Basking in the drive-in glory days of B-movie madness, "Chillerama" is set to jolt today's audiences with an outrageous exploration of exploitation fun and chills.
"Chillerama" is a four-part anthology replicating the low-budget thrills of black and white Universal monster films, the atomic nightmares of '50s sci-fi, Roger Corman flicks of the '60s with a nod to "Beach Blanket Bingo," and '80s zombie mayhem. The film's segments are written and directed by Adam Rifkin ("Detroit Rock City"), Tim Sullivan ("2001 Maniacs"), Adam Green ("Frozen," "Hatchet") and Joe Lynch ("Wrong Turn 2: Dead End," "Knights of Badassdom").
"One thing that we all wanted to do going into 'Chillerama' was to make the most outrageous movie we could," Rifkin said in an interview with Rabid Doll that included Sullivan and Green. "We wanted to make a movie that absolutely blew people's brains out of their heads. … We like to think that we've made this pretty wild, pretty extreme. Hopefully everybody will agree. We thought it would be fun to just do something completely insane."
"And outside the studio system," Sullivan added. "That was the key. We wanted to make something that was our movie. And what was cool is there was a very healthy competition because we all kind of went off and did our own little movie … and we wanted to bring it back and press the other guys."
Their efforts have created an anthology that relishes unflinching shocks.
"There is no way this movie could be anything but unrated.," Rifkin said.
Lynch's segment, titled "Zom B Movie," is a bridge that binds the anthology together. It centers on a drive-in's final night as three rare movies are screened that include Rifkin's "Wadzilla," a tale of a mutated sperm rampaging through New York; Sullivan's "I was a Teenage Werebear," a musical about sexual awakening; and Green's "The Diary Of Anne Frankenstein," a story about Adolf Hitler's attempt to create the ultimate undead killer.
"The movie is designed to feel like a drive-in movie, like B-movies you would go see back then," Green explained. "So they are ridiculous and they are funny.
"What's amazing to me and different about this film is that it's a giant love letter to five decades of cinema. … It's probably my favorite thing I've ever made at this point."
Part of the “Chillerama” appeal for the filmmakers was simulating those B-movie traditions.
"We have embraced our limitations in the spirit of how the original movies … were," Rifkin said. "Those moves had no budget, just like this movie.
"And so rather than fight that, we wanted to embrace the fact that we were making this movie very inexpensively, and any creative choice, any restriction that we had, we turned into a creative choice."
And cinematographer Will Barratt (“Frozen”) played a crucial role to bringing that vision to the screen, according to Rifkin. Barratt crafted each segment to reflect the eras of the directors’ tales.
“We really want to tip our hat to Will, because he really brought so much to this project,” Sullivan said. “I think sometimes the cinematographer contribution is overlooked."
"Chillerama" is expected to appear in exclusive engagements around the country, including drive-ins, this fall. A DVD and On Demand release will follow.
All in all, Sullivan is ultimately seeking to launch a monster film rollercoaster with "Chillerama."
“We thought 'Let's bring the fun back,'” he said. “But more importantly, 'Let's bring the event back.' So often movies come and go, and they are forgotten after the opening weekend. And we thought 'Let's remind people what it was like to actually go to movie, go to a drive-in.'"
The film stars Rifkin, Richard Riehle, Ray Wise, Joel David Moore, Eric Roberts, Kane Hodder, Gabby West, Lin Shaye, Brent Corrigan, Kristina Klebe.
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