Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988)
Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988)

Genre: Horror Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 15 min.

Release Date: March 29th, 1988 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Fred Olen Ray Actors: Michelle Bauer, Linnea Quigley, Gunnar Hansen, John Henry Richardson, Dawn Wildsmith, Esther Elise, Tricia Burns, Susie Wilson




he film opens with a warning about using chainsaws (professionals were employed for this film), especially while nude and about to engage in strenuous sex – so that director Fred Olen Ray can have a clear conscious. The next scene is of a prostitute, Lori (Dawn Wildsmith), recounting to the police her tale of a john who couldn’t pay up after services were rendered. As a result, she went over to the closet to get a sexual enhancement device – her trusty chainsaw – for some motivation.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles private dick Jack Chandler (Jay Richardson) begins his own story, noirishly narrating a series of strange events, originating at the West Side bar (which is also a strip club), where every now and then someone turns up dead. He’s been hired to track down runaway teenage beauty Samantha Kelso (Linnea Quigley) from Oxnard, who has likely fallen in with a bad crowd. The first clues are literal little pieces of construction man Bo Hanson (Jimmy Williams), who happens to meet the sultry Mercedes (Michelle Bauer), a self-described social worker of sorts, offering up some options for relieving tension. Back at her place, she puts on some music … and then a shower cap. She also stretches a tarp over a painting of Elvis that hangs on the wall, which doesn’t bode well for Bo, who rapidly becomes a victim to a brutal chainsaw slaying. “Oh no!”

It’s not long before Bauer (credited here as Michelle McLellan) sheds her dress, revealing a striking figure (the only reason she was cast). The accompanying gore is way over-the-top, utilizing unconvincing severed limbs and buckets of watery blood. But at least those buckets of blood are splattered all over Bauer’s naked body. A couple of scenes later, Jack’s girlfriend (Susie Wilson) makes an appearance – as just another unclothed woman, whose dialogue is pointless but whose voluptuousness overtakes the frame. And the next shot features Lisa (Esther Alise), a prostitute belonging to the same cult of murderers as Mercedes, who makes quick work of a pervy photographer, knocking him out with a baseball bat before revving a chainsaw of her own.

“Very hostile, but a great set of … ” The acting is unbelievably bad, which doesn’t matter much considering that the script is pure nonsense, full of double entendres and really, really bad one-liners. The entirety of the film exists solely to combine female nudity with chainsaw butchery, though neither component is presented with enough quality or purpose to justify a feature-length production. The girls look good, but their sequences in the buff are spread thin by fruitless exposition; and the violence possesses a comical absurdity, all while turning up just as infrequently.

Gunnar Hansen of “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” fame eventually makes an appearance as the master of the cult, but it’s not enough to shift this schlocky Z-grade picture into even a modest bit of entertainment. It’s extremely low budget, like many of its 42nd Street grindhouse brethren, yet the focus on exploitation material (which can be accomplished with limited funds) isn’t consistent enough to designate this as a notable effort; instead, it’s mostly a waste of sets, costumes, extras, and time in general. Even Quigley’s “virgin dance of the double chainsaws” is sillier than it is erotic, while the climactic chainsaw duel is terribly fake and tepid. “Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers” is often considered a cult classic, but the design is so pitiful that it barely falls into the category of a movie. The closing credits hint at a follow-up, entitled “Student Chainsaw Nurses,” but it was never produced – a fate that should have befallen this one.

– Mike Massie

  • 2/10