I acquired Chillerama a couple of weeks ago, and now that the Holiday madness has settled, finally got the chance to sit down and watch it earlier this week. It took me awhile to write this because I was very busy watching that Paul Christoforo douchebag get his ass handed to him by the entire gaming community. Stupid asshole.
Anyway, I’ve been a fan of Adam Green since I first watched Hatchet (and loved it), so when I heard that he was teaming up with some friends to bring a grindhouse-homaging-anthology film to us, I was excited. The final product isn’t perfect, but it still manages to be a hell of a good time.
Chillerama is framed within the story of the final showing at a classic drive-in theater. Corporate assholes will be bulldozing it to the ground the next morning, so the owner (Richard Riehle) decides to giver her a massive send-off with an all-night splatterfest.
First up is Wadzilla, written and directed by Adam Riffkin (who also plays the role of our main character, Miles). Miles is given pills by his doctor (Ray Wise) to help him with his lackluster sperm count. This medication is in the experimental stages, and rather than upping his sperm count, it has an adverse effect, making the few sperm he does have bigger, meaner and more aggressive. The doctor advises Miles to discontinue the medication, and should he become aroused, to immediately masturbate and get the sperm out of his body before it has the chance to become any bigger (logical, right?). Unfortunately for Miles (and everyone else, for that matter), this tactic fails when the already way-too-big-and-scary sperm manages to escape and continues growing, running amok all over New York and growing larger and larger. A send-up of 1950’s creature features, Wadzilla injects enough absurdity and mayhem into the concept to make it ridiculously entertaining.
The second story was Tim Sullivan’s I Was a Teenage Werebear. Everything anthology film has a weak link, and unfortunately, this is Chillereama‘s. The story is simple enough – Ricky (Sean Paul Lockhart) is a little confused and has been battling the “urges” that he gets when he is around other guys – particularly another student named Talon (Anton Troy) and his greaser squad. Then, during a gym-class wrestling match, Talon bites Ricky on the ass and everything changes. As Lin Shaye, genre favorite, as well as the story’s gypsy nurse explains, he has been cursed – from now on, every time Ricky becomes aroused, he will transform into a beefy, hairy, leather-clad werebear. The concept is sound enough (though silly, but I’m not deducting points for silly), but Werebear struggles with its influences – there are simply too many. Part 1950’s chiller, part 1960’s beach party flick, part musical, Werebear just has too much going on, and the pieces don’t play well together. Each influence distracts from the others, and ultimately, from the final product. Stripped down and simplified, it may have been more successful.
The third story (and my personal favorite) was Adam Green’s The Diary of Anne Frankenstein. This story supposes that Anne Frank’s family had shortened their name from Frankenstein to hide their stained past, and that the journal of the infamous Doctor Frankenstein was discovered by the Nazis during the family’s capture. It was turned over to Hitler (Joel David Moore), who goes about creating a monster (Kane Hodder) to do his bidding. This piece is hilarious – all of the cast is speaking German, with Moore just shouting gibberish with a lot of hard consonants (I caught Boba Fett and Han Solo among his lines of dialogue). It’s fantastic. I don’t know how he managed to get through it without cracking up, but I’m guessing it probably took about 2,000 takes to get it done. He does it with a tremendous level of conviction, which makes it even better.
The final segment is Zom-B-Movie, written and directed by Joe Lynch. It continues the story set forth in the framing device, and shows us what has been going on in our drive-in during the features. A massive zombie outbreak has arisen, resulting in a horde of mindless undead, hungry for human flesh – not for eating it, but for fucking it (because why not?). So a group of teenagers must defend themselves from a mass of horny zombies. It’s visceral, violent, and gooey. Very very gooey.
Chillerama is the kind of fun you want to have with a few friends, a couch and some beers. It’s not the “so bad it’s good” kind of fun – it does stand on its own and accomplishes what it sets off to do. It’s a fun bled of horror and comedy that leaves your saying “What the fuck?” more times than you can count, and sitting mouth agape when you see where they’re willing to go next. Not to be missed or taken too seriously.