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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Chillerama

November 28th, 2011

Chillerama - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Chillerama is a spoof on horror anthology movies with four stories, each of which pokes fun at a specific sub-genre of horror films, specifically those seen in drive-ins many, many years ago.

The Movie

In fact, the film's wrap-around story involves Richard Riehle playing Cecil B. Kaufman, an owner of a drive-in theater that is about to be torn down. He's been bought out and it's the last night, so he's showing four of the rarest movies around. These start with...

  1. Wadzilla
    Miles Munson has a fertility problem. Not only does he have a low sperm count, he's got sluggish sperm as well. His doctor suggests you start taking Spermupermine. It works, sort of, kind of, maybe. Like the doctor said, it doesn't increase his sperm count, but it makes the sperm he does produce much stronger. In his case, sperm is singular. And not only is it stronger, it is much, much bigger.
  2. I Was a Teenage Werebear
    Sean Paul Lockhart stars as Ricky your typical 1960s high school guy. He's just moved to a new town and while he instantly finds a girlfriend, he has a secret. He's a closeted gay man living in an intolerant time. He meets more openly gay man, Talon, but he also as a secret. He's a Werebear! And after Talon bites Ricky, Ricky turns into a Werebear as well.
  3. The Diary of Anne Frankenstein
    Joel David Moore stars as Adolf Hilter. The film begins with Adolf breaking into the secret hiding place of Anne Frank and her family and stealing the diary of one of their ancestors, Dr. Frankenstein. (His work was so evil the family changed their name.) With the diary, Adolf Hilter plans to recreate the experiments of Dr. Frankenstein and create an unstoppable killing machine. The result isn't exactly what Hilter had in mind.
  4. Zom B Movie
    After a brief introduction to a movie called Deathication, we switch to the wrap-around story, which has become a zombie story and almost all of the patrons of Cecil's drive-in are ravenous zombies. Some of his most loyal customers, Tobe, Mayna, Ryan, as well as his concessions stand lady, Desi, have to fight their way out.
Like most horror anthology movies, Chillerama is a bit hit and miss. However, I think by the end it was reaching its potential. Wadzilla was a little too juvenile in my opinion, which is saying a lot, but there are still quite a few funny moments in the film. I Was a Teenage Werebear is based on a genre, Back to the Beach type films, that I'm not a big fan of. I also thought the jokes were a little too repetitive. On the other hand, The Diary of Anne Frankenstein was very funny. I especially loved Joel David Moore's fake German gibberish. Because we were looking in on the characters from Zom B Movie throughout the movie, by the time it takes center stage in the end, it mostly just jumps into the action, and there's a lot of that. We've also visited these characters enough that the movie has more emotional impact than the other parts. This part of the film has the best technical look, as it is the only part not supposed to be an old film being shown from a bad print.

The Extras

I don't have the DVD, so I don't know what extras are exclusive, but there are a ton of extras here, especially when compared to most low-budget films that only earned token theatrical releases. Things start with a Picture-in-Picture video commentary track with the four writer / directors, which I assume is just an audio commentary track on the DVD. You will find deleted scenes for Wadzilla. A making of featurette and deleted scenes for I Was a Teenage Werebear. A making of featurette for The Diary of Anne Frankenstein. And deleted scenes from Zom B Movie. Famous Monsters is a six-minute interview with the writer / directors from this year's Comic-Con. There is another interview with the group, this time running eight minutes. There's well over an hour of deleted scenes / featurettes, which is more than I was expecting.

As for the technical presentations, it's hard to describe. Much of the movie looks like crap, but that's because much of the movie is supposed to look like an old film print. Only Zom B Movie is supposed to look really good and it does, for the most part. It is still a low budget movie, so it's not reference material, but the details are strong, as are the colors. There are no compression artifacts, etc. The audio is solid throughout with good use of surround sound speakers.

The DVD costs just $12, while the Blu-ray is a bargain at $16.

The Verdict

Chillerama is not for everyone, nor will most people like all four segments equally. I think enough works that it is worth checking out, while there are enough extras on the DVD and the Blu-ray that it is worth owning. However, I suggest starting with a rental first.

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Filed under: Video Review, Chillerama