Chillers

July 30, 2013 at 2:36 am (6 Heads, Chillers) (, , , , , )

Chillers – 1987 – United States

Chillers is an anthology horror film. This format was popularized by Trilogy of Terror (1975) and Creepshow (1982), although my favorite example is the strange and absurd The Willies (1990). The concept likely stems from EC Comics’ Tales from the Crypt comics, with which Chillers shares a certain ironic wit.

Five people relate their recent nightmares while stranded at a rural West Virginia bus depot. In these vignettes, a girl falls in love with a ghost, a woman falls in love with an anchorman who is actually a vampire, a boy scout troop leader goes insane, a man who can resurrect the dead accidentally raises an axe murderer, and a college professor summons an evil Aztec spirit.

The stories are juvenile, but their charming naiveté is at odds with their gruesomeness. A man is beheaded, another man’s still-pumping heart is plucked from his chest, and yet another man chews his own hand off to escape a bear trap. But Chillers is not without its reflective moments, confined mostly to its more fable-like tales. The two stories of supernatural love are poignant, and the story of the man who revives the dead ends on a metaphysical note. And occasionally the atmosphere is engrossing, especially the decrepit bus depot with its embroidered tapestry of Elvis.

Like all the lousy 80s flicks in Troma’s distribution catalog, Chillers is entertaining for mostly indefinable reasons. I am not the only one who thinks so. In a user review on IMDB.com, an enthusiastic fan claims he used to rent Chillers “every day from [his] local video store”. That so many of the user reviews are positive is an amazing accomplishment for a flick of this caliber. Maybe this is why it won the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films’ “prestigious” (and probably fictitious) Silver Scroll Award.

Rating: 6/10 Shrunken Heads. Notice the overbearing product placement for Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers, Gino’s Pizza, and Rax—home of delicious roast beef sandwiches, salads, baked potatoes, pasta, and Chinese-like food.

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