As a young girl, Sally witnessed her parents brutally murdered by a trio of thugs. With her folks gone, she had to raise her younger brother, Ruby, on her own. As an adult, she lives two lives: mild-mannered librarian by day, sexually-liberated vigilante chainsaw-killer by night. In Sally’s mind, only “bad people” deserve to die, and she has a pretty liberal idea of what makes a “bad person”—chiefly, anyone she sees as being a danger to her family. So when an eminent-domain grab for her family land suddenly arises, Sally takes to the power tools once again.
Jimmyo (“Silver Scream”) Burril’s “Chainsaw Sally” is part send-up, part homage to ‘70s horror classics. The central characters of Sally and Ruby seem destined to be cult classic characters to stand along the likes of “Leatherface” and the family from “The Hills Have Eyes”. To prove his own love for the genre, Burril employed horror legends H.G. Lewis (“Blood Feast”) and Gunnar Hansen (“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”—playing “Daddy”, who gets to sling a chainsaw again himself before succumbing to his wounds), both of whom add significant weight to the production. As the off-kilter and effeminate Ruby, Alec Joseph does a terrific job of keeping the character in check and never allowing himself to go over the top or become annoying. Mark Redfield, who also produced, is fine as the stalwart “Steve Kellerman”, who is researching Sally’s family and their land.
But the true find is April Burril, who plays the title character. In the scenes where goes from meek to wild in a matter of seconds, you never doubt Sally for a second—she’s truly dangerous and seems to be having a great time being so. Add to the fact that Sally (and the script) has a wicked sense of humor and you have a well-rounded character rarely scene in any indie movie, much less a horror film.
Beautifully shot with gorgeous, rich colors, “Chainsaw Sally” starts off slow and deliberate, allowing itself to build to a lighting pace, ending in what is quite possibly the most gleefully painful climax in recent movie history. The impatient may find the first forty-minutes or so too slow, but those who stick with it will be rewarded in the end.