Sunday, 14 April 2013


Title: Chillerama
Director: Adam Green, Joe Lynch, Adam Rifkin, Tim Sullivan
Released: 2011
Starring: Adam Rifkin, Sarah Mutch, Owen Benjamin, Ray Wise, Eric Roberts, Miles Dougal, Lin Shaye, Sean Paul Lockhart, Anton Troy, Gabby West, Adam Robitel, Ron Jeremy, Tim Sullivan, Thomas C. Colby-Dog, Joel David Moore, Kristina Klebe, Kane Hodder, Jim Ward, Richard Riehle, Corey Jones, Kaili Thorne, Brendan McCreary, Ward Roberts

Plot: It’s the closing night of the last drive-in theatre in America and owner Cecil B. Kaufman has decided to go out with a bang by holding a marathon of cinematic trash for his faithful cinephile patrons. Unknown to them though is the fact that one of the staff has contracted a zombie virus through some ill-advised necrophilia, ensuring this is going to be nothing short of a memorable closing night.

Review: While many may have hailed Eli Roth as the saviour of the horror genre, a title which he has sadly failed to live up to, especially considering how he is more concerned with taking on producing duties these days than sitting in the directors chair, as only further highlighted by the gap between “Hostel 2” and the forthcoming “The Green Inferno”. Infact if anyone could be branded as a saviour for the genre, I would personally venture that it would have to be Adam Green, whom since unleashing “Hatchet” has only feverishly continued to add to the genre, as he followed it up with not only a sequel to this debut, but also the critically acclaimed “Frozen” which showed that he was more than another splatter director.More surprisingly though he has also givin us the horror version of “The Big Bang Theory” with “Holliston” which he also stars in with fellow horror director and best friend Joe Lynch, who unsurprisingly is also on hand to direct a segment here.

Now the unholy twosome join forces with Adam Rifkin and Tim Sullivan to create this horror comedy anthology, an idea originally devised by Rifkin and Sullivan as a weekly show for MTV, only for it to fall through due to the increased popularity in reality shows. Now recruiting Green and Lynch to their cause it finally makes it to the screen in movie form and I was eager to see how it stood up alongside the classic Anthologies which came before it like “Tales From The Darkside” and “Creepshow”, aswell as the knowing nods to B-movie culture much like we saw with the criminally separated “Grindhouse” whose double feature format failed to make it out of the States as it was released internationally as two separate films.

Comprised of four films with each director getting their own chance to craft their own vision, as they give us here
  • Wadzilla (directed by Adam Rifkin) – A monster sized man eating sperm goes on a rampage through New York.
  • I Was a Teenage Werebear (directed by Tim Sullivan) – The sole musical entry in the film, set in 1962 were Ricky (Lockheart) a closet gay discovers a mysterious gang, who also happen to turn into leather daddy werebears when aroused.
  • The Diary of Anne Frankenstein (directed by Adam Green) – The secret attempt by Hitler (Moore) to create the perfect killing machine to help turn the tide of the war, while in turn giving the world his Jewish Frankenstein Meshugannah (Hodder) 
  • Zom-B-Movie (directed by Joe Lynch) – The main meat of the film, which is intercut with the other films, as sex crazed zombies invade the drive through while ensuring the film end with a suitably splatter soaked finale

As you can see it is a real mixed bag on offer here in terms of style and ideas, yet all keep within the general theme the film shows….one that it would seem drenched in bodily fluids and gore, served up with a heavy dose of warped humour, which is not a bad thing and certainly gives the bad taste aficionados plenty to enjoy. The downside though is that like “Four Rooms” the level of talent on offer here is varying to say the least, resulting in a film which is frequently uneven in places as the standard shifts from piece to piece with Green and Lynch easily having the stronger segments, with their experience of working in the genre really coming into play, with Lynch’s “Zom-B-Movie” throwing out cheeky nods to the zombie genre left, right and centre while seemingly also attempting to top the splatter finale of Peter Jackson’s legendry “Braindead” while at the same giving it a sex comedy style twist which has to be seen to be believed. Meanwhile Green’s twist on Frankenstein is so over the top that despite the high potential to cause offence by poking fun at what could essentially be volatile subject matter, is quickly put to rest by the ever increasing levels of randomness, which has a real Mel Brooks feel to it as the film self acknowledges its own stupidity, even having cast step outside of the sets and actors suddenly being replaced by questionable looking dummies.

Sadly were the film hits a major bump is with “I Was A Teenage Werebear” which attempts to give us “Grease” via the way of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, which is a dangerous idea to begin with when you consider that even Richard O’Brian couldn’t create a sequel to beat his creation, so it is essentially destinted to fail from the start as any number of tepid stage versions trying to capture the magic of the film have only further proven. The main problem here is not so much with the plot, which embraces carefree gay love, aswell as the confusion for a young man still forced to live in the closet, all great themes to see being used and obviously ideas close to the heart of the segments director seeing how Sullivan himself is openly gay (and rather keen to drop this fact in for any promotional material for the film). What lets this segment down is instead the weak collection of forgettable songs being warbled by the cast. None of these song I have to confess would have me rushing to buy the soundtrack, which has been optimistically released alongside the film, while Sullivan has also hinted at a full length stage version, something else that I’m not exactly on tender hooks to see, especially as this segment is only just bearable, thanks to some over the top and frequently original splatter.

One thing which stuck with me about this film though is the continuous obsession with bodily fluids, as the film seems to take any opportunity to ensure that all feature in some form or another with “Wadzilla” with its giant sperm and tidal wave cum shots ensuring that it comes off like a more light hearted version of the body shocker “Bad Biology”. Still the bad taste aficionados amongst you will no doubt appreciate the sheer effort which has been put into this film to ensure that they are all covered for your viewing pleasure, which includes a scatological themed “Deathication”. Thankfully its not a theme which overshadows the whole film, but one which certainly crops up enough to be noticeable.

While the segments might vary greatly in quality and style, the strength of “The Diary of Anne Frankenstein” and “Zom-B-Movie” prove to be more than enough to cover for the weaker parts of the film. At the same time while watching this I couldn’t help but feel that I was missing the audience element which no doubt has made this such a popular film on the horror festival circuit and as such I would recommend watching this with a group of like-minded friends to get the full effect intended.


  1. I liked it and I hated it, it gets a huge mixed reaction from me. If you ask me, Wadzilla is the best one and thats the one they start off with! I also liked the wrap around story with the glowing zombies...the rest was okay...but I hated the Were Bear was so bad on so many levels...starting with the fact that it was a musical where no one could sing.

    1. Like yourself I was left with mixed feelings about this one and still unsure if its because of the conditions I watched it under. Perhaps with a responsive audience it would have been more fun. Be keen to hear from anyone who has seen this at a festival.

  2. I always want to defend Werebear, because I feel like it came from a good place and I like the idea of playing with the teen beach blanket movies of the '50s to tell a coming-out tale. And me loving musicals, the songs aren't the problem. It's the length (which is an issue I have with ALL of the segments) that just doesn't know when to stop. All the stories (especially Anne Frank, which is great until it starts repeating itself) simply go on too long, but Werebear suffers that the most.

    1. I love the randomness of movies like "Beach Blanket Bingo" and the general idea of werebear, I just feel that how its construction which was far too sloppy, especially with its songs as I said in the review being far to forgettable, which seems to the sin of so many musicals, which forget that the songs are there to drive the story and not grind it to a halt while everyone has their little musical moment.
      In a perfect world more musicals would be like the classics like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Little Shop of Horrors, Bugsy Malone or Calamity Jane. I think the closest we came as of late was "Repo: The Genetic Opera" even if it was hindered by Anthony Stewart Head's mediocre warbling.

  3. I basically agree with you on all accounts.

    I thought Wadzilla was a good start because the gross out factor had me laughing.

    I Was a Teenage Werebear is funny in title alone. It's execution was almost unwatchable it was so boring.

    The Diary of Anne Frankenstein and Zom-B-Movie were also pretty good and definitely worth a few good chuckles.

    Not my favorite, but overall it made for a decent afternoon movie.

  4. @Lindsay: I apriciate what they were trying to achive with this film, especially as it really got in before the recent spate of Horror Anthologies. I would still like to see this with a horror festival crowd, to see if it benifits from watching with a group.
    Equally this film reminds me that I have to buy a blu-ray player so that I can own a copy of "Grindhouse" in it's original format, rather than the "screw you" two seperate movies form it finally came to the UK.


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