Combustible Celluloid
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With: Gunnar Hansen, Linnea Quigley, Jay Richardson, Dawn Wildsmith, Michelle Bauer, Esther Elise, Tricia Burns, Jerry Fox, Jimmy Williams, Dukey Flyswatter, Dennis Monney, Jerry Miller, Steve Welles, Charles O'Hair, Susie Wilson, Gary J. Levinson, Jeffrey Hill, Gerry Jenkins
Written by: Fred Olen Ray, T.L. Lankford
Directed by: Fred Olen Ray
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 75
Date: 03/01/1988

Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Cut Ups

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Director Fred Olen Ray will never be confused with his namesakes Nicholas and Satyajit, but once upon a time he made a pretty entertaining B-movie, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers. On one level, it's a spoof of old-time detective movies, with hard-boiled gumshoe Jack Chandler (Jay Richardson) narrating and searching for a missing girl. It turns out that the girl, Samantha (scream queen Linnea Quigley) has infiltrated a secret cult whose members kill with chainsaws. Their robed, bearded leader is, of course, played by Gunnar Hansen of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Meanwhile, we get some spraying gore and some nudity, and scream queen Michelle Bauer contributes to the fun. Things get overly ridiculous when the film arrives at the big "human sacrifice" climax. Ray managed to round up only four extras, and so he adds crowd noises to make it look and sound more impressive. Likewise, the extras preen and overact for the camera, rather than acting the scene. However, the bulk of the movie is quite funny and very nicely shot for its low budget. (Ray and cinematographer Scott Ressler use lots of criss-crossing blue and pink lights for a kind of Los Angeles mood.) One of the best laughs is on the "written by" title card, and another one involves an Elvis portrait. It's all over in a blissful 75 minutes.

DVD Details: Retromedia and Infinity released the 2008, 20th Anniversary Special Edition DVD with a Ray commentary track. The transfer comes, apparently, from the only surviving 35mm print, and to preserve the "grindhouse" experience, very little work has gone into cleaning up scratches or other flaws. There's also an interesting featurette and a trailer. And, believe it or not, the transfer is anamorphic.

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