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Chillerama (2011)

-Review by Nic Brown-

Anthology films have been a staple of the horror industry for years. In the sixties and seventies, Amicus Studios in the UK regularly released collections of short stories bound together into a feature, usually with the presence of a staple actor like Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee. CREEPSHOW and its sequel showed that American studios could also capitalize on the anthology idea, and many famous directors including George Romero and John Carpenter have tried their luck, with mixed success. So I wasn’t sure what to expect when I had the chance to check out new anthology feature: CHILLERAMA.


CHILLERAMA is a horror/comedy with more emphasis on the comedy. It presents three short stories in the form of features being played at the Kaufman Drive-in on its last night before it is bulldozed by real estate developers. Cecil B. Kaufman (Richard Riehle) is the owner operator and it looks like he is planning to punch his own ticket when he closes the theater. However, he wants the last night to be memorable, and so he digs up some of the most outrageous horror films he can find: WADZILLA, I WAS A TEENAGE WEREBEAR and THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANKENSTIEN.


The first short, WADZILLA, was written and directed by Adam Rifkin. Rifkin also stars as Miles Munson, a mild-mannered young man with a problem: a ridiculously low sperm count. Doctor Weems (Ray Wise) has the answer and uses a experimental medicine on him. It doesn’t make him produce more sperm but what he does make will be bigger and more powerful. Unfortunately, as one might guess, this leads to a mutant sperm that escapes from Mile’s loins and begins growing out of control. Soon the army is called in, but even General Bukkake (Eric Roberts) is helpless before the giant killer sperm.


The second feature, I WAS A TEENAGE WEREBEAR, was written and directed by Tim Sullivan. A parody of the “Teenage monster” movies of the fifties, it is also an homage to REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. Ricky (Sean Paul Lockhart) is trying to make out with his sweetheart Peggy Lou (Gabriel West) but he doesn’t seem to be ‘into it’. When he meets tough outsider Talon (Anton Troy), he begins to realize that his feelings for Peggy Lou may not be so true and it may be Talon who floats his boat. During the course of a random beach-wrestling match, Talon bites Ricky on the butt and curses him to become a werebear. When aroused, he becomes a leather-clad furry monster bent on satisfying Ricky’s true desires. Talon and his gang plan to use the ‘big dance’ as their chance to take vengeance on the high school crowd for their lack of understanding. Now Ricky, armed with a silver dildo, must try and stop Talon, while coming to grips with his own feelings.


The last feature, THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANKENSTEIN, written and directed by Adam Green, asks the question: what if Anne Frank’s family name was really Frankenstein and their journal showing the secrets of the legendary Dr. Victor Von Frankenstein fell into the hands of Adolf Hitler (Joel David Moore) and his sadistic mistress Eva Braun (Kristina Klebe)? Hitler takes the journal and uses it to make the first in a planned army of undead supermen. He names his creation Meshugannah (Kane Hodder) and plans to unleash the beast on the Allied forces opposing him. The Hasidic Jew monster escapes Hitler’s control and may lead to the end of the Third Reich.


Wrapping around these three featurettes is the story of the drive-in’s last night and the zombie horror that is slowly working its way through the crowd of moviegoers. This portion of the story is called ZOM-B-MOVIE and was written and directed by Joe Lynch. This segment has the most actual horror of all of the ‘movies’ shown in the drive-in, but still the film mostly goes for laughs and shocks rather than true scares.


Overall, CHILLERAMA is a fun film that pays homage to a lot of different “B-Movie” classics. While the film does go too far sometimes with its over-the-top gore and campy humor, the filmmakers’ hearts are clearly in the right place and their love for the genre comes through. Also, each of the features represents a different age of horror, the fifties, sixties, the Universal Horror era and today, and it is particularly fun to see taboo subject matter like homosexuality and orgasms being played for laughs as part of the stories. So if you are a fan of B-Movies and don’t mind a little excess toilet humor, check out CHLLERAMA, but if I were you, I’d skip the buttered popcorn at this drive-in!

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