Directed by Adam Rifkin, Tim Sullivan, Adam Green & Joe Lynch
The long awaited feature anthology Chillerama has gained a healthy amount of good press, mostly due to the beloved Adam Green and Joe Lynch, who have consistently made entertaining horror films the past few years. Adam Rifkin is best known for Detroit Rock City, which is where he said he came up with the idea for his segment of this film, the insane Wadzilla. Before that begins though, we are treated to the wrap-around segments that tell the story linking the shorts via an old drive-in theater on its last night of existence, which by the end, becomes Lynch’s segment Zom-B-Movie.
First, Wadzilla. Supposed to be a jab at the monster movies from the 1950’s, it simply didn’t look cheap enough. The Chiodo Brothers did the amazing stop motion animation, but their work is the only thing that harkens back to that era. The digitally processed color saturation and film scratches look like they always do when film students first discover digital effects programs on their computers. The film itself is entertaining, if mainly for the set up and the wild story. As I said, the sloppy f/x are the star of this one for sure, as Rifkin’s awkward acting doesn’t add anything positive to the short. A mediocre short, a few of the laughs worked. 7.5
More wraparound, and then the next film starts, which is Tim Sullivan’s I Was a Teenage Werebear, where a young Malibu high school student is confused about a few things, mainly why the local tough is biting his ass. In Sullivan’s ode to corny beach movies, he has made an even cornier beach movie but thrown in cheap horror elements to try to fit the themes of the rest of the films. The digital cinematography for this segment is especially grating, it looks nearly untouched from in-camera, which is never a good thing. The acting is corny, and the singing is worse, but in the end, I suppose he makes his point. Those 50’s beach movies are corny, but this is even cornier. The worst segment in the film. 5.5
And this is where we transition to Adam Green’s The Diary of Anne Frankenstein, by far the most effective short of the entire film, but still very out of step with the film as a whole. The main reason this film works is Joel David Moore as Hitler, he plays the Elmer Fudd buffoonery to perfection. The film isn’t all that funny, or horrific for that matter, but it’s the most effective and seems to use its run time the best. Of course Green couldn’t resist throwing a few Hatchet-style kills into the segment, along with some pretty offensive jokes at the expense of anyone involved in any world war. For that, he is to be commended. 8.5
By this time, the zombie infection has spread to a decent amount of the drive-in, and we dive head first into Joe Lynch’s Zom-B-Movie, because when there’s no more room in hell, the dead will fuck the Earth. This film is littered with old geek movie references, but by this segment they’re being poured on left and right. I understand the joke is that every line is a line from another movie, but its one of those jokes that tends to kill itself after a few tries. Richard Riehle is great as theater owner Cecil, but most of the other wraparound actors slow the scenes down to a halt. Oddly enough, Lynch slows things down throughout, and then at the end explodes in senseless waves of zombie violence. Which is the point, I suppose, but it all feels unorganized and messy, which makes the whole thing messy. 8.0
My biggest complaint would be the 120 minute run time. This film could have been 90 minutes long and just as effective. Instead, flat jokes are left in, and the pacing feels disjointed in each short, resulting in an overall sense of disorder for the entire film. By the time the ending comes, you’ve known it for so long that you just kind of want it to be over already. Which is unfortunate, as I was looking forward to this film being one of the more fun films of the year. While I couldn’t make the roadshow screenings, and I’m sure it was better with a crowd, VOD (and now that it’s out Blu-Ray) viewings are recommended for parties, or when large quantities of beer have been consumed to make the funny go down a bit easier, even when sometimes it’s not.