THE CHAINSAW SALLY SHOW (S1)
Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
April Monique Burril
What's it about
A deranged librarian and her recluse brother have a grand time brutalizing folks in their small Maryland town for everything from bestiality to delivering the wrong Girl Scout cookies. Sounds good in theory…
Is it good movie?
Maryland (and upper Virginia) seems to produce a whole lot of independent cinema, especially of the horror variety. Hell, I even have a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it walk-on as a zombie in one of them. So it is no surprise to me that The Chainsaw Sally Show has so much heart and soul poured into it by a group of really talented people. Which makes me feel even worse to have to give it a total shellacking. Unfortunately my job is not to report on good intentions and hard work, but on viewing experience.
I have never seen the Chainsaw Sally movie, and I am sure it is wonderful, but my first experience with her is as a one-note character, and stretching that across eleven twenty-minute episodes of a television show spreads that so thin it disappears. There is a basic plot of Sally, who witnessed her parents brutally murdered as a child, being a proper librarian by day, and a punk-outfitted maniacal serial killer by night. She lives in her parents’ home with her reclusive but equally twisted brother, and they carry out nefarious deeds in a trailer in the woods.
She befriends her high school-aged assistant, and attempts to stay a step ahead of the Texas lawman on her tail and a buxom makeup saleswoman who plays at being a criminal investigative reporter. But that is all secondary stuff to the incongruous scenes of Sally killing people for the most minor societal infractions. Those scenes go on forever, and eat up any time that would otherwise be spent on the scant plot. In fact, even the plot scenes seem to go on forever. The whole affair tries to get over by being a sort of latter-day gruesome sitcom, and by having copious scenes of scantily clad women.
I also have a problem with projects that feel the need to exclaim their virtues to you. The cover of this set says they are “11 f*cked up episodes,” and each episode is from “the dirty mind of Jimmyo Burril.” It always smacks of a product trying to convince you of something, instead of letting you come to the conclusion organically.
Video / Audio
Video: Shot on video, in HD. For the most part, the image is clear. There are some lighting inconsistencies between scenes that are inherent in any low-budget project, but overall it looks good.
Audio: Dolby Digital, and other than the occasional inconsistency, as mentioned with the video above, the sound is good. Plenty of decent punk and metal on the soundtrack. There is an optional laugh track that can be played over most of the episodes, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Commentaries: I think all but two or three episodes have a commentary, featuring various cast and crew members. I dropped in on a few of them, and they seemed pretty solid and informative.
21 Weekends in Porterville: This is a decent making-of doc, with interviews with the cast and crew and plenty of behind the scenes action.
Anatomy of a Kill: This short piece walks you through the process of contructing an onscreen kill, from the rehearsal to the makeup to the actual shooting.
Sexy Slideshow: This is a photo gallery strictly of April Monique Burril in her Chainsaw Sally guise, spanning the ten years or so that she has inhabited the character.
Theme Song Music Video: This is the full theme song, Shattered and Blue by Brian Huddell, played along with clips from the show.
Can You Hear Me Now?: This is a 5-minute short that looks like a kill that didn’t make it into one of the episodes, and is indicative of one of the big problems I had with that show. Sally basically kills this lady for using a Bluetooth. She makes her eat it and cuts it out of her throat when she’s dead. The reason this doesn’t work is because it is actually in the lady’s home. She wasn’t out somewhere, being a big douche with her headset. She was talking to a friend while doing laundry. Which just makes Sally look petty and judgmental, instead of the avenging antihero she’s supposed to be.
It’s Groundhog Day, Chainsaw Sally: This is basically an extra episode, though it comes off more as a short film. It is almost three times as long as a regular episode, and is easily the most entertaining thing on the whole disc. It is has a few funny scenes and some decent acting, even if it does descend into the same tedium as the regular season. It does have Jordan Wyandt spending some quality time with a personal massager, and that isn’t terrible to watch.
The second disc has a few Troma extras, being the distribution company. Basically some chick squeezing her boobs, and a few trailers. The disc packaging says there is an introduction to the series by Lloyd Kaufman, head of Troma, and a preview of season 2, but effed if I could find either of them.
The Chainsaw Sally Show has a lot of cool music, buxom, scantily-clad women in school girl outfits and the like, and a decent amount of gore. Alas, it has little else. The horror scenes are protracted, and the dramatic scenes anemic. I’d like to give this effort a better rating, but I just can’t. Sorry, Burrils et al.