Starring: Michelle Bauer, Jay Richardson, Linnea Quigley
Director: Fred Olen Ray
Top billing goes to Gunnar Hansen and Linnea Quigley, but this low budget slasher from 1988 is best remembered for Michelle Bauer’s edgy turn as Mercedes, the west LA streetwalker who goes in for some extreme manscaping with the aid of a giant Black & Decker.
The tongue in cheek story revolves around a private eye (Jay Richardson) who is hired to track down a runaway but instead finds himself investigating a rash of dismemberments – the likely culprits, a ring of prostitutes involved in a “love ’em and cleave ’em racket”. The movie has its lulls, but the jokey hardboiled dialogue is fun, and it sparks to life whenever Bauer appears, especially during the classic scene (familiar to anyone who’s ever seen a highlights selection of ’80s slasher movie clips) when she lures a world-weary john back to her place and has her way bloodthirsty way with him. Bauer, who graduated to acting roles after appearing in wrestling movies, has to rank as one of the most underrated of the decade’s scream queens – she has a screen presence not unlike Kim Cattrall’s and a manic ebullience that’s all her own.
Not be outdone, Linnea Quigley also has a memorable moment when she performs the virgin dance of the double chainsaws. And the film is surprisingly good looking, with an attractively seedy LA ambience, very well shot and lit in moody tones by Scott Andrew Ressler.
Despite its rough edges, there’s something lively and endearing about Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, and so long as you don’t expect all of its scenes to be as good as the one it’s famous for, it comes across as a winning combination of gore, cheesecake and spoofery. 6/10
The transfer is a little grainy at times, but with a nice tawny palette and plenty of presence. The early scene with Bauer covered in blood looks great, as does a later one with another homicidal prostitute, Lisa, and a pervy photographer. 7/10
Linnea Quigley’s Horror Workout Video – 1 hr spoof workout video with clips from Quigley’s films, some nudity and interruptions from nuisance callers and zombies. An odd concoction, but appealing in a clean 4:4 ration transfer from video. It also comes with a nice, gossipy audio commentary in which we learn that the opening shower scene was filmed at her mum’s house. A slick new 27-min featurette in which the director explains how the film was shot over 5 days, with borrowed equipment and offcuts of 35 mm film, during pickup days for another movie. Also an older but still very interesting 23-min featurette in which we learn that the extras in the temple scene at the end were streetwalkers off Sunset Boulevard. 10/10