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Case Number 10787

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Chainsaw Sally

Shock-O-Rama Cinema // 2007 // 90 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 8th, 2007

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All Rise...

Wasn't "Chainsaw Sally" a rejected My Little Pony character? Judge David Johnson thinks so.

The Charge

Killing is in her blood.

Opening Statement

Chainsaws + soft-spoken librarians = ?

Facts of the Case

The answer to the above problem is, of course, blood-drenched mayhem. Sally (April Monique Burril) is a woman still struggling from the trauma of having witnessed her parents brutally murdered when she was a child. From the outside, it appears she may have pieced together her life, spending her days quietly pacing back and forth filing books on shelves and directing library patrons to the Men's room; at night, however, it's all about the bloodshed.

The nocturnal version of Sally transforms into "Chainsaw Sally," as she terrorizes victims with her blades of death and bares her psychosis for all to see. The fun continues back at home, where she and her loopy younger brother take pleasure in capturing and torturing victims. Now, their gruesome pleasures will turn toward Steve Kellerman (Mark Redfield), the current owner of their old house. He's weighing whether to sell the property to a developer, but once he gets a taste of Sally's chainsaw, his financial outlook will be the least of his problems.

The Evidence

This is nifty little indie horror-comedy that excels at what it aims for and avoids major pitfalls. As such, consider this an up-front recommendation for any of you seeking an over-the-top, high-energy blast of gore and black humor. Director "Jimmy O" (that name's gotta go) has put together an entertaining, low-budget exercise in gratuitous violence and @#$%-ed up characters, starting with the titular femme fatale.

April Burril is a find. She gives Sally a real bite and refrains from jumping full on into hamfisted territory with her portrayal of psychopathic behavior. Sally's nuts sure, but Burril manages to successfully tip-toe the line between lunacy and parody. Easily, this character could have been ridiculous, but the joint efforts of Burril and Jimmy O led to a memorable slasher villain.

Actually, Sally's more a punk slasher villain, lathering herself up in make-up, coloring her hair and donning garb that would be found at a warehouse rave. The rock soundtrack bolsters the look as well; when Sally gets her chainsawing groove on, the typical "scary movie" synth/orchestral score is jettisoned for some more progressive tunes. The combination of the sound, acting and direction lends Chainsaw Sally a unique feel that separates it from usual low-budget horror ilk.

A word of warning though to the hardcore horror fans: while the gore tally is impressive, Chainsaw Sally spends much of its time tongue planted in cheek. The juxtaposition between some of the harder horror stuff and lighter, almost comical atmosphere that infects the film may prevent ardent slasher fans from getting on board, but I dug it. It was new and it was entertaining and after so many worthless horror endeavors, you take what you can get.

Despite the vanishing budget, Mr. O was able to siphon some copious, playful gore out of his effects crew. There's a lot of blood and sinew in this film, and though the camera tends to zoom in so close to the violence that it's tough to decipher what exactly is getting sawed to bits, lots and lots of red fluid pours out. Some scenes flirt with generating nausea (there's a torture sequence in Sally's apartment that comes close), but they're tempered by the flick's macabre atmosphere.

Visually, the film source isn't the greatest, reflecting Sally's strapped resources, but the transfer is anamorphic (1.78:1) and the ghetto appearance, actually, helps set the mood. Extras: a commentary that needs its volume turned up a bit, a nice 30-minute making-of documentary, interviews with Gunnar Hansen (who's in the film briefly) and H.G. Lewis, a still gallery and trailers.

Closing Statement

Chainsaw Sally proves that creativity, a charismatic actress and buckets of fake blood can trump piles of money and overseas investors any day when it comes to creating interesting, entertaining horror films.

The Verdict

Not guilty. But bring that chainsaw to your local Sears. Probably needs a tune-up.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 75
Audio: 75
Extras: 85
Acting: 85
Story: 80
Judgment: 83

Perp Profile

Studio: Shock-O-Rama Cinema
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Comedy
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Director's Commentary
• Making-of Documentary
• Gunnar Hansen Interview
• H.G. Lewis Interview
• Music Video
• Still Gallery
• Trailers


• IMDb

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