The Chainsaw Sally Show (2009)
-Review by Nic Brown-
Once upon a time if you wanted to do a sitcom, you had to have the backing of a network. Then your show would, or in most cases would not, be aired on one of the major channels. Today, that has changed. Thanks to the proliferation of high speed internet access more and more people are able to watch their favorite TV shows online as streaming content or downloads. While the major networks dominate this area of content, it does offer independent filmmakers a medium for delivering their product that has not existed before: the webisode. JimmyO Burril knows this and he’s taken advantage of it with his online web series THE CHAINSAW SALLY SHOW.
Starring Burril’s wife, April,
in her signature role as the chainsaw wielding librarian, Sally
Diamon, the show picks up where the cult hit film
left off. Sally is still living with her younger brother Ruby (now
played by Azman Toy) and doing what she thinks is right, which is
killing off the less desirable citizens of
This is the underlying theme that drives the show: Sally dispensing her own brand of justice while taking care of her brother. The episodes run about ten minutes each and although they have their own unique plots, they are all part of a bigger storyline involving investigators closing in on Sally after the murder of an industrialist in the original film. Sally also has a new protégé at the library, a young goth girl named Poe (Lilly Burril). Poe faces abuse from her classmates because of her different lifestyle, but she may find working at the library has benefits she wouldn’t expect, when Sally takes an interest in the girl’s problems.
The show is filled with dark humor and tongue-in-cheek pokes at television sitcoms. In fact the show is billed as a sitcom itself. JimmyO even goes so far as to offer two versions of each episode available for viewing online: one with and one without a “studio audience” laugh track. To get the full effect of the show’s black comedy the laugh track version should be viewed. Fans of seventies and eighties situation comedies will recognize the style and the addition of laughter, cheers, boos, and the rest gives the each episode a surreal feeling. However, calling the show a “sitcom” isn’t enough because there has never been a situation comedy with situations like these: beating a pervert to death with a baseball bat, using a human torso as a piñata, hacking up littering teen campers with an ax and of course repeated chainsaw based eviscerations.
Perhaps the show’s biggest problem is born from one of its strengths, the web based nature of the series. The viewer is limited to watching the show in a small window on the show’s website. While the quality is there, it is often difficult in the darker scenes, to tell exactly what is going on. Fortunately, once the show is complete, all of the episodes are being collected and released on DVD. The DVD set promises the viewer more features, more gore and other things that were left out of the online version. Hopefully, the full screen presentation will remedy some of show’s problems with difficult to follow scenes.
Ultimately, despite the technical problems that accompany many web based features, THE CHAINSAW SALLY SHOW is a horrifically fun series that is full of gore and humor. Written and directed by JimmyO Burril, the show also has the distinct touch of one of the industries masters, the legendary “Wizard of Gore” himself: Herschell Gordon Lewis who is the show’s executive producer. If you have a decent internet connection and want to see something new online that isn’t the latest pet trick video, then visit www.chainsawsallyshow.com and check out THE CHAINSAW SALLY SHOW. This is the one show that is not so much likely to “jump the shark” as it is to feed someone to it.