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  Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers Power Tool PalaverBuy this film here.
Year: 1988
Director: Fred Olen Ray
Stars: Gunnar Hansen, Linnea Quigley, Jay Richardson, Dawn Wildsmith, Michelle Bauer, Esther Elise, Tricia Burns, Fox Harris, Jimmy Williams, Michael Sonye, Dennis T. Mooney, Jerry Miller, Steve Welles, Charles O'Hair, Susie Wilson, Gary J. Levinson
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Trash
Rating:  2 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jack Chandler (Jay Richardson) is a private eye who will now be good enough to regale us with the tale of his latest case, conducted in his hometown of Los Angeles, which he wryly notes may not live up to its name as the City of Angels. He was on the trail of a young runaway, Samantha (Linnea Quigley), when he got the word she could be involved with a bizarre cult; the truth of it was its acolytes were prostitutes like Mercedes (Michelle Bauer) who would to the bidding of their Master (Gunnar Hansen). That bidding was to pick up lonely men in bars or otherwise get them alone, then when the victims thought they were going to get their money's worth - boom! Out came the chainsaw!

It would be difficult for any film to live up to a title like Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, and sad to say director Fred Olen Ray barely tried, shooting his Z-grade horror comedy in a few corners that were occasionally dressed as a proper set, and relying on the viewer's interest being sustained by the cheapest special effect there is, nudity. It introduced itself as that staple of a million sketch shows, the Raymond Chandler-style detective spoof in the style of Humphrey Bogart, which meant you could either get something as off the wall as animation like Gerry Anderson's Dick Spanner, or as clever as Steve Martin and Carl Reiner's Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, but too often resulted in lowest common denominator tedium like this.

It just looked too easy to parody Chandler with the trilby, trenchcoat and laconic narration, and Ray regular Richardson looked more like a man in need of his own television show than showing up to embarrass himself with strained puns revolving around the word "dick", which - get this - can mean a detective AS WELL AS A PENIS!!! Well, the laughter never starts. If that's your idea of hilarity you may get some enjoyment out of this, and at least you couldn't say it insulted your intelligence because it was difficult to believe anyone would sit down with it expecting intelligence in the first place. By this time the B-movie market had become the straight to video market, and though this played the odd grindhouse, that was the place to see it.

Filmmakers like Ray puttered about in this tiny budget arena very much in the footsteps of legendary Roger Corman productions, and sad to say Corman himself ended up taking their lead in manufacturing low effort high profit works that became an industry in themselves among people who liked to feel superior to stupid films, indulging them because of their flaws and idiocy and not in spite of them. Ray had his stable of stars he would return to, or it may have been the other way around since hardly anyone else would hire them, and Linnea Quigley (here looking like the world's oldest teenager) was perhaps his biggest celebrity thanks to her game for anything approach, though her fans were simply content to watch her get her kit off.

In this instance, she had to do that and do the dance of the chainsaws which was meant to be a rousing climax, but in effect was just watching a mostly nude, body painted starlet swing a couple of the hardware tools around at knee height as she couldn't get them any higher while only using one arm each. Whoop. Ray had also secured the services of the star of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Leatherface himself Gunnar Hansen, who may have looked imposing, not that you'd recognise him as his signature role was portrayed entirely masked, but the moment he opened his mouth any screen presence promptly evaporated as his decision not to pursue acting with any great dedication was obviously a wise one. There wasn't even much gore, just watery stage blood sprayed over topless actresses occasionally, as for the most part the movie consisted of economical to shoot conversations that went nowhere and contained lame jokes in lieu of anything useful. That title had some going along with it in the spirit of trash, but the truth is this was excruciatingly boring. Music by Michael Perilstein.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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