It's the closing night at the last drive-in theater in America, and Cecil Kaufman has planned to show four movies, which are so rare that they have never been exhibited publicly on American soil, until this very night.
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Joel David Moore,
It's the closing night at the last drive-in theater in America and Cecil B. Kaufman has planned the ultimate marathon of lost film prints to unleash upon his faithful cinephile patrons. Four films so rare that they have never been exhibited publicly on American soil until this very night! With titles like Wadzilla, I Was A Teenage Werebear, The Diary of Anne Frankenstein, and Zom-B-Movie, Chillerama not only celebrates the golden age of drive-in B horror shlock but also spans over four decades of cinema with something for every bad taste. Written by
When it comes to something such as "Chillerama", a combination tribute to and parody of its inspiration (in this case, the drive-in features of the 1950s and 1960s), it's more notable for its intentions than the end results. Certainly the assembled filmmakers (Adam Rifkin, Joe Lynch, Tim Sullivan, Adam Green) have their hearts in the right place. If nothing else, "Chillerama" is pretty likable. It just isn't always terribly funny (at least, not in this viewers' opinion). Sometimes it got unbelievably silly, and very lowbrow. There are some entertainingly bad (yet catchy) songs and some hilarious gore gags. Acting is negotiable from some cast members, endearing and very funny from others.
The wrap-up segment is also the fourth story ("Zom-B-Movie"), as entrepreneur Cecil Kaufman (Richard Riehle) hosts the final night for the last drive-in standing in America.
His first film is the goofy, trashy "Wadzilla", as a mutant sperm generated by the hapless Miles (played by Rifkin) terrorizes NYC. It grows to mammoth proportions, all as the result of Miles having been given an experimental medication.
Next is "I Was a Teenage Werebear". Imagine if Michael Landon in "I Was a Teenage Werewolf" were repressed in more than one way, and was fighting homosexual panic, and you kind of have this whole sequence.
Third is "The Diary of Anne Frankenstein" (a genius title, that), in which Hitler discovers Anne Frank(enstein) and her family and uses her fathers' diary for bringing the dead to life to his own ends. The resulting creation is Meshugannah (Kane Hodder), a Jewish monster who's actually rather cute.
Finally, "Zom-B-Movie" takes off in earnest, as a certain something that has found its way into the popcorn supply and turns most of the patrons into shambling zombies who are far more horny than hungry.
It is wonderful to see old pros like Ray Wise, Eric Roberts, and Lin Shaye in cameo roles. Joel David Moore, speaking mostly gibberish, is a total hoot in a hammy portrayal of Hitler. Other familiar faces include Kristina Klebe as a sexy Eva Braun and AJ Bowen. Veteran character actor Riehle is wonderful in one of his biggest roles to date.
The gore and visual effects (especially in "Wadzilla") is of the deliriously tacky variety. In general this anthology has the deliberately, aggressively wacky tone of the Troma filmography. It does end with a flourish. The persistent cribbing of famous lines from other movies (even non-genre movies) actually gets to a point where it *is* genuinely funny.
This viewer would have to say that "The Diary of Anne Frankenstein" was his favourite segment. Overall, "Chillerama" is uneven but entertaining enough to be worth a look.
Six out of 10.
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