Chillerama (2011) Review

Chillerama Reviewby Jesse Miller,

It’s closing night at Kaufman Drive-In, a small drive-in theatre, and to send things off with a bang, owner Cecil B. Kaufman (Richard Riehle) has planned one last nasty little marathon for his loyal patrons.

The marathon in question is CHILLERAMA, a nasty little collection of some lost and forgotten horror films that are only now seeing the light day.

First up on the line-up is “Wadzilla, both a throwback and a spoof of the 50’s monster flick.
Written & Directed by Adam Rifkin (Detroit Rock City, Bone Chillers), Wadzilla tells the story of mild mannered businessman Miles Munson (Rifkin), who, after undertaking an experimental drug to raise his sperm count, discovers that the drug has dire side effects and that his sperm has mutated into something quite sinister.

Wadzilla captures that charm of the 50’s monster film perfectly – from the look and feel of the feature to the terrific yet wonderfully cheesy effects work of the mutant sperm itself.

The concept of a giant sperm roaming the streets wasn’t the only thing I was laughing at though, the feature is also genuinely funny, whether it’s going for gross out gags or some old fashioned slapstick comedy.

It was silly, it was offbeat, it was lowbrow but hey – every second of it was genius!

The second feature on the marathon is Writer/Director Tim Sullivan’s (2001 Maniacs) bizarre and quirky I Was A Teenage Werebear, a musical-horror-spoof (parodying the likes of Rebel Without a Cause and even Twilight’s Edward Cullen) that follows sexually confused Rick (gay porn star Sean Paul Lockhart) as he encounters a gang who, when aroused, turn into violent werebears.

Anton Troy is Talon, the leader of the were gang and Rick’s slight crush. It’s uncanny the resemblance he has to Rob Pattinson and to Edward Cullen. In fact, it’s a shame they didn’t really utilize this aspect a little more cleverly, as I feel there could’ve been a few witty jokes milked out of the parody instead of what is in the film.

Even if you’re not a fan of musicals, you still have to admire the musical work from the cast and crew here – from arranging the lyrics and music to the cast’s performance to even the little choreography on display here.

It’s all so absurd and absurdly entertaining – and the strange musical numbers, such as “Love bit me on the ass”, are quite catchy, even if they are somewhat off-key here or there. It’s quite an achievement to pull it all off and the makers here capture that 50’s surf film and surf rock vibe quite well.

The third entry in the marathon is Writer/Director Adam Green’s (Hatchet, Frozen) The Diary of Anne Frankenstein, a spoof and satire of Adolf Hitler and The Diary Of Anne Frank in which Hitler uncovers an ancient diary which details the methods to create a terrifying monster that will help him win the war.

It’s all in incredibly bad taste, yes, but it’s still actually very, very funny. Not every joke really worked; as some others but there are quite a few hilarious gags a minute that it’s a miniscule issue here.

Joel Moore (Spiral, Avatar) is perfectly cast as Hitler – from his excellent comedic timing to his hilarious awkward laugh to randomly breaking out into song about why he is misunderstood – complete with Moore actually speaking gibberish German, no less. My hat is off to the make up team in making him become Hitler – it’s uncanny how much Moore can look like Adolf in certain shots.

Another high point of this segment is Actress Kristina Klebe as a hilariously sexed-up Eva Braun, who’s hungry for the Nazi soldiers and gets aroused by Hitler’s determination for genocide. I’m not sure I really should be laughing at some of this, but I still can’t help it.

Kane Hodder as “Meshugannah”, the monster, is another example of genius casting. He doesn’t get to reach the same menacing heights as his portrayals of Jason Voorhees but when he starts running amok and ripping limb from limb, it’s immensely satisfying.

Intertwined before and after these segments is a whole different narrative itself, as we get to meet the owner of the drive-in Cecil B. Kaufman, his workers and several members of the audiences, be they arrogant jerks, bodacious babes, cinephiles or hopeless romantics deeply in love with one another but too afraid to speak up.

These scenes are actually quite touching, as they capture the magic of the drive-in theatre and the magic of cinema itself.

Just pay attention to Kaufman’s speech earlier in the film, to an Orson Welles poster on the wall of his office, about his love for movie magic, the excitement of the preparation and anticipation of starting up a film for his audience and how the likes of piracy and iTunes are making the magical night out at the drive-in under the stars all the more obsolete.

It’s quite a touching moment and a heartfelt love-letter to the magic of the drive-in.

This little tale just happens to be the “wrap-around” tale of the film, titled “Zomb B Movie”, Written & Directed by Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2). A chain reaction, seen before and after each segment, leads to an increasing zombie apocalypse taking place at Kaufman Drive-In.
Horny zombies begin roaming the earth and take over the drive-in, terrifying their victims and sexing them till death.

It is absolutely silly but it is absolutely brilliant all the same, paying homage to the classic 70’s and 80’s zombie splatter films and being very tongue-in-cheek and hilarious. You’ll truly never see anything like this again. Bright blue zombie blood spurts left, right and centre, as do the many references sprouted by characters to other great films.

It’s a segment that connects back to the touching theme of the magic of cinema, and indeed goes out with quite a bang.
Zomb B Movie is easily the most enjoyable segment out of the lot.

Chillerama is a loving celebration of the magic of cinema and an adoring, manic tribute to the type of films that you might have giddily worn out on Beta or VHS with your friends back in the day.

The crew of Chillerama in each of these segments beautifully captures this sort of nostalgia, love and admiration for these films. I loved it.

You can catch the nostalgia too as Chillerama is out now on DVD and Blu-Ray! Be sure to catch it and let More Horror know what you think!

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