Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988)

The name Fred Olen Ray either drums up interest or disdain in the field of cult moviedom. For some, he's a guy whose given the world some entertaining but lightweight exploitation movies. For others, he's a man who's never made a good movie in his life. I lean more towards the latter myself, but I don't hate the man. I will say this though: if he has a movie he can call his masterpiece, it would probably be "Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers", a rather lame brained but shockingly enjoyable for what it is horror/comedy.

Jack Chandler (Ray regular Jay Richardson) is a private eye whose tracking down runaway girl Samantha (Linnea Quigley), whom he believes is caught up in a series of unsolved murders. Along the way, he meets Mercedes (Michelle Bauer), who has a thing for chainsaws. Long story short: it turns out that the two ladies are part of a religious cult that worships said power tools, lead by a man known only as "The Stranger" (Gunner Hansen.)

"Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers" is the antithesis of what you'd call a smart movie. The humor can be pretty dumb at times (Ray sure likes his "private dick" puns), the 80's style fashion and hair can be an eyesore, and the ending is a bit too predictable. That out of the way, Ray knows exactly what he's making-a dumb, boobs and blood filled b-movie that caters to a certain audience. While not the best example in the genre, it at least offers plenty of both, as well as some shockingly inspired jokes and some genuine ingenuity for a movie shot on previously used sets for a budget of $50,000.

It also helps that the acting is better than usual. Richardson makes for a likable lead, gleefully sending up old private detective stereotypes and winking at the audience without overdoing it, while Hansen seems to be having a good time as a deranged cult leader. However, it's Quigley and Bauer who steal the show. Sure, the look great (as one would expect), but they bring some real energy to their roles, dismembering hapless shmoes with ease and embracing the parts they play with zeal.

At the end of the day, "Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers" won't be considered a classic in the field of horror/comedy movies. It is however, the best Fred Olen Ray movie I've seen, and at a brisk 72 minutes, it's a fine little time waster. Unfortunately, we never got the promised follow up "Student Chainsaw Nurses."

Rating: 6.5/10

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