Review Date: May 19, 2001
Released by: Retromedia
Release date: 5/28/2001
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.66:1 | 16x9: No
Retromedia Entertainment, headed by famed B-movie director Fred Olen Ray, has entered the world of DVD. Here we take a look at their initial DVD release, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, which boasts a widescreen presentation, making of featurette, trailers, and a special introduction by Fred Olen Ray himself.
Jack Chandler (Jay Richardson) is a private detective who specializes in finding missing people. As he's typing up a report on his most recent case, he begins recollecting the events that started the case. It all started at a sleazy bar located on the other end of Hollywood. A hooker by the name of Mercedes (Michelle Bauer) entices a man to follow her upstairs for some paid sex. Upstairs, Mercedes begins to strip for the man, all the while dancing around showing off her goodies. She proceeds by covering her Elvis poster with a sheet of plastic, putting on a hair net, pulling out a chainsaw and hacking the man up into dozens of pieces. While all this is happening a stranger (Gunnar Hansen of Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame) watches from the background.
Jack is hired to find a teenage runaway named Samantha (Linnea Quigley of Return of the Living Dead fame). His first stop is the local police station, where he hopes a recently arrested hooker will turn out to be Samantha. It turns out she isn't, but Jack ends up stealing a book of matches from the evidence room that has Mercedes' phone number written on the inside. Jack calls Mercedes and sets up a time to meet her at the bar. Elsewhere around Hollywood, other 'chainsaw hookers' are hacking up their victims, and each time the same stranger is lurking about in the background, watching.
Jack meets up with Mercedes at the bar, where he discovers Samantha stripping up on stage. Before he has a chance to catch her, he's knocked unconscious by the drug that Mercedes slipped into his drink. Jack awakens tied to a bed, in front of yet another chainsaw hooker. Mercedes and Samantha enter the room and begin to have their way with Jack. Before they get very far, the stranger enters, ordering them to leave. The stranger explains to Jack that he's the leader of a chainsaw worshipping cult, and that the hookers are his minions, performing sacrifices to please the gods. Jack is then told that he's to be brought down to their temple to become the next sacrifice. All hope isn't lost for Jack, however. Samantha has plans of her own for the cult, plans of revenge. She frees Jack and together they head down to the temple, where they must go head to head with the stranger and his chainsaw worshipping hookers. The result is a bloody battle of chainsaw wielding hookers that has to be seen to be believed.
Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers is quite a treat. This definitely falls into that sort of horror/comedy category, along with such films as Evil Dead 2 and Dead Alive. You can't take this film seriously - there's absolutely no scare factor, plus the "plot" and "acting" are terrible. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy the cheesy gore, the chainsaws, and the loads of t&a that are present. The combination of these things, along with Detective Jack Chandler's humorous narration, result in a movie that many horror fans will find both funny and entertaining.
I should point out the presence of Gunnar Hansen, who is of course known for his role as Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Sadly, his part here has to be one of his worst performances ever. In fairness, he didn't exactly have much of a role to work with. His character of the stranger is a bad attempt to explain the cult of chainsaw hookers (don't ask me to come up with a good attempt, because I can't). Minus that, I have no real complaints, and if you are someone who enjoys horror comedies, I think you'll definitely want to get Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers. The screenshots alone should prove that...
Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers is presented in a matted letterboxed transfer. No specific aspect ratio is given, but I'd say it's around 1.66:1. The transfer is acceptable, but there are numerous flaws in it; overall I'm not impressed. First and foremost is the soft picture that is definitely lacking in detail. There are also numerous MPEG artifacts that are present. Colors are faded and there are times when the picture appears to be too bright - not too surprising for a low budget movie. Grain isn't really a problem, and even blemishes remain pretty minimal. I'm just disappointed by the lack of detail and the MPEG artifacts - better compression and some enhancement to the print would've definitely improved the image quality substantially. Some may say not to complain, but DVD has spoiled us all and raised the standards, even for low budget movies.
The sound is in Dolby Digital Mono. No distortion or back noises are evident; dialogue is clear throughout the film.
Prior to the start of the movie is a brief introduction by Fred Olen Ray that's packaged into a sequence titled "Fred Olen Ray's Nite Owl Theater". Fred explains Retromedia's direction, introduces his wife Kim, and gives a brief tour of his "pad", which includes some naked women wrestling about on the floor. He also explains how you can receive some free stuff by sending in the enclosed cards that come with Retromedia DVDs. There's also one other Nite Owl Theater segment after the movie, but it's brief.
Next up is a Making-Of featurette that runs 23 minutes in length. It cuts between new footage of Fred Olen Ray explaining various aspects of Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and its production, to older footage, ported from the Roan laserdisc, of Linnea Quigley and Michelle Bauer discussing their roles. It's not the typical featurette, which is often just a long commercial. This featurette consists of interviews only. The interviews are definitely enjoyable and informative - nice extra.
Last are trailers to Fatal Justice, Angel Eyes, and Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers. Overall some enjoyable extras here. I hope Retromedia keeps this trend up with their future releases.
Video is lacking, barely skimming by with a C. Extras are definitely enjoyable if you're a fan of the movie. For those that haven't seen Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, I'd definitely recommend it if you enjoy horror comedies.
Movie - B
Image Quality - C
Sound - B+
Supplements - B
- Running Time - 1 hour 53 minutes
- Rated R
- 1 Disc
- Chapter stops
- Dolby Digital Mono
- Nite Owl Theater
- Making-Of Featurette