Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988) Blu-Ray Review

hchdvd1Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988) Blu-Ray Review

Dir- Fred Olen Ray

Starring – Jay Richardson, Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer & Gunnar Hansen

88 Films Slasher Classics Collection 06

UK Blu-Ray Release from 88 Films – 23rd March 2015

The CHAINSAWS used in this movie are REAL and DANGEROUS! They are handled here by seasoned PROFESSIONALS . The makers of this Motion Picture advise strongly against anyone attempting to perform these stunts at home. Especially if you are naked and about to engage in strenuous SEX. My Conscience Is Clear!”  Fred Olen Ray

And with that so begins the 1988 schlockfest that is HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS .

Private Investigator Jack Chandler (Richardson) is hired by the mother of a young runaway (Quigley) who has left home due to her step-father’s nightly visits. Chandler gets a call from the local PD who have a girl fitting the runaways description in custody, she is charged with the murder of a client and two police officers with a chainsaw.

Unfortunately for Chandler this is a dead-end , and now as the film progresses and we see more prostitutes do away with their ‘Johns’ using a chainsaw as the weapon of choice. Mercedes (Bauer) sees of a burly client whilst Lisa (Elise) strikes out baseball loving perv Hermie (Fox Harris). At each killing there is a mysterious dark stranger in the background , but who is he and why are these sexy sexy party girls butchering their clientele ?

hchdvd2Well Jack is handed a book of matches found amongst some grizzly body parts tossed away in a bag, and on the book is a number. This leads Jack to an encounter with the lovely Mercedes and much much more.

Now where to start with Fred Olen Ray’s seminal work on safe sex ? Well I (unlike some who pretend to be) am old enough to remember the UK release on VHS, in fact I did own a copy until ‘The Culling’ back in the mid 90’s when I had to get rid of most of my VHS collection (insert tears of sadness). Anyway without going into massive detail as this review is for the new 88 Films release, the UK VHS release had the word ‘Chainsaw’ deleted from the cover and artwork and it was replaced by a picture of a chainsaw instead, so we ended up with Hollywood ‘pic of a chainsaw’ Hookers. Yes that was the crazy days of 1980s moral panic Thatchers Britain.

So before even watching HCH it already had the ‘BBFC’ factor , now add to this Michelle Bauer in red underwear wielding a phallic chainsaw, one of the most iconic images of 1980s horror , and you have a cult classic in the making. But even with all of the above you still a good film, don’t you?

hchdvd5Firstly director Fred Olen Ray is the king of Eighties & Nineties pulp cinema, and he was pumping out 5-10 features a year. There are many of varying quality , but what you will get (mostly) is laughs and babes, in fact I think Fred is almost hitting 20 films of his own that feature the word bikini in the title. He may not be to everyone’s taste but if you are a fan of the Eighties the do yourself a favour and check out his work , especially his earlier titles.

Well HCH is an absolute classic, it embodies everything that I love in Eighties cinema. Made over just 5 days pulp director Fred Olen Ray managed to get horror icon Gunnar Hansen, scream queens Linnea Quigley and Michelle Bauer and introduced Jay Richardson , who he would work with on numerous later features.

HCH is a full on riot, it has blood, gore, tits, laughs, violence, tits and fucking chainsaws. What is not no like? Running as a film noir comedy , HCH has a running narrative from lead Jack Chandler that gives us an insight into the mind of an LA private detective. And it is absolutely hilarious, and in fact HCH is one of the greatest horror comedies you will ever see. Jack Chandler is just full of side-splitting one-liners that just crease me up each and every time I hear them , and I have listed a few at the end of the review.

But as usual I am waffling and the review is all over the place, but I love HCH so much that it is very difficult for me to maintain a steady cognitive stream as images keep flashing in my brain. Bauer doing her amazing sexy nude dance (and miming the wrong song – points to ring), Chandler’s one-liners, Gunnar Hansen just smouldering, Linnea Quigley in a double chainsaw dance and lots and lots more.

hchdvd688 Films must be continually applauded for their releases. The quality of the films chosen, transfers and extras are exceptional and at the moment they are second to none in my opinion in the UK re-release market. They are also not just bringing these films back to us seasoned older horror hacks but also introducing these gems to a new, younger audience.

The restoration looks fantastic and the sound is superb, real care and love has gone into this and it can be seen throughout the complete presentation.

So if you are looking for one of the most iconic and influential no-budget horror films from the decade that brought us poodle perms and care bears then look no further because 88 Films have just knocked this out of the park. And I haven’t even started on the extras yet!!

Essential Viewing 9/10

You can purchase HCH from ** Films own shop – http://88-films.myshopify.com

The Extras

lqhwLINNEA QUIGLEY’S HORROR WORKOUT – Bonus feature directed by PUPPET MASTER’s Kenneth Hall and starring the beautiful blonde icon of HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS in an alluring, creature-packed, fear-fitness video! Join former PLAYBOY pin-up Linnea as she whips zombies and other monsters into shape with all of the cheeky and sexy charm that you would expect from the legendary Scream Queen! -With Bonus Audio Commentary!! A unique piece of trash gold and the audio commentary from Linnea & Kenneth is brilliant.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Brand New Director overseen Restoration

5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack

LPCM Stereo Soundtrack

Audio Commentary with director Fred Olen Ray and David DeCoteau

Audio Commentary with genre experts Calum Waddell, director of SLICE AND DICE: THE SLASHER FILM FOREVER and Justin Kerswell, author of TEENAGE WASTELAND: THE SLASHER FILM UNCUT.

Original Theatrical Trailer (HD)

Fred Olen Ray’s Nite Owl Theater

hchdvd3Remembering Chainsaw Hookers 27 years later (HD) – Which is a lovely piece starring Fred Olen Ray, Michelle Bauer and Jay Richardson. They talk with great fondness about the filming of HCH and Michelle Bauer definitely still has that twinkle in her eyes!!

Archive Making of Documentary – Again another nice docu but this one from back in the day starring Fred Olen Ray, Michelle Bauer and Linnea Quigley.

Reversible sleeve with original poster art -88 Films Trailer Reel

Booklet notes by Calum Waddell featuring an extensive, career spanning interview with star Gunnar Hansen

TECHNICAL SPECS

Region Code: B
Picture Format: HD 1080p 1.78:1
Audio Format: DTS-HD MA Stereo 5.1 / LPCM Stereo
Language: English
Certification: 18
Running Time: 75 Mins Approx

 

The Jack Chandlers Quotes

chandler

Chandler – “Being a Dick is a 24 hour-a-day job”

Bartender – “What’s it to be”? Chandler – ” Bourbon with a Bourbon chaser”

Chandler – “If my head wasn’t hurting so much I’d have sworn I was in heaven – heaven for guys who like big tits!”

Chandler – “The girl talked like a frosted flake, but she had the nicest set of knockers that I had seen in a long time!”

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 40th Anniversary Restoration – Review

texas_STEELBOOK_3DhighresThe Texas Chainsaw Massacre 40th Anniversary Restoration

Dir: Tobe Hooper

Starring – Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Gunnar Hansen.

Release date: 17/11/2014 from Second Sight Films – HERE

It is 40 years ago this year since Tobe Hooper’s seminal Texas Chainsaw Massacre first traumatised audiences across the world, and to mark the occasion Second Sight are releasing a special restoration edition of the film on Blu-ray later this month.

What can be said about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre that hasn’t already been said in the four decades since its original release? It’s extremely hard to pay justice to the importance of the film, not just in the horror genre, but as a footnote in cinema. “Masterpiece” is a term that gets slung about far too easily in horror these days, but The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is undoubtedly a masterpiece. Initially banned in several countries, stories abounded of its legendary brutality, urban legends sprang up, telling tales of tramps paid thousands of dollars by the film’s producers to have their limbs amputated live on camera. All nonsense, of course; the film is virtually bloodless. But it is a brutal viewing experience, relentless in its delivery of discomfort.

It is not just the violent scenes which are uncomfortable, it was a famously hot shoot and the heat seems to radiate from the screen as you watch. And the film offers no sanctuary, there is no comic relief, no abatement. There is nowhere for the characters or audience to hide under the constant glare of the merciless Texas sun, no dark corners, no shade to shelter in and certainly no light to escape to, because you’re already in it, obvious and vulnerable. Hooper doesn’t even let us have the luxury of incidental music, an absence which suddenly becomes obvious when the audience are allowed one solitary, doom laden note as Leatherface slams the gliding metal door after dispatching Kirk with a hammer. Despite the lack of gore, Daniel Pearl’s camera never flinches from the grim realities of murder; the agony and the spastic death twitches are all there in their unedifying glory.

tcmss1With 40 years of reviews, revisits and nostalgia to delve into, there seems little point in writing any further about the content the movie. So let’s turn our attention to Second Sight’s 40th anniversary restoration. The film has received a 4K restoration and a 7.1 audio mix. If that means anything to you, then congratulations. But in all seriousness, the movie does look and sound fantastic. Essentially, the restoration has kept the sun-bleached, washed out ambience that adds so much to the film and which would have been a huge loss. The restoration was supervised by Tobe Hooper, so obviously was never going to jeopardise the essence of the film.

However, it is with the bonus features that Second Sight have really excelled themselves. DVD extras are so often lazy, throw away scraps (what’s the attraction with watching an entire movie with the guy who played “second body on the left” doing a crap voice over?), but the second disc of this 40th anniversary restoration is loaded with gems. There are features which have been available before, coupled with those which are brand new for this release.

Notable inclusions are the “Shocking Truth” film, documenting the making of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a new audio commentary with Tobe Hooper, “Grandpa’s Tales”, in which actor John Duggan recalls his experience of playing the murderous clan’s patriarch, “Off the Hook”, an interview with Terri McMinn, who played Pam, interviews with Tobe Hooper, writer Kim Henkel and Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface), a tour of the TCM House with Hansen and “Flesh Wounds – Seven Stories of the Saw”, a documentary focusing on seven facets of the film, most notably the recollections of Ed Neal (The Hitchhiker) and Gunnar Hansen.

There is also a collection of previously unseen outtakes, deleted scenes and bloopers. These serve as testament to the power of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; it is so incongruous and so strangely reassuring to see the occupants of that green van laughing and joking out of character, it’s as though a spell’s been broken. Similarly, seeing Gunnar Hansen stacking it when chasing Burns (or failing to get his chainsaw to start up at critical moments) elicits a feeling which can only be described as some kind of relief that it’s all actually only make believe.

tcmss2Some of the bonus features do overlap in content (we get three separate visits to the site of the house, for instance), but this is a minor complaint.

The 40th anniversary restoration will be released in two Blu-ray formats, a limited edition two disc steel book with new art work and a standard two disc Blu-ray with a reversible sleeve. If you’re a die hard Texas Chainsaw Massacre fan, you really need to own a copy. If you’re a horror fan and you don’t own a copy of TCM, you should probably buy one. If, like me, you’re a person who fails to see the point in bonus features, you should also probably get a copy of this restoration, just to help you see the light.

TCM – 10/10

Restoration / bonus features – 09/10

James Simpson’s World of Horror: Harpoon (Iceland 2009)

James Simpson’s World of Horror: Harpoon (Iceland 2009) aka The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre

harpoon1The mission to find little seen horror movies from around the world continues in an attempt to discover any ‘hidden treasures’…

Director – Julius Kemp

Starring – Pihla Viitala, Miranda Hennessy, Gunnar Hansen

Language – English with occasional Icelandic (subtitled)

Off the coast of Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, a group of tourists pay to take part in a whale watching expedition on the ship of Captain Petur (Hansen). They are a mixed lot who seem to have little in common other than wanting to see whales. Thanks to a freak accident Petur is killed and the tourists panic about being on a ship in the middle of the sea with no one to steer. This panic is worsened when the only remaining crew member immediately leaves the ship in a life boat: they are now stranded. Their hopes rise when they see a nearby vessel, but the ‘crew’ of that ship don’t seem interested in helping the tourists. They want them dead…

Not many films have came out of Iceland over the decades, which may be understandable for such an isolated and sparsely populated country (population: 1.2million). Some of the movies to be made never receive much attention in other countries, further diminishing any impact the tiny Icelandic film industry may have. Occasionally some do garner press or praise or gains a much wider viewing than hoped for. Harpoon/Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre is one of the ‘breakout’ pictures from the Land of Fire and Ice.

harpoon2This may, in part, be to do with a wise bit of casting for this flick. Gunnar Hansen, Leatherface from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, appears as the ill-fated captain. He obviously has a well known name in the world of horror films. He was also born in Reykjavik, Iceland so is a native who has achieved fame and fortune away from his homeland, only to now return to his ‘roots’. Hansen is good in his role although his character doesn’t make it beyond 25 minutes into the runtime before he is unexpectedly killed by a clumsy tourist. But by that point he has served his purpose: to draw potential viewers into the movie.

Harpoon isn’t overly original, some DVD covers compare it to Texas Chainsaw Massacre but this could again be due to the involvement of Mr. Hansen. It definitely does have major elements of TCM yet they come nowhere near to their inspiration for horror and excitement.

The setting of the boat could have been promising but feels restrictive in places and limits the action. It does lend itself to some creative kill scenes once the bloodshed begins, but for most the film the characters run around the lower decks of the ship in an attempt to avoid the crazy killers.

harpoon3Despite the minor issues RWWM is a fun movie, its relatively short runtime of 83 minutes flies by and when the killers start to attack the tourists the pace of the film becomes quicker and more entertaining. There are a few good gory scenes to please gore-hounds, too.

A middle of the road horror that has its moments, Iceland’s standing in the World of Horror is a fun and easy watch.

7 out of 10.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) Review

texas_chainsaw_massacre_1_poster_08

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974)

Dir. Tobe Hooper   –  88 Minutes

Starring – Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Paul A Partain, Gunnar Hansen, Edwin Neal.

Picture the scene – it’s the early 1980’s in a small Yorkshire town in
England. A young man who has more than a few dreams in his head, stars in
his eyes, and a growing obsession with all things Science fiction and
horror, hears something startling and wondrous on a national news bulletin.
Namely, a that particular movie which had over the years gained
a reputation of controversial and mythical proportions, arguably as no
other has in the history of movies, was finally to be released on video.

Amazingly after some 7 years after its initial production the seminal
horror movie *The Texas Chain Saw Massacre* was finally going to see the
light of day over here in the UK. Believe me, this was big news. Since its
release in the UK in early 1975 the availability in cinema’s had been
withheld by the British Board of film classification who
believed vehemently that the magnitude of violence, particularly in two
noted scenes and the feeling of claustrophobic terror in the last 3rd of
the film, was far too much for the sensibilities of a British audience.
Therefore deeming that it was therefore unsuitable for a BBFC X certificate
to be issued. Ah bless the BBFC for protecting us from making up
our own minds.

Franklin and Co in the Camper

So it finally seemed in those dark and distant days of 1981 that the
British Board of film classification had finally seen sense it seems and
permitted the movie’s release – though as it shortly turned out, the video
was soon to be removed from the video stores after new video classification
rules came in (‘Thank you’ Margaret Thatcher…). Indeed, no theatrical or
video release was going to take place for another 18 years, thanks to the
backward and miss-placed ‘protection’ of the the public sensibilities.

However, before it was unceremoniously pulled from the shelves, a lucky few
of us had managed to get our hands on the film, and it’s iconic horror
bad-guy, that had by now achieved cult status of fabled proportions.

The plot is cunningly simple. It is 1974 and a group of teenage friends are
travelling through the back roads of Texas on their way to their
grandfather’s apparently vandalised grave.

Among them are Sally Hardesty,
and her wheelchair-bound brother Franklin. At one point they pick up
the hitchhiker from hell, who they quickly realise is a little unstable as
he slashes both himself & Franklin with a knife. The others manage to eject
the hitchhiker from the vehicle, but shortly after wards, they are forced
to stop for petrol at an old property that they’ve stumbled upon. What none
of them realise is that this house is the home of the knife
wielding hitchhiker together with his evil and quite frankly not very nice
family of cannibalistic psychopaths. This is not going to end well for the
group of friends as they are picked off one by one.

texaschainsaw

Forget the basic storyline. Put aside opinions on the quite frankly ropey
and amateurish acting (the cast taken mostly from Hooper’s teaching friends
and students). While you’re at it, if you haven’t ever seen the film,
ignore the rather miss-placed and over sensationalised claims that the film
is nothing more than pure violence and nothing else. No, this is a movie
purely for the emotional and sensory experience of the viewer. Indeed,
there are times, particularly in the last act of the film when that
the experience becomes more of a sensory and emotional overload – such is
it’s intense and unsettling power.

There are scenes and images within this
film that burn themselves onto your consciousness for a variety of reasons.
Yes there are scenes of unyielding violence which will shock, even
on repeated viewing, particularly from one of the true iconic horror
characters, Leatherface.

The cinematography is frankly stunning, originally shot on poor quality
16mm film, this seems if anything to add to the overall atmospheric
ambiance, partly in the external country scenes but particularly in the
internal terror scenes.

texas-chainsaw-massacre-1974
As I mentioned previously, it wasn’t until 1999 that the BBFC realised that
years of complete miss-interpretation of the movie had taken place.
Contrary to popular misconception, there is no over-reliance on explicit
violence ( in fact there is a distinct lack of blood and gore throughout).
Rather it is the often implied threat of violence and atmosphere that
creates the power to shock and discomfort the viewer.

I could also talk at length about Leatherface and his family’s treatment of
the teenagers being an evocation and allegory of America in the 1970’s with
such things as the Watergate scandal and Vietnam making it it quite
clear that the modern world world was cruel and nothing
like your childhood memories said it was. No one is safe, no-one can be
trusted. The hippy peace loving days of the 1960’s were long gone.  But
I’ll leave that sort of discussion for those far more qualified and able
than I.

In my humble opinion, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is perhaps the single
most powerful example of horror movie making that I have ever experienced,
either now or for that young man in the early 1980’s………

A genuine, unaldulterated classic   10/10

Texas Chainsaw (2012) DVD Review

 

TEXAS CHAINSAW (2012)
Dir. John Luessenhop         92 mins
Lionsgate
UK Release: 27th May 2013

While I hold Tobe Hooper’s 1974 ‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ in the highest possible regard, I must admit I overlooked the sequels a little, and totally rejected (perhaps unfairly) the Michael Bay produced reboots. Now, having been released from the evil clutches of Platinum Dunes it’s found a new home at Millennium Films.

My ears pricked up in the first minute as we begin with a recap of the original movie. I thought this is either a very bold move, or a very stupid one. When you begin your sequel by reminding everybody just how phenomenal the first one was, you’re setting your own bar very high indeed. As the first original scene opens we find both Bill Moseley and Gunnar Hansen (another deep nod of respect to the filmmakers) as members of the Sawyer clan who just after Sally has escaped are holed up in their house, surrounded by Texas lawmen and town locals hell bent on becoming vigilantes. A firefight ensues and every member of the Sawyer family is gunned down – except that is for a baby…

Fast forward to present day and we find Heather (Alexandria Daddario), the said baby, who we discover is 1) working in the butchery department of her local supermarket, 2) being told she is adopted and 3) is for some reason not forty years of age. Gaping plot holes aside, Heather discovers she has inherited an estate in the middle of Texas. Before you have time to oil your chainsaw she’s heading south in a VW camper van with a motley crew of phenomenally good looking friends. Along the way the ubiquitous hitchhiker is picked up, and the mansion that Heather is due to inherit is arrived upon.

As the friends note the absence of supplies they head into town to acquire some consumables, leaving the stranger they picked up alone in the multi-million dollar mansion that’s filled with priceless antiques. Predictably he begins to fill his bags with all the silver candlesticks he can find, and searching deeper into the house he stumbles across the cellar where surely there couldn’t be a stocky, human-skin faced member of the Sawyer family left alive – could there ?

High hopes for this new TCM disintegrated to ashes barely ten minutes in. It attempts to pitch itself as the first true sequel to Hooper’s original, which is just fine if it seamlessly continues from the first in both style and substance. It doesn’t though, and instead just becomes another crappy reboot that serves only to pander to the airbrushed artificial needs of the target ADHD demographic.

3 out of 10