Sometimes, movies are so bad that they are good. Mystery Science Theater 3000, Riff Trax, and Cinematic Titanic celebrate movies with small budgets, no talent, and delusions of grandeur. In recent years, movies have tried to recreate the so-bad-it's-good genre on a bigger budget. These are movies that want to be good by being so bad that they come back around to being good. Prime examples are Hobo with a Shot Gun and Machete. Other movies try to be good by being so awful that the film becomes a cult classic, but they overshoot it. Chillerama is a bad movie trying to be a good movie by being cheesy, over-the-top violent, and self-aware in its humor. Unfortunately, Chillerama missed the mark completely and is, quite simply, a bad movie, period.
Chillerama follows the employees and regulars at a drive-in movie theater on the night before the theater closes forever. The theater's owner Cecil B. Kaufman (Richard Riehle) wants to go out on a bang with a stack of movies so raunchy and distasteful that they have never been screened in the United States, and he has a gun in his drawer for after the night is over so he can shoot himself. Unbeknownst to him, his projectionist got his penis bit off by his zombified wife earlier that night, and he is spreading zombie venom through a contaminated vat of popcorn butter topping. As the night of bad movies goes on, the theater's patrons are slowly turned into zombies.
Now, I have sat through a lot of terrible movies, but I could always say that I made it through to the final credits. Chillerama broke my perfect record. I got through most of the film including 3 out of the 4 movies within the movie. I stomached the utter stupidity of Wadzilla, a movie about a man who ejaculates increasingly bigger sperm culminating in one that tries to impregnate the Statue of Liberty. I was initially sucked in by the promise of I Was a Teenage Werebear but disappointed when it once again devolved into gay jokes and unfunny gore. Deathfication finally broke my will as the movie was nothing but people taking a crap. At that point, I felt like the filmmakers wanted to piss me off and didn't really want me to watch their movie, so I decided not to.
There is one small saving grace in Chillerama. In between I Was a Teenage Werebear and Deathfication is a hilarious little movie called The Diary of Anne Frankenstein. By itself as a short film, I would recommend it to anyone with a high-tolerance for dark humor. It felt like something that a young Mel Brooks would make as a student film. The best running gag is their made-up mish-mash version of “German” with English subtitles. I don't speak German, but I'm pretty sure that “Viva La Fuhrer!” does not translate to “Team Nazi!” If Chillerama is ever available on Netflix Instant Play, then I recommend skipping ahead to The Diary of Anne Frankenstein and skipping the rest of this humorless and uncomfortably gory piece of trash.
Special features include deleted scenes, the theatrical trailer, the trailer for I Was a Teenage Werebear, the directors' video commentary, directors' interviews, and behind-the-scenes featurettes on I Was a Teenage Werebear and The Diary of Anne Frankenstein.
"Chillerama" is on sale November 29, 2011 and is not rated. Comedy, Horror, Indie, Sci-Fi. Directed by Adam Green, Joe Lynch, Adam Rifkin, Tim Sullivan. Written by Adam Green, Joe Lynch, Adam Rifkin, Tim Sullivan. Starring Richard Riehle.