Combustible Celluloid
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With: Richard Riehle, Corey Jones, Kaili Thorne, Brendan McCreary, Ward Roberts, Laura Ortiz, Adam Rifkin, Sarah Mutch, Owen Benjamin, Ray Wise, Eric Roberts, Miles Dougal, Lin Shaye, Sean Paul Lockhart, Anton Troy, Gabby West, Adam Robitel, Ron Jeremy, Tim Sullivan, Joel David Moore, Kristina Klebe, Kane Hodder, Summer Altice
Written by: Adam Rifkin, Tim Sullivan, Adam Green, Joe Lynch
Directed by: Adam Rifkin, Tim Sullivan, Adam Green, Joe Lynch
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 119
Date: 08/22/2011

Chillerama (2011)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Drive-In Shootings

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Chillerama features a gutter level of raunchy humor, of the type that 13 year-old boys might dream up on the playground. The rest is gloopy gore and movie references, and very little sex or nudity (that's the one area that is more teased than delivered). Yet I kept wondering why anyone hadn't made this movie before?

Four low-budget horror directors, Adam Green (Hatchet and Frozen), Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2: Dead End), Adam Rifkin (Detroit Rock City, Look), and Tim Sullivan (2001 Maniacs) gathered together to make an anthology film, not unlike Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's Grindhouse (2007). But this time the setting is a drive-in theater -- on the last night of its existence -- and there are no producers or distributors affecting the boundaries of taste (or art).

Richard Riehle plays Cecil Kaufman, who runs his drive-in theater with passion and glee. He introduces each movie over a loudspeaker, like a horror host of old. (He even talks to a poster of Orson Welles.) On this final night, before the drive-in is shut down for good, he is showing three very rare movies in an all-night marathon.

Among the customers, there are movie geeks Tobe (Corey Jones) and Mayna (Kaili Thorne), who are secretly in love with each other. Their big night will eventually be interrupted by zombies.

But in the meantime, the movies begin. First up is Rifkin's Wadzilla. Rifkin stars as Miles Munson, a nerdy, upright fellow with a low sperm count. His doctor (Ray Wise) gives him an experimental drug, which -- instead of increasing the number of Miles' sperm -- increases the size. Now when he ejaculates, he unleashes one giant sperm that keeps growing and threatens to take over the city. Eric Roberts and Lin Shaye also star, as well as the gorgeous Sarah Mutch.

Next is Sullivan's I Was a Teenage Werebear, which plays like a 1950s juvenile delinquent movie. Ricky (Sean Paul Lockhart) has conflicting feelings toward his girlfriend, which he begins to understand when he meets the mysterious and alluring Talon (Anton Troy). After a close encounter, Ricky turns into the title "werebear," clad in leather and fur. Shaye appears again, and Ron Jeremy has a quick cameo.

Third is Green's The Diary of Anne Frankenstein. It begins like the "Diary of Anne Frank," but Hitler himself finds Anne, dispatches her entire family and confiscates a book that teaches him how to build a (Jewish) monster (played by Kane Hodder). Joel Moore plays Hitler, spouting an unending flow of German-sounding gibberish (with subtitles). There are some pretty good jokes about Hitler's lack of manhood in this one (he has been haunted by his inability to finish a jigsaw puzzle of cute puppies). Kristina Klebe plays the sexy Eva Braun.

A fourth movie, Deathecation, ostensibly begins, which is very simply a montage of people and other creatures defecating, but mercifully it ends in response to the zombie attack on the drive-in.

There's hardly anything good to say about the movie itself. It's not funny or scary, nor -- despite great potential -- sexy. However, there's a pure juvenile spirit here, coming from a bunch of guys that grew up reading horror magazines and watching horror movies. They really love this stuff, and that love comes through clearly. Of course, there's no reason they couldn't have made a good movie if they so chose. But it's not so easy to write this one off, either.

Image Entertainment released the Blu-Ray, with tons of extras. The directors provide a commentary track (with video), and there are lots of little enthusiastic featurettes and interviews about the making of the movie. The box has a great cover, too.

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