Notable Cast: Ray Wise, Eric Roberts, Joel David Moore, Adam Rifkin, Kane Hodder, Lin Shaye, Richard Riehle, Corey Jones, Kaili Thorne
Review: You ARE NOT READY for Chillerama. Honestly. The easily offended and close-minded will be off-put in a matter of minutes, while throwback B-movie horror hounds will be elated by the amount of debaucherous fun to be had. The four directors above have come together for the single purpose of paying homage to the good ol’ days where you could hunker down in a drive-in theater to catch a marathon of tasteless grindhouse flicks that shock the senses. The passion for film Chillerama oozes with is enough to make any cinema nerd blush, but also makes it tenfold easier to appreciate the idea our directors imagined, well almost all our directors that is. Not all segments achieved this sick nirvana, but with the help of the Fast Forward button Chillerama could be a solid underground cult classic for my generation. Sadly, one bad, stinking, festering, rotted corpse of an apple spoils the whole damn bunch, and can’t be ignored from the total project. For the sake of each individual effort, I’ll cover the sections separately, but to Chillerama’s dismay I have no choice but to rate the entire package as a whole. First up though is…
Writer/Director: Adam Rifkin (Detroit Rock City)
Take the setting of an old Godzilla flick, and substitute a gigantic blood-thirsty sperm instead of the scaly icon. Miles Munson (Rifkin) has a rare disease that only lets him produce one sperm. Luckily, Dr. Weems (Wise) has an experimental drug which is supposed to improve potency. Miles takes the drug, but soon finds out being a test subject has its side effects, mainly the fact that the drug instead of increasing just potency also increases the size of one’s swimmer. Miles’ only choice is to “get the sperm out”, unleashing a constantly growing single spunk that destroys everything in its path.
A strange choice as Rifkin is known for writing family movies like Small Soldiers/Mouse Hunt/Underdog, but Adam nails the low-budget monster movie feel 100% while toying with the audacity of creature features. The script is playful, eliciting acting by such veteran screen presences as Ray Wise and Eric Roberts channeling the terrible acting such horror movies possessed, but in a fun way to separate their mimic from actual un-inspired acting. Rifkin’s Miles Munson does the same mostly, but oversells the “look at how bad I’m acting” visual trying to be set at times. These are only short bursts though, avoiding turning Wadzilla into an exercise in overkill. Effects are laughably bad, the monster is cheesetastic, cameos were surprising, acting was purposely channeling the horrendous real efforts of early genre films, and the presentation was dirt cheap. Yes, Wadzilla was a freakin’ blast as far as B-Movie monster movies about killer semen go. The perfect mixture of creativity and satire creates a gigantic old school money shot you’ll want to stick around for.
I Was A Teenage Werebear
Writer/Director: Tim Sullivan (2001 Maniacs)
And here comes the nosedive. Ricky (Sean Paul Lockhart) is a young teenage boy lusting for something more than girlfriend Peggy Sue (Gabby West). Local new kid Talon (Anton Troy) and his gang offer Ricky that escape, biting him on the ass and bringing him into their strange world. Whenever Ricky becomes aroused after the bite, he turns into what the gay community refer to a “bear”, aka a large bulky homosexual dressed in S&M gear with of course a hairy bear face to spin on the “werewolf” creature. Along with the transformation, he lusts for blood and killing. But can Ricky use his curse for good and stop Talon? I really didn’t care.
Known for 2001 Maniacs, Sullivan isn’t a big name in the mainstream horror genre, and if I Was A Teenage Werebear is any indication I know why. Hating to single out any one person but having to, Sullivan’s feature sucked any and all life out of Chillerama. Spoofing the 60’s surf rock musical culture artists like The Beach Boys were known for, this drivel should have just been removed after the very first test screening. Lacking any inspiration and chock full of homophobic stereotypes, Sullivan missed the “fun” aspect of his satire by about 100 yards. In no way am I saying the film was made with gay bashing in mind (quite frankly I think the opposite) and I’m not insinuating Tim Sullivan or anyone involved believes so, but some stories just sound better on paper…especially without proper execution. His original songs lacked clever incorporation, the acting was flat and hard to watch, any horror or comedy was nowhere to be found, and the Werebear plot was downright tasteless. Yes, the other movies are about killer jizz, Nazis (we’ll get there), and horny zombies (again, we’ll get there). But Sullivan couldn’t pull off his topical concept with any grace or tongue-in-cheek delivery as the other creators solidified. I Was A Teenage Werebear is a dreadful waste of time so without any redeeming entertainment I almost shut off Chillerama for good.
Final Sum Up: Nothing here for horror, comedy, musical, or LGBT film fans. On whatever scale you rate, Werebear should be smack on the bottom.
The Diary of Anne Frankenstein
Writer/Director: Adam Green (Hatchet/Frozen)
Thankfully I keep trudging through Chillerama, investing belief that my Hofstra alum Adam Green could pick up the broken pieces. In his section, we learn how Adolf Hitler (Moore) actually lost WWII. While poor Anne Frank was hiding from the Nazis, she learns her last name was actually shortened from Frankenstein and their family holds a very disturbing secret: the blueprints on how to bring a monster to life by sewing together parts from corpses. Hitler has his eye on such knowledge, hoping to create a super being to carry out his every deadly wish. After finding Anne’s family and dispatching of them, he steals the plans that lead to the creation of the Jewish Frankenstein….MESHUGANNAH!
Green’s poking fun at Nazisploitation (yes, this is seriously an old B-Movie sub genre) was well crafted for our entertainment. Is Anne Frank gunned down by Hitler in the opening scenes of the film? Yes. Is it hilarious because Joel David Moore says nothing correct in German? Absolutely. Green’s film shat on history but along the way has fun with the language subtitles, low budget-casting choices, singing Hitler, and a giant Jewish monster played by legendary slasher actor Kane Hodder. As always Green also throws in jabs at typical horror goofs (how long it would really take someone to suffocate?) while making his black and white flick perfectly exploitative and hilariously entertaining. The Diary of Anne Frankenstein is a self-aware commentary on F-budget filmmaking that only works in spoof form, which is magnificent for Chillerama. Somehow safer than Wadzilla, but admirable for different reasons.
Final Sum Up: Green has a great time morphing a story we all know into something totally out of left field. It helps he brought in usual collaborators Joel David Moore and Kane Hodder, who exude an amount of charm based on the fun you can tell all involved are having.
Writer/Director: Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2: Dead End)
Lynch’s contribution is the filler between each film, and the final act that interrupts (thankfully) what should have been the final drive-in movie. It’s the last night for the final drive-in theater left in existence, and owner Cecil Kaufman (Riehle) is showing four previously unreleased horror pictures to commemorate the event. But as the night wears on, a deadly virus begins spreading amongst the patrons, all started when concession worker Floyd (Miles Dougal) becomes infected before work. These aren’t your typical zombies though, as the infected gain a heightened sense of sexuality and literally f*ck their victims to death. Horror nerds Ryan (Brendan McCreary), Tobe (Jones), and Mayna (Thorne) are left to fight off the undead with the help of Cecil as they become aware of the now dangerous atmosphere, wanting to avoid their own credits rolling.
Zom-B-Movie fills all the gaps the other filmmakers missed. We don’t know it during the film, but the observational foreshadow-y comments our characters throw out like “Eh, not enough tits” explode thematically in Lynch’s final segment which plays to the overall exploitation of these films in general. Filled with mindless sex and violence, Zom-B-Movie attacks morality but also is creative genius in switching up the normal conventions. No red boring blood for the dead; the infected would bleed this electric blue colored liquid. No usual feasting, these zombies had a sexual appetite. Our heroes emerge from their car to find a twisted zombie orgy with glowing goo splattered around the giant canvas, mixed with the red blood from victims. Film enthusiasts will drool over the numerous nods Zom-B-Movie dishes out to every type of film, and is a genre hound’s dream. This is also the modern-day segment of the film, giving a nice break of pace and bump in production as opposed to the purposely stingy showings of the features. Watching the situation slowly boil over until this point built anticipation that lasted through the films, and Chillerama closes with a bang on Zom-B-Movie.
Final Sum-Up: Full of raunchy undead fun, Zom-B-Movie is a spectacular ending to this marathon of madness
Conclusion: Want a fun game to play along with the movie? Drink every time another film is referenced. And if you want to get really drunk…well…just do that! Bummer, this could have been a must see horror check-out from 2011. I would love to rate Chillerama without I Was A Teenage Werebear. Really, I do. But one cannot unsee what hath already been shown. Thirty minutes out of one twenty, or one-quarter of the film, can be deemed a waste, which is far too much time to spend just waiting for enjoyment to kick back in. Take a nap, read a book, twiddle your thumbs, stick a cactus up your tush…I don’t care how you spend your time. Just promise you won’t spend it watching Sullivan’s Werebear bullcocky? Please release a DVD minus I Was A Teenage Werebear so I can recalculate the rating and add the film to my ever-growing collection of cinema? PLEASE?
Final Rating: 5.5 squirts of vibrant blue goo out of 10