What started life as a promo website for the horror-musical stage show, "Silver Scream", hosted by fictional horror mistress 'Chainsaw Sally' soon became a minor cult phenomenon. So it's only logical that writer-director JimmyO (James N. Burril) would spin it off into the tongue-in-cheek horror flick you see before you. And while, Chainsaw Sally, does have a few rough areas, it's still a pretty entertaining little low-budgeter with a good dose of dark humour, death, and a main character who can hold her own amongst a crowded genre of psychopaths.
In the small town of Porterville, Sally (April Monique Burril) seems like just your normal, average, na´ve librarian. Hell, she even wears her hair tied back and glasses to prove it. But we know different as she proceeds to follow the obnoxious redneck she's told numerous times to be quiet into the bathroom and kills him. Yeah, Sally might just be off her rocker.
Into the picture comes land developer Benton (David Calhoun) who, along with the mayor, wants to make the town into a minor metropolis by building various condos and high-rises. The only problem is, a certain patch of land stands in his way.
Benton tracks down the land's owner, Steve (Mark Redfield) and tries to use the attractive Cynthia (Kristen Hudson) to make him sell the last missing piece. It's too bad for all of them, then, that Sally and her cross dressing brother Ruby (Alec Joseph) happen to live in a house on the property - the same house they witnessed their parents get murdered in fifteen years prior by some escaped mental patients.
From there its murderous mayhem as Sally and Ruby kill off anybody who happens to piss them off - or try to take their home away from them. This gives the makers plenty of opportunity for various death scenes, but apart from a few bloody moments in the finale (involving a chainsaw and gross use of formaldehyde), it seems like the murders are cut fairly short - which may be one of director JimmyO's various nods to the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre (another being when he uses quick images with a screeching noise like the opening scene of TCM). But I will admit when a womanizer gets a sparkler in a very uncomfortable place it certainly was creative.
Chainsaw Sally is certainly a demented ride and it's filled with quirky characters and dark humour. I had a fun time with it even if a few minor problems did spring up. The main things holding this back from outright greatness (it'll still be a cult favourite, mark my words) is the fact the movie is a bit loosely structured and the script never really develops its set-up of having Sally and Ruby being deranged cannibals - sure, we're given flashbacks to their parents murders (with Gunnar "Leatherface" Hansen playing their dad), but a build-up to their nuttiness might've been cool as well.
Burril and Joseph seem to be having a whole slew of fun as our murderous duo and I would welcome them both back if the makers decide to do a follow-up. In general, though, the acting here is solid even though Redfield is a tiny bit wooden in the lead "hero" role. That's the "Godfather of Gore" himself, Herschell Gordon Lewis, playing kindly hardware store owner Mr. Gordon in a cameo.
If you're looking for a none-too-serious and over-the-top horror-comedy then definitely check out Chainsaw Sally - it offers enough of what we crave to make for an enjoyable diversion and it's better done than a lot of indie horror flicks tend to be. (Chris Hartley, 3/1/07)
Directed By: JimmyO (James N. Burril).
Written By: JimmyO (James N. Burril).
Starring: April Monique Burril, Mark Redfield, Alec Joseph, David Calhoun.
Shock-O-Rama - February 27, 2007
Picture Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen.
Picture Quality: Apart from an early authoring error blip early and the fact it's a tad fuzzy, the transfer here looks okay considering. It's nothing special, but for a low-budget production it could've looked worse.
Extras: Shock-O-Rama have given Chainsaw Sally a good batch of extras on disc. We get a trailer (plus trailer vaults for other releases), a storyboard comparision, an interview with Hansen, the music video "Silence" by Piss Ant, an informative half-hour featurette entitled "Saw Dust: The Making Of Chainsaw Sally" and a listenable commentary track with JimmyO, star Burril and assistant director Sean Jones.
Visit Shock-O-Rama for more info.