I wasn’t born until 1977, so I missed out on the heyday of the drive-in. I just caught, and barely remember, its swan song. I have an aunt who worked part-time at our town’s drive-in (she also worked at our local cinema, the Capri, and would get us in for free– she was the coolest) and I can remember going with my grandfather to pick her up as her shift ended. I can remember standing in the bed of his pick-up truck, on the toolbox, and seeing snippets of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho II, and Six Pack (which I’m kind of glad I can scarcely recall that one without the aid of any pharmaceutical substance). Of course, drive-ins have made a somewhat comeback in the last few years, and we (my friends and family and I) go to one nearby and it’s all good fun and I highly recommend it. If we had seen Chillerama at our drive-in of preference, a movie that wishes to fondly recreate and give the viewer the experience of lovely B-movie trash from long ago, we probably would have skipped it.
Chillerama gets the look right, but misses out on everything else. It’s never funny, and it tries to be funny, Lord how it tries. And watching it try to strangle the laughs out of the material made me feel sorry for it. It’s like watching a comedian die a miserable death on stage.
There are four segments that comprise this anthology: “Wadzilla”, “I Was a Teenage Werebear”, “The Diary of Anne Frankenstein”, and the wrap-around story “Zom-B-Movie”. The characters of “Zom-B-Movie” are attending the last night of business for their local drive-in before it closes. The movies they watch are the ones listed above, but a zombie plague is breaking out among the patrons thanks to a drive-in employee who tried to get his groove on with his wife’s corpse. The corpse came alive, bit him on his daddy parts, and now he is spreading the zombie disease through some neon colored goo-goo juice. The result is that the zombies are really horny, and that this segment quickly descends into stupidity.
Speaking of stupidity, there is still “Wadzilla” and “I Was a Teenage Werebear” to cover. In “Wadzilla”, a man takes a pill to strength his sperm count, but all it does is strengthen the one bullet he has in his chamber. It’s not funny. ”I Was a Teenage Werebear” is about a teenager who tries to suppress his homosexual feelings. During a wrestling match in gym class, he gets bit on the butt. That bite turns him into a leather clad, S&M loving, werebear. This one is a musical. This one is also the worst of the lot.
“The Diary of Anne Frankenstein” is the best of the bunch. It is mildly amusing. Anne is the niece of Dr. Frankenstein, and in possession of his diary. Hitler steals the diary and learns how to create his own monster. That the monster is Jewish and has his own feelings about killing, and who he kills, ultimately goes against Hitler’s plan. The simple minded Hitler is kind of cliche’, but well played, as is the monster, named Meshugannah, and the lusty Eva Braun.
Chillerama should have been so bad it’s good, but too much effort was used to make it bad. Black Dynamite it is not. If you do decide to watch it, watch it with a group of friends MST3K style.
1 out of 5