Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers

Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988)
Tango Entertainment
Cast: Michelle Bauer, Gunnar Hansen, Linnea Quigley, Jay Richardson
Extras: Featurette, Nite Owl Theatre, Theatrical Trailer, Bonus Trailers

When the only clever thing that a film has going for it is the title, you know you’re in trouble, and I don’t expect to win a Pulitzer for reporting that ’Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers’ isn’t a very good movie. Private detective Jack Chandler (Jay Richardson) has been hired to find young runaway Samantha (Linnea Quigley). When he inquires at the police station for leads on the case, Chandler learns that a series of murders have been taking place in Los Angeles in which unsuspecting men are dismembered with a chainsaw. While investigating this, Chandler meets Mercedes (Michelle Bauer) at a bar, and stumbles upon the ’Chainsaw Hookers’ of the title, who are all part of a cult lead by The Stranger (Gunnar Hansen, oh Leatherface, how far you’ve sunk). Chandler discovers that Samantha is mixed up in all of this, and must fight the chainsaw hookers to save her.

Now, I know that I gave away a lot of the plot in that synopsis, but trust me, it’s nothing that you couldn’t guess if you see this movie. ’Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers’ was shot in 5 1/2 days for $58,000 and all of that hard work and money shows up on the screen. Despite the fact that this is supposed to be a campy b-movie/cult film, ’Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers’ isn’t particularly funny nor exciting. There is little on-screen violence and the acting is horrible. And when a movie whips out something like the ’Virgin Dance of the Double Chainsaws’ to try and spice things up, it’s not a good sign. The actors look as if they’re having fun, but I was bored to tears. Maxim Magazine recently called this movie ’The Fourth Coolest B-movie of All Time’. I’m sure that has much more to do with the topless actresses, than with the movie itself.

’Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers’ is one of the first releases from Retromedia Entertainment and it offers a decidedly mixed bag. The movie is presented in a letterboxed format (1.66:1), but is not enhanced for 16×9 TVs. Despite some problems, this is probably the best that ’Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers’ has ever looked! The image is clear and fairly sharp, although there is some softness at the edges. The defects from the source print are constantly evident, as there are scratches and white & black dots on most of the scenes. The colors are OK, but appear washed out in several scenes. The audio on the DVD is a digital mono soundtrack, which offers inconsistent volume (which may have more to do with poor mic placement during production than with this transfer) and some hissing.

The special features on the ’Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers’ DVD are just plain odd. The supposed highlight is director Fred Olen Ray’s ’Nite Owl Theater’. In this, we see Fred at ’home’ where we meet his wife, Kim, and several other scantily-clad women. Fred talks to the camera and tells the viewer that we can win prizes if we send in the post-card enclosed with the DVD. That offer is mentioned several times during this four-and-a-half minute feature and there’s another separate feature where Fred discloses the details in full again! I’m not sure if I want this man having my name and address. There is a 23-min ’making-of’ featurette which features Fred telling the story of how ’Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers’ was made, intercut with old sound-bytes from Quigley and Bauer.