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Blu-ray Review: Despite Interesting Intentions, ‘Chillerama’ Misses Target

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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.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0
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.

Chillerama
Chillerama
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
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.

Synopsis:
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).

Special Features:
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
Directors’ Interviews
Chillerama Trailer

“Chillerama” stars Joel David Moore, Lin Shaye, Ray Wise, Richard Riehle, Kane Hodder, and Eric Roberts. It was directed by Adam Green, Adam Rifkin, Tim Sullivan, and Joe Lynch. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 29th, 2011.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

Tim Walchusky's picture

I have to disagree with your

I have to disagree with your review. just like yourself I grew up on (I’m 32) b horror films. I always enjoyed movies like evil dead, re-animator, dead alive, rabid grannies, redneck zombies and ofcourse who doesn’t like the toxic avenger. granted this isnt in the same league but still an enjoyable film from these four directors. this reminded me of usa up all nite with Ronda sheer.
Wadzilla was great and we are in agreement that it was the strongest one of the four stories.
Teenage Werebear was quite good. I don’t think you gave it a fair shot. it was like a really screwed up version of any frankie avalon movie that came out of the 60s which were horrible to begin with unless your as old as my parents which I doubt. yes it might have been a lil weak but if you took it as face value and try not to compare it to other films it would maybe have been that much more enjoyable.
Diary was odd. it wasn’t bad. it wasn’t great. what hurt it was that story ran too long. if it was had more focus it would of been really good. too much was trying to be accomplished for the amount of time that was given. the ideas had to be a little more developed.
I have no comment on defecation short.
as far as the zombie arc tying everything together, I thought it was good. for me it was satisfying. it reminded me a little of Creepshow and even tales from the hood.
so over all I think you were harsh on it for someone who likes b movies I would think you would of been more lenient. you didn’t take movie at face value and really enjoy it for what it was. was it perfect? no. was it an enjoyable 2 hrs…hell yeah
so with that being said the movie deserves closer to a 3.5 out of 5 rather than the dismal 2 you gave it. but I also agree to each there own. people are really gonna dig this or they’re not gonna like it at all. we know what side we sit on and I hope that there will be a 2nd chillerama film in the future tw

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