Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chillerama (2011)

Chillerama is set at a local drive-in's last night standing and the owner is showcasing four rare films; "Wadzilla", "I Was A Teenage Werebear", "The Diary of Anne Frankenstein", and "Deathfication" (the last which we thankfully don't get to view as it was bordering The Human Centipede territory)."Wadzilla" is the 1950s attack of the killer bug/monster film, only this time it's Mile's killer sperm mutated to an ungodly size that's terrorizing the city. "I Was A Teenage Werebear", a throwback to a mess of films including but not limited too Rebel Without a Cause, Grease, The Lost Boys, The Wolfman, and Cursed which takes focus as Ricky struggles with his homosexuality and his transformation into a werebear, all with song of course. "The Diary of Anne Frankenstein" the 1970's exploitation flick where Hilter and Eva Braun use Anne Frankenstein's diary to create a monster. And the real fourth film "Zom-B-Movie" where the cinephile patrons of the drive-in become victim to an infection of horny zombies, in reference to the 1980's zombie films.

It's happened, Chillerama has made me officially realize there is such a thing as too self aware. The film that is a entire homage to the era of the bad but loveable drive-in double features films felt far to contrived at times, intentionally creating bad sets instead of naturally letting them happen. In addition, the humor tended to be strained in a sense where they were almost telling you to laugh at portions. Not all the stagey stuff was inefficacious though as the killer sperm was laughable bad as was the car accident in Werebear. I often wondered though if when I did laugh was it from the intentional throwback spur or was it rather from the sheer ridiculousness of it all? I don't condense it to a horror film at all as they don't try for any real scares so much as just parodying the sub genre, this is pure horror comedy.

Looking at each individual segment this is what I thought; "Wadzilla" I accredit for the technical merit in capturing the look and fell of the attack of the fifty foot bug films such as They or even Godzilla, but overall had a lack of interest, spare for a few humorous moments. "I Was A Teenage Werebear" likely failed the most, it didn't have a distinct decade, though I assume it was aimed for the 1960's and as a musical was a bit lack-luster. "The Diary of Anne Frankenstein" was assuredly my favorite as I love exploitation films and have been denied Zombie's Werewolf Woman of the SS for sometime now. This segment had me laughing from the broken Germbbrish (German-Gibberish) to the end fight between Hitler and his creation. If I was to watch Chillerama again it'd be for this segment alone. "Zom-B-Movie" had the most character development as the cinephile patrons were present between the films and was good for the most part. I laughed at the overtly sexual zombies but it got excessive towards the end, as I can only watch so many zombies humping each other within a ten minute span.

Though we get a clear sense of him in the script, a shy man who's having problems with women, Adam Riftkin didn't put a lot into the character of Miles in "Wadzilla" Not to suggest he was bad he was just there for the most part, which could be attributed to his also writing/directing the segment. Werebear stars adult film star Sean Paul Lockhart, who doesn't have a bad signing voice but is camp acting the entire twenty minutes. It also has Gabby West of Scream Queens Season Two fame (or rather lack thereof, sorry) and Lin Shaye, who was also in "Wadzilla". Shaye is quickly renouncing her general absence from the genre for the past thirty years or so and embracing her status as a horror icon, which I love. Joel David Moore and Kristina Klebe standout as Hitler and Braun in Frankenstein, Moore's Hitler is by far one of the funniest take offs of the Fuehrer and though it borders the level of taste he's able to firmly keep it place. And I must not forget to give a nod to Kane Hodder as Meshugannah (the monster), who's a delightful presence in his role. The cinephile patrons are acted out fairly well by the mostly younger cast; as I said you get a lot more time with them so they develop more smoothly. Richard Riehle undoubtedly shines though as the owner of the drive-in, wielding a collection of guns behind his Orson Wells poster.

My issue with Chillerama is it wasn't what I wanted it to be, which there for it is mostly my fault and for that I cannot hold it against the film. I was aspiring for an Austin Powers like satire, not a Scary Movie spoof fest. It's hard because I know the directors do have a love for these sorts of films, as do I, but they just didn't capture their spirit as much as I had hoped.  With Chillerama each segment stands on their own and has to be judged on their own. If better tampered with (especially Werebear) the segments could be full length films. As a whole I love the idea but the execution wasn't good and therefor I ultimately didn't like it. I'm the most disappointed with this verdict as I really wanted to like this, if not love it, but it did not happen. But if you've read any other reviews you'll know that the film has been receiving those from all sides. Therefore I can't really tell you whether or not it's good, you have to watch for yourself and decide. Likely a two out of five from me, sorry.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Another excellent review! Personally I really enjoyed this movie, though I must admit I'm not a fan of the really nasty gross-out factors. And "The Diary of Anne Frankenstein" was my favorite segment for sure, it's what made the movie. Deathfication turned me off of the film, but thankfully Zom-B-Movie saved it.