CHICAGO – Mention the name Harry Lennix, and images of his many character roles are bound to emerge – Harold Cooper in the TV series “The Blacklist,” General Swanwick from “Batman v Superman” and Commissioner Blades from Spike Lee’s recent “Chi-Raq.” The deeply knowledgeable Lennix brings his years of dramatic expertise, as he directs the Congo Square Theatre Company’s world premiere stage play “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red.’
Blu-ray Review: Despite Interesting Intentions, ‘Chillerama’ Misses Target
CHICAGO – I was SO with “Chillerama” when it started. The concept is right in my wheelhouse as I’ve long been a fan of B-movies, having been raised on the works of Roger Corman, Troma, and the writing of Joe Bob Briggs. If “Chillerama” can’t appease me, it’s unlikely to work for anyone. Bad news. Despite its best intentions and clever foundation, the execution here is just off, resulting in a hit-and-miss film that does way too much of the latter half of that equation.
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0
Much like “Grindhouse” was an ode to an era of bygone cinema, “Chillerama” attempts to recreate that anything-goes mentality that resulted in some truly over-the-top cult classics by using more than one style and more than one filmmaker to make an anthology of B-movie lunacy. The movie opens with a guy digging up the corpse of his wife and preparing to defile her corpse before the dearly departed wakes up and chomps his dick off. Yep. It’s gonna be THAT kind of entertainment. Of course, the guy lives and becomes a zombie himself, lurking back to the drive-in where he works and where, technically, the whole movie takes place. Like “The Twilight Zone: The Movie,” “Chillerama” is an anthology piece with four directors delivering four B-movies linked by the zombie chaos about to go down on the last night of a closing drive-in.
Photo credit: Image Entertainment Pictures
The four filmmakers have all made films that make them deserving of being named the “next big thing” in the world of horror. If you haven’t seen Adam Rifkin’s “The Dark Backward,” Adam Green’s “Frozen,” Tim Sullivan’s “2001 Maniacs,” and Joe Lynch’s “Wrong Turn 2,” you really, really should. All are well worth a rental and, sadly, all are better than the four directors contributions to “Chillerama.” The quartet of horror-loving friends deliver “Wadzilla,” “I Was a Teenage Werebear,” “The Diary of Anne Frankenstein,” and “Zom-B-Movie.” The first of the films features a fertility pill that results in one giant man-eating sperm, the second is a musical/gay/werewolf extravaganza, the third is a Nazi Frankenstein hybrid, and the fourth is, well, what you’d expect.
Chillerama was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 29th, 2011
Photo credit: Image Entertainment
“Wadzilla” is the most clever of the pieces and even it falls a bit short (although seeing a giant sperm hump the Statue of Liberty is pretty amazing). It gets much worse from there. “Werebear” wears out its welcome and I couldn’t even make it through “Anne Frankenstein.” The fact is that the writing here just isn’t as good as it needs to be. The best B movies are actually much smarter than most people give them credit for. The joke in “Chillerama” is too often, “Look at how BAD this!” What they forgot is that watching something intending to be bad doesn’t make it inherently good. Just because you know you’re making a bad movie, doesn’t make it a good one.
It’s the closing night at the last drive-in theater in America and Cecil B. Kaufman (Hatchet’s Richard Riehle) has planned the ultimate marathon of lost film prints to unleash upon his faithful cinephile patrons. Four films so rare that they have never been exhibited publicly on American soil until this very night! What could possibly go wrong?
In the spirit of classic anthology films like Creepshow and Twilight Zone: The Movie and containing films that not only celebrate the golden age of drive-in B horror shlock but also span over four decades of cinema, Chillerama offers something for every bad taste. With titles like Wadzilla, I Was A Teenage Werebear, The Diary Of Anne Frankenstein, and Zom-B-Movie and featuring appearances by Joel David Moore (Avatar), Lin Shaye (Insidious), Ray Wise (X-Men: First Class), Kane Hodder (Friday The 13th), Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight) and more cameos than you can count, Chillerama is sure to have you screaming for more. From the depraved minds of Adam Rifkin (Detroit Rock City), Tim Sullivan (2001 Maniacs), Adam Green (Frozen), and Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2).
Directors’ Video Commentary
Wadzilla Deleted Scenes and Trailer
The Making of The Diary Of Anne Frankenstein
I Was A Teenage Werebear Trailer, Behind-the-Scenes and Deleted Scenes
Zom-B-Movie Deleted Scenes