairdos could snap me out of my bored, indecisive and unmotivated adolescent doldrums.

    Obviously, I need to revisit this lost classic now that I am a man of refined taste and exceptional maturity.

  5. Its jiggle-friendly ways may have been lost on you, but still, I am impressed by the fact that you watched films like HCH when you were 16. Unfortunately, I had to wait awhile before being exposed to such oddities.

    Oh, and don't worry, Evil Toons is still on my radar.

  6. This is a movie I love, although I'm careful who I show it to. My favorite part is the beginning, the disclaimer and the part just before the credits. Sadly, I think it starts to drag in the end; and the Virgin Dance of the Double Chainsaws isn't as good as it should have been. How does Quigley hold them up with those little stick arms, anyway?

  7. You're of course talking about THE Linnea Quigley! The "Queen of the B's", who killed me in her most famous role as Trash, the legwarmer clad redhead whose graveyard gyrations in Return Of The Living Dead blew my....'mind' as a teen. But wait Wait WAIT! Are you telling me the inimitable Fox Harris is in this one too!? "RAYdeeeation.... pernicious nonsense! The two hemispheres are fundamentally at odds...." THAT guy from Repo Man! I can't think of any other two things you could have said that would've made me want to see this movie more. Wow, thanks!

  8. They were "thigh-high" red legwarmers, if memory serves me correctly, and it usually does. :D