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Blu-ray Disc Released: 11/29/2011
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 12/6/2011
My wife doesn't believe in the supernatural, which is odd, as she often implies that she's psychic. She's always having "feelings" about things, especially when she thinks something bad is going to happen. And if she's right, she's always the first to let you know. I don't subscribe to such beliefs, as anxiety and "psychic powers" are certainly two different things. However, when I first heard about Chillerama, I had a bad feeling about it. Coming from four directors who've yet to impress me, and reeking of something which would try to hard, I had some serious trepidations about the movie.
Chillerama is an anthology of horror spoofs. The film is built around a connecting story called "Zomb-B-Movie" (Directed by Joe Lynch) which takes place at a drive-in. It's the place's last night in business, and owner Cecil Kaufman (Richard Riehle) has dusted off three obscure horror movies to show, much to the delight of film buffs Tobe (Corey Jones) and Mayna (Kaili Thorne). Little do they know that one man's non-sensical encounter with a zombie has endangered all of the filmgoers.
"Wadzilla" is a spoof of giant monster movies. Writer/Director Adam Rifkin stars as Miles Munson, a man who has a low sperm count. Dr. Weems (Ray Wise) gives Miles an experimental drug which is supposed to make his sperm more durable. Instead, it causes a sperm to grow to monstrous size and it is soon terrorizing the city.
Sean Paul Lockhart stars in "I Was a Teenage Werebear" (Directed by Tim Sullivan) as Ricky, a young man who is confused about his feelings towards his girlfriend, Peggy Lou (Gabrielle West). When Ricky meets Talon (Anton Troy), he realizes that he's gay and when he's aroused by another man, he turns into a "werebear", a creature with a werewolf like face who wears leather gear.
"The Diary of Anne Frankenstein" (Directed by Adam Green) opens with Hitler (Joel David Moore) finding the Frankenstein family hiding in an attic. He confiscates a journal and uses it to create a monster which he hopes will be the ultimate weapon.
When I review an anthology like Chillerama, I normally give a synopsis of each segment and then write a review for it. That isn't necessary here because the whole thing stinks. Lynch, Rifkin, Sullivan, and Green have come up with clever titles for their segments and that's where any creativity ends. The remainder of the movie is a collection of jokes and puns which fall ridiculously flat, most likely because they're so loaded with movie references. You've seen movies? Congratulations. A few nods to other films would have been fine, but the amount offered here, which is clearly meant as a joke, becomes mind-numbing after a while.
The problem with all of the stories is that they redefine "one-note", especially "I Was a Teenage Werebear". Here, we have a guy who realizes that he's gay and he turns into a "monster" which looks like it was made with a Halloween make-up kit from the dollar store. And that's all the story that we get. Nothing else happens. The running time is filled with ridiculous and cringe-inducing doo-wop songs. "Wadzilla" has a promising premise, and in its early stages, the sperm monster is interesting looking, but the whole thing devolves into euphemisms for semen. The intentionally bad special effects used on the monster are a nice touch, but it isn't funny. Like "I Was a Teenage Werebear", "The Diary of Anne Frankenstein" is a one-joke entry and it never gets funnier that its title. Some physical comedy from Joel David Moore borders on funny, but it doesn't quite get there. Once the monster is revealed...well, it's just sad. As for the wrap-around story...huh? What's with the blue zombie blood? Why was that first zombie a zombie? I get the feeling that makers of Chillerama knew that this was a mess, so they decided to forego any sort of quality and simply go for bad taste, as the unrated movie goes for broke with gore and sex jokes during the finale.
Of the four directors here, only Adam Green has been within driving distance of a good movie with his 2010 entryFrozen. Tim Sullivan, on the other hand, shouldn't be allowed near a camera after making 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams. I can certainly see what this team was trying to do with this movie, but they have failed miserably. There is nothing truly funny here and most of it is painfully bad. The horror comedy is one of the most difficult genres to pull of and Chillerama shows that good intentions and a love for the genre won't get you very far.
Chillerama made me feel sorry for those poor drive-in patrons and not because of the zombies on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Image Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 11 Mbps. 11 Mbps? That's the lowest bitrate I've ever seen. The various segments all look different, as "Wadzilla" looks like a 50's movie, while "The Diary of Anne Frankenstein" looks like a damage from the 30s. "Zom-B-Movie" looks very sharp and clear, showing good colors and slight grain. Except where done intentionally, the movie is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is OK, but the image is soft at times. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The movie contains some intentional pops and hissing, but otherwise the sound is OK. We get some nice off-screens sounds in the stereo channels. The surround sound effects work nicely during "Wadzilla", and we get some subwoofer effects here as well.
The Chillerama Blu-ray Disc contains a few extras. We begin with a VIDEO COMMENTARY with Adam Rifkin, Tim Sullivan, Adam Green, and Joe Lynch. This offers a picture-in-picture which allows us to see the quartet as they talk about the movie. "The Making of The Diary of Anne Frankenstein" (23 minutes) takes us on-set and behind the scenes of this segment of the film. Writer/Director Adam Green talks about how he got involved and how he put the piece together. "I Was a Teenage Werebear -- Behind the Scenes" (22 minutes) offers interviews with the actors and filmmakers, as well as some on-set footage. The speakers discuss the origins of the story, the casting, the effects, and the songs. There are DELETED SCENES from Wadzilla (6 minutes), I Was a Teenage Werebear (14 minutes), and Zom-B-Movie (4 minutes). "Famous Monsters" (6 minutes) offers an interview with the four directors which was conducted at Comic-Con. "Salfen Comic-Con Interview" (8 minutes) is another interview with the directors which was done at the convention. Finally, we get trailers for Chillerama, I Was a Teenage Werebear, and Wadzilla.
Review Copyright 2011 by Mike Long