November 6th… Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988).
Following our recent Linnea Quigley celebration day over at The Gore Splattered Corner Facebook and Twitter I thought it was time to revisit this tasty little piece of trash. It is not surprising that Fred Olen Ray’s tongue in cheek Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers has become a cult classic over the years, it boasts some pretty cool 80’s cred in the casting namely Gunnar Hansen as a creepy cult leader, the luscious Linnea Quigley as runaway Samantha, and of course fellow veteran Scream Queen Michelle Bauer as the rather insane and boobtastic Mercedes. The plot follows along the lines of a noir spoof with Private dick Jack Chandler (Jay Richardson) trying to track down Quigley and inadvertently running into a bonkers chainsaw wielding gang of hookers led by Hansen (Ok well the chainsaw and the hookers involvement is obvious given the title). The movie overall is meant to be fun, and is, it has 80’s cheese by the bucketload, tonnes of boobage, and some great one liners. The only thing I felt let it down was I wanted to see MORE chainsaw, but then we can’t have everything. There are some pretty fun set pieces, especially when Bauer chops up an unsuspecting customer and you get to see a load of rubber limbs shoot off in various directions amongst the blood splatters, (note for lovers of 80’s sleaze she does this topless). I also have to mention the reason this movie stuck in a lot of impressionable young minds back in the day, and that is the Linnea Quigley Virgin Dance of the Double Chainsaws scene, and as Linnea struts her stuff adorned only in bodypaint, weilding a couple of live saws it is easy to see why she is one of the most memorable 80’s Scream Icons around. Anyone with a serious take on their horror, do not bother with this, you are going to be disappointed, but if you like a bit of mindless fun, boobies and gore this will hit the spot. Anyone who complains about watching a title like Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers the only question I have to ask is what did you think you were going to get? It has hookers, it has chainsaws, what more do you want?
10th November… Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll (1974) aka House of Psychotic Women.
Eyeball violence is the order of the day in this sometimes savage, spicy little piece of Spanish horror/thriller with obvious Giallo leanings starring keeper of the hairy chest and manly pout Paul Naschy (Jacinto Molina) and directed by Carlos Aured. Naschy plays Gilles a lone drifter who rambles around the countryside before being taken in by a bevy of beauties, three sisters who are holed up in a secluded house and in serious need of a handyman (note handyman is being used as a metaphor here). Claude (Diana Lorys who is also in Jess Franco’s Awful Dr. Orloff) the older sister who dons a prosthetic hand, Ivette (Maria Perschy) who is wheelchair bound and Nicole (Eva León) who does not seem to have any physical disability but is a bit intense if you could call it that. Cue Naschy prowling about with his shirt off, Naschy looking moody, Naschy chopping up firewood as if it were matchsticks, while looking moody, with his shirt off. It isn’t long all this pheromone takes its toll on the women and before you can ping a bra strap Naschy has that one in hand and is getting down to some of his best man moves in the bedroom department. He doesn’t do relationships though, a troubled soul with a dark past. Have the sisters bitten off more than they can chew? We are treated to the dark recesses of Naschy’s mind in a very strange series of psychedelic flashbacks which while slightly out of pace with the rest of the film provide some of the highlights. In amongst this a black gloved killer is lurking about ripping out the eyes of beautiful women and storing them in a bowl of water, and this is where the giallo aspect comes in heavily, the murder scenes are gory enough, violent, and carried out by an unknown force which keeps you guessing right up to the very end. Blue Eyes is not a bad little venture, it has a gritty retro air, it has all the best elements of a European sleazefest, it has violence, nudity and plenty of the red stuff, what perhaps lets it down is the annoying upbeat jazz incidental music which pounds out almost without restraint, and gives the proceedings the flavour of a bizarre 70’s cop shop at times. In fact talking about the score, everyone in this film seems to have their own incidental music, including the killer who is accompanied by a rendition of Freur Jaques every time they move into earshot. Despite this the film does have its moments though, especially in some of the stalking scenes, where young women are picked out to secure another pair of blue eyes for the killer’s collection and we see the killer lurking in the shadows as they watch their unsuspecting victims from afar like lambs to the slaughter. I have seen this compared by others to Dario Argento, in fact someone compared this to The Bird with the Crystal Plumage but I am going to have to beg to disagree, while the giallo influence is there to see, this is nothing like anything of that kind. Some of the storyline is sloppy, there is a confusing subplot about the sisters medical issues, and some bumbling cops thrown in to further muddy the water, but if you go into it with an open mind, not expecting too much, it is a decent piece of trashy Euro Sleaze that is not without more than a few entertaining moments.
15th November…Shock Em Dead (1991).
As a result of a Heavy Metal horrors article I was working on, in fact am still working on, I was on a mission to see as many of the aforementioned sub-genre additions as humanely possible, this one being perhaps the hardest to pin down. Unless you buy a new upgraded edition direct from the director Mark Freed, the original copy of this movie goes for silly extortionate prices on auction sites and places like Amazon. I had mistakenly assumed this was because the film was a cult classic and therefore must be really good, boy was I wrong. It might be a little harsh of me, but when you compare it in contrast to genre forerunners like Trick or Treat and Black Roses, there really is no contest. That does not mean Shock Em Dead is a complete waste of time, it is however not worth paying some of the sky high prices it is going for, so if you can find it by other cheaper means it is worth a one off viewing.
The story focuses on Martin (Stephen Quadros) a total nerd and one of life’s failures, who bored with his crappy job in a pizza shop, and sick of his abusive boss, he makes a pact with the local voodoo woman to become a rock star. This comes with a price, like all good stories about selling your soul. Martin manages to swap his mundane existence for life as a potential rock star Angel Martin, and in the process, gets his own band of groupies, a massive mullet wig, leather trousers, some pro guitar moves, and a sleazy waterbed just to top it off nicely. Of course there is always a downside, and when he joins the band Spastic Colon and begins to set them on the road to rock stardom, he falls for the band’s manager Lindsay Roberts(Traci Lords) and decides he must have her too, she however has other ideas.
Shock Em Dead has its lows and highs, making it overall a pretty average affair, on the bad side there is no gore, the storyline seems to drag, and Traci Lords (the major name attached) would be better off being replaced with a piece of wood, because she is just really awful and adds nothing to this movie, playing the band’s manager Lindsay. I don’t even know why she is in it as she seems to serve no purpose. On the plus side well it is cheesy as hell, has some semi decent 80’s hairmetal going on (even though it was a bit late to the party on this front, being made in the 90’s when this style of music was on its way out), it is boobtastic (in fact most of the female cast get them out, all apart from Traci Lords who struts around in a conservative managers attire) and some of the effects are so awful they are bound to induce spontaneous laughter. Another fun element are the guitar solo scenes which are played out by a different person Michael Angelo Batio from LA glam metal band Nitro. The makers have obviously tried to go for continuity but the editing is so atrocious that you can plainly see it is another person playing the guitar. Highlight of the piece for me was the original Spastic Colon singer Jonny Crack (Marcus Gupta) who can be seen mincing it around in a spandex ensemble which exposes his midriff while be belts out a few verses to ‘Virgin Girl’ (Virgin Girl she’s only good one time, oh dear, yes it is THAT cheesy). So lukewarm on this one, but worth a viewing if you can get a copy cheap enough, otherwise check out the much better aforementioned Black Roses or Trick or Treat for some metal based comedy/horror.