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Case Number 24298: Small Claims Court

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Chillers

Troma // 1987 // 92 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // August 10th, 2012

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All Rise...

This flick left Judge Paul Pritchard cold.

The Charge

Evil Travels In Many Forms—Even By Bus!

The Case

Ever licked peanut butter from a chihuahua's butt? How about daubing your genitalia in honey whilst standing outside a beehive? Neither option sounds too appealing, I'd wager? Yet I'd gladly choose either over watching 1987 horror anthology Chillers again.

Adopting a portmanteau approach to storytelling, Chillers follows five strangers waiting for a bus who tell each other about the nightmares that have been plaguing them. In the first, a young woman taking swimming lessons learns the shocking truth about her swimming instructor. In the second, a young boy on a camping trip encounters a madman. The next story sees a lonely woman with a fixation on a TV presenter plunged into the world of vampirism. The penultimate story sees a young man discovering he has the ability to bring the dead back to life, while the final story follows a skeptical professor forced to battle an ancient evil that has possessed one of his students.

Rather than cramming five stories into his film, writer-director Daniel Boyd would have been better served had he taken the time to really flesh out two or three of his ideas. As things stand, each segment only offers the most basic outline of a story, with each being as unsatisfying as they are lacking in imagination. I've seen 1970s porn with a better quality of acting and more engrossing plots—not to mention far scarier sights.

I'd forgive Chillers many of its faults had it just delivered one or two decent scares, or even a few genuine laughs. Sadly, as poorly conceived as these stories are the lack of thought put into the actual horror element of each is inexcusable. The second story, which centers on a young boyâs camping trip, is a perfect example of the film's total inability to provoke any kind of reaction from the viewer. Rather than build any sense of threat, the story quickly devolves into a few scenes of gore that seem designed purely to cover the gaping holes in the plot. The penultimate story, about a young man who discovers he has the ability to bring the dead back to life, only to bring a serial killer back, is so dumb, and lacking in any kind of logic, that it becomes completely insufferable—despite lasting no more than 20 minutes.

Any praise I have for this title is reserved solely for the DVD artwork, which is taken directly from the original VHS release. Like all good (or should that be bad?) horror movies, it entices you in with a simple yet effective image of a demonic figure flanked by similarly ghoulish apparitions aboard a bus apparently destined for Hell.

The standard definition 1.33:1 full frame transfer is pretty ropey, but taking into account the film was shot on video, it probably looks as good as is possible. The picture is soft, and lacks fine detail. Colors appear unnatural, and black levels leave much to be desired. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo track suffers due to unclear dialogue that frequently gets lost in the mix whenever the score kicks in.

Extras for this release are few and lacking in quality.

• "Trailers"—Trailers for other Troma releases, The Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke 'Em High, and Father's Day—kick off the extras.

• "Chaw-Zer?"—The point of this extra was completely lost on me, as a rather busty young lady proceeded to fluff her lines before taking her clothes off and fondling herself.

• "Lloyd Kaufman on Net Neutrality"—The Troma legend airs his views on the issue of net neutrality.

• "Radiation March"—The extra that refuses to die.

There are bad movies, and then there is Chillers. Avoid like the plague.

The Verdict

Guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 20

Perp Profile

Studio: Troma
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 1987
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Bad
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Featurettes
• Trailer

Accomplices

• IMDb








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