"The Ultimate Midnight Movie." That tagline is correct. This is the ultimate Midnight movie for you and your friends to drink, eat, and watch some of the schlockiest of schlock over a weekend. You will NOT be disappointed. With four short films by well respected and twisted horror filmmakers, you will get everything you wanted in a B-Movie fest. With titles of 'Wadzilla,' 'I Was A Teenage Werebear,' 'The Diary of Anne Frankenstein,' and 'Zom-B-Movie,' you can expect your mind, body, and soul to scream with maniacal laughter at all that is 'Chillerama.'
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.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
The film takes place on the closing night of America’s last drive in theater. So, one man by the name of Cecil B. Kaufman wants it to go out with a bang by showing a B movie marathon. The films that he has chosen are so rar, that they have never been seen before by the public eye and are guaranteed to twist every nerve in your body. What could possibly go wrong? Each of the four films is set in a different time period, which is very cool.
The first one up is 'Wadzilla' by director Adam Rifkin. Rifkin directed 'Detroit Rock City.' Can you guess what the Wad in Wadzilla is? You guessed correctly. It is sperm. 'Wadzilla' (which is an homage to 1950s horror) follows a guy named Miles who starts taking a particular drug that increases his sperm count and causes him to be super fertile. This proves to be a wrong decision, as the drugs cause his sperm to grow into a giant evil sperm. The results are electrifying.
The second short is directed by Tim Sullivan ('2001 Maniacs') and is called 'I Was A Teenage Werebear.' This is more of a 1960s beach homage film and is hilariously funny. The short follows a guy named Ricky who is coming to terms with his homosexuality. He falls in love with a hunk named Talon. Talon bites Ricky on the ass, thus turning Ricky into a werebear. But not a bear like a werewolf, but a bear. A large, hairy man who dresses in leather. That kind of bear. Interesting turn of events, I know.
The next film was 'The Diary of Anne Frankenstein' by Adam Green ('Hatchet', 'Frozen'). By the title alone, this should be required viewing in every household. The title says it all really. A family is hiding a girl by the name of Anne and she realizes her last name is Frankenstein and that her relative has left her a diary explaining and detailing how to create life. Well guess who shows up? Hitler. Yes, Hitler steals Anne's book to do some evil in creating "life." This is uproarious and all sorts of wrong. This short is shot in black and white.
Now, we have arrived at the last short which is 'Zom-B-Movie.' This takes us back to the drive in theater, where there has been a background story of sorts between all the films. It has all cultivated to this last short film which is directed by Joe Lynch ('Wrong Turn 2'). So over the course of the film, the drive in theater audience has been turning into zombies who are feeding on other audience members and turning them into zombies. In the end, it is zombie decadence and debauchery. Enough to go around for everyone. But hold on to your butts... literally. For there is a surprise little short at the end called 'Deathication.' I do not want to spoil this, but just don’t be eating chocolate while viewing.
This is a great and unique video presentation. It's presented in 1.78:1 in glorious 1080p/AVC MPEG-4. But since the films are made to look like they're from either the 50s, 60s, grindhouse, or black and white eras, there are tons of post production FX to make the film grainy and like it has been lost on a shelf for many years for the most part. But that's part of the film’s charm.
There are tons of green screen shots in this film and everything was done digitally in post production. I did not notice any artifacts throughout the film. Colors seem a bit muted in low light conditions in some of the scenes, but the detail of the image never goes away. Even in some of the campier sections of the film, the image is great with the black levels deep and inky.
Even in the B/W segment, the crispness of the picture truly shows how far technology has come to recreate those old dense shadows in B/W films, without having a flat image. In the 'I Was A Teenage Werebear' sequence, there is virtually no grain, and all colors shine bright. The flesh tones came across as real and natural. Nothing seemed over done. And with the detail being as good as it is, you can make out the flaws on the actors' faces and limbs.
With all the different styles, the use of colors and depth are presented differently. The detail and colors come across vibrant, which is great considering all the different styles. Yes, there are flaws, aliasing, and dirt, but it seemed to be all part of the experience and added in intentionally for that old grind-house effect. You can tell a lot of love went into creating the technical portions of this movie anthology.
There is a nice lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix on 'Chillerama.' The sound editing is different on each segment. For the segment 'Zom-B-Movie', the entire surround sound speakers utilized the sound in the film. The rear speakers got a heavy workout with this segment, especially with all of the zombie attacks and that great P.A. system. The audio balance here was the best out of the whole film. The dialogue, sound effects, and score seemed to match evenly. The dialogue is nicely centered on the front channels and the ambient screams and bumps in the night cover the entire sound system. Even all the man-made crackles and fuzz had a nice touch too. The zombie growls, the screams, and the all out gore sounds good across all the speakers. It really puts you in the center of all the action.
For all of the other segments, most of the sound is front speaker heavy. This was a choice made on purpose by the filmmakers, as these films were supposed to represent low-budget, old horror films. There wasn't much use of the full surround sound with the other segments, so even though it says 5.1, it is a stereo quality sound you get. What's great about this audio presentation, is that each segment is different and pays homage to the time. For example, in the musical segment 'I Was A Teenage Werebear', some of the lip synching goes completely out of synch, which we learn the filmmaker left in the film as a joke for fans of the genre. The audio seemed to flow smoothly. They did a great job on the audio portion which takes you back to the times of grind-house cinema. It was a true delight.
- "Audio Commentary" -All four directors do a picture in picture commentary where they talk about the film and how they made them with some hilariously funny behind the scenes stories. This is a commentary you will want to listen to more than once. You'll learn how much love each of these directors has for the genre.
- The Making of Diary of Ann Frankenstein (SD, 27 mins) - A great feature on the making of the Anne Frankenstein short. It's very informative and a lot of fun. It's amazing how everyone involved was so excited about making this, plus all the German stuff is really interesting.
This is a fun as hell movie intended to be watched with friends after midnight on a weekend while drinking. Heavily. It will definitely be added to my list of Halloween films. This is only for those die hard B movie lovers out there. The audio and video are unique and well done, while the extras are mostly impressive. I definitely recommend this Blu-ray to anyone who loves horror and B movies. You'll love it. Recommended.
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