I haven’t yet seen all the extras that come on this disc, so I’m sure that there’s a whole backstory on how this project started. Near as I can tell, though, four guys got together somewhere and somehow and started talking about putting this film together. It was obvious from the get-go that the directors shared a love of bizarre horror films and off-centered silliness as well.
The concept of CHILLERAMA is that four short “lost” films are being shown at a drive-in theater. The great Richard Riehle plays “Uncle” Cecil Kaufman, the drive-in’s proprietor. Due to progress and such, this is the last night the theater will be in business – it will be razed the following day. So Uncle Cecil wants to go out with a bang, and he probably succeeds on several levels.
CHILLERAMA starts out with some drunk digging up his dead wife’s grave. Apparently, he wants to experience the oral sex she never gave him while she was still breathing. It doesn’t seem to bother him that she’s rotted and gnarly when he begins the insertion. As it turns out, she opens her eyes and bites down, effectively castrating him. Viola! Now you know he’s going to become a zombie, too.
Wifey stays in the ground and hubby stumbles off, leaking blue liquid. He makes it to the drive-in, where it turns out that he’s the projectionist. Uncle Cecil introduces each film segment to the “boils and ghouls” in their cars in much the same fun way that the late, great Forrest J. Ackerman did in his Warren Publications and such. CHILLERAMA is as much a tribute to Uncle Forry as it is to the era of the drive-in theater.
In between these short films, there are segments at the drive-in which show the progression of how the zombie plague spreads out via the concession stand and affects almost everyone. I’m going to leave it at that so that no surprises are ruined here.
The four short movies within the movie (not listed in the order they appear on the DVD) are as follows:
THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANKENSTEIN – Absolutely, mind-blowingly funny! But, then, what else would you expect from a film with a title such as this? Joel David Moore, a recognizable character actor nowadays, plays Hitler here. The whole segment is done in German with English subtitles, although it is obvious that Mr. Moore is speaking “pigeon” German which adds to the hilarity of the whole thing. Kane Hodder, whose name horror fans will recognize as “Jason” from the “Friday The 13th” movies, plays the Frankenstein Monster.
Filmed in Black & White, the story starts in the attic where the Frank family is hiding out. Anne’s father reveals that the diary is actually that of Dr. Frankenstein from whom they are descended. The Franks are then found by Hitler and two of his goons. Der Fuehrer takes the Frankenstein Diary and remarks to his aides that they should write their own version of Anne’s diary, to include “depressing stuff” and it would probably sell millions of copies after the war. Note: there’s something utterly hysterical about watching Hitler do a “pinky swear”.
Lots of sight gags in THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANKENSTEIN, to include Hitler’s use of a dreidel and a menorrah. Also, he names the creature “Meshugenah”. This is fitting because Meshugenah has orthodox curls in his hair – and also dances to “Hava Nagila”.
To add to the overall, purposeful dorkiness of Mr. Moore’s portrayal, they have Hitler wearing white socks with his dictator uniform.
Written and directed by Adam Green.
WADZILLA – What can I really say about a movie that features and giant, carnivorous sperm cell? It’s one of those things that if you are not chemically altered (which I don’t do myself and do NOT recommend for others) at the time you see it, you will certainly feel as if you have been by the time it’s over.
A young man (Adam Rifkin, who also directs here) is given a new, untested medicine called “Spermopromine”, which will make the single sperm he produces (vs. the many that other men manufacture) stronger and more fertile. The problem is (and there always IS one, isn’t there?) that the medication works TOO well and the sperm increases exponentially in size (after it has been “released”, if you get my meaning). It begins attacking and eating people. Kudos to the wonderful Lin Shaye who plays one of two homeless (or should I say “disenfranchised”?) people who get munched on by the sperm.
The movie takes an even MORE surreal turn, when it is decided to use the Statue of Liberty as a seductive device to attract the sperm. According to the sperm’s point of view, the Statue is a bit of a tease and strips down to reveal pasties and affects some sexy poses for it to er, um, “come” and get. Kelly Divine plays the rather limber Statue in scenes when Lady Liberty has to do her dance.
To top it all off, a humongous condom is dropped over the Statue at one point. Maybe it was one that the late John Holmes never got to use.
I WAS A TEENAGE WERE-BEAR – An obvious nod of the head to the American-International Film Studios of olde. Lin Shaye is in this one, too, playing a Maria Ouspenskaya-type gypsy woman, complete with a lady mustache.
I’ve gotta say here that Lin is always wonderful no matter what I see her in. You know that she’s got to have a fearless sense of humor to allow herself to be made up to appear hideous. She is, in fact, quite attractive in real life and absolutely one of the nicest people in the film business. I’m happy to say that she and I are Facebook friends. She’s very active on her page and is gracious to one and all.
Lin achieved film immortality by playing Woody Harrelson’s demanding landlord in KINGPIN (again in monstrous makeup) and has worked continuously since then. Her resume is quite impressive, to include a dramatic role in INSIDIOUS.
Anyway, I WAS A TEENAGE WERE-BEAR is director Tim Sullivan’s contribution to CHILLERAMA. It’s a paean to those bad Whit Bissell films of the 1950’s and to those musical beach movies of the 1960s. Frankie and Annette were never like THIS, though!
During a wrestling match, our young leading man is bitten on his posterior by someone who is a were-bear. This, in turn, curses him to be a “lycan-grizzly” of some sort.
Three of the four were-bears in the movie are looking for meals amongst the beach combers. The lone holdout is our hero who wants to just be “accepted” for who and what he is. Will he? Won’t he? Not going to spoil it here for you.
Tim Sullivan (also a Facebook Friend) has a cameo as the creepy Wrestling Coach. He also pops up as a gravedigger in THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANKENSTEIN and in the end of the main movie as one of the audience members watching CHILLERAMA in a theater. He indicates that there were “not enough tits” for his liking, which is inheritently hilarious because Tim can get the prettiest young things to go nude for him in other films (2001 MANIACS, for example). I’m not really envious, though, because I have my own little beauty who has undressed for me countless times for the past 27+ years.
DEATHICATION – I was almost left speechless when I saw this one. There’s no easy or delicate way to say this, but it concerns taking killer “dumps”. Yup, fart noises and brown, projectile sprays abound in this one. This “anti-masterpiece” is so short, in fact, that it’s kind of like a trailer. It’s interrupted by the zombie apocalypse playing out on the grounds of the drive-in.
CHILLERAMA really IS a love letter to the days of oddball cinema. It doesn’t need a sequel, but I do hope that we will see more movies like this to come. It’s a howlingly great time and I unhesitatingly recommend it for those you are prone to enjoy things that are off the beaten track. You can thank me later.