What I'm Watching: Chillerama
I am SO sorry I have been WAY too lazy with these posts lately. I've got a lot to catch up on, and for the time being, I'll be doing a bunch of these seperately, because a single post would just be too huge at this point. The good news for you, fellow Philes, is that this means a lot of content in the next month! The bad news is, they're movies that are long gone in some cases.
I was going to do this movie in its own post anyways, since it is two hours long, which isn't so special, but it is also four seperate stories in an anthology format, and each one really does deserve to be talked about.
First up though, overall, I really, trult LOVED Chillerama. This movie is done in exactly the same spirit as this very site. The anthology is a send up, and yet lovingly embraces, all the tropes of cheesy horror movies from the 60s-80s. This was one of the single most enjoyable experiences in this genre in a long time. Some of my friends will tell you I wouldn't shut up about this thing.
But it is not without problems. Let's dive into each of the four segments, starting with Wadzilla.
After the movie starts off with a great wrapping story set in a drive in set to be closed down and paved over, they start playing Wadzilla, a hilariously disgusting sendup of 1950s radioactive monster movies. Starring a sentient sperm going crazy.
My biggest problem here is the sheer disgustingness. Now, I have no problem with disgusting content. I *have* watched Human Centipede, after all. But the copious use of fake sperm and semen did get to me after awhile. But aside from that, the short is decent. The humour is good, the style is spot on, and I especially love the extra work they did to add grain and make the colour wrong, like an old, poorly made movie. They even did terribly horrible garbage mattes around people for cheap rotoscoping. A spot on homage to the style and storytelling of this sort of movie. Just a bit on the icky side.
Next up after a return to the drive in, is I Was a Teenage Werebear. You can guess what this is sending up. But it also takes from that same era, musicals. Yes, a musical horror story. Which isn't unheard of, but can be tough to pull off, and in all honesty, I don't think this one quite managed to do it either. The story was okay, but the music got in the way. However, I loved the music! The songs were catchy, I *still* find myself humming them, it's just the two didn't quite mesh together for a solid whole. Good, but not a home run.
Third on the all-night marathon was, quite frankly, the best of the four; The Diary of Anne Frankenstein. OH my gods. Such a brilliantly simple pun idea, and it even works to say that the Frankenstein family changed their name to Frank. But the setup is incidental to the utter insanity here. The story is done all in *ahem* German. Except for Hitler. He kinda speaks German, and it starts out that you THINK he's speaking real German, but as things go on and on, and things get increasingly insane, you realise the actor is just making shit up. Most notably once his commands become Star Wars characters. Definitely not German. This seems like it might be an insanely offensive idea, and there are some cringey moments, but it is just SO over the top, so crazy, and mocks Hitler so much, that it somehow sidesteps all the potential controversy. Brilliant.
Before the final story, it is worth noting that they tried to do a fake out with a fourth movie done in one of those arty horror films, with just piles of shit being flung around, and it made me cringe almost more than Wadzilla. I'm glad it wasn't the actual fourth movie.
Instead, we return to the wrapping story at the drive-in, and it becomes a full on homage to zombie movies, appropriately called Zom-B-Movie. The whole wrapper was a great, loving nod to the old drive in culture, which is sadly almost disappeared now. There is some great nods to Orson Welles and how movies have changed from being just popcorn entertainment to be shamelessly enjoyed, to money making machines, and an awesome scene with the owner of the drive in hitting rock bottom and almost comitting suicide, but then manning up, and arming up, to take down the zombie horde. He spouts SO many classic lines from horror and other genre flicks, that you will surely miss some. I was practically on my feet cheering. And much like Wadzilla's style, while this section of the anthology was mostly filmed to look 'real', once someone in the movie realised that they were living a movie, there was a jump in the frames, and the film became grainier, and more theatrical, less real. So very meta, much like the entire Zom-B-Movie segment, which I loved and appreciated. It was a great way to tie the anthology together, and wrap things up, making it more than just those interstitial segments.
So overall, Chillerama gets a HUGE recommendation from me. This was pure enjoyment, and anyone who is a fan of the movies on this site, should watch it. It made me so nostalgic for those sorts of movies, and the drive in, which was always an experience I did not get to partake in enough. There's a few bits that don't quite work, but in a two hour movie, a few minutes of stumbling is not bad at all.
I eagerly await and hope there's a sequel someday.