I decree April to be Anthology Month!!! Over the next four weeks, I'm going to post about the three unwatched anthologies I have on my VHS shelf (with the last TBD) starting with Daniel Boyd's Chillers.
Five travellers stranded at a bus station pass the time by relating the nightmares they all had the night before.
Chillers was another film I could sworn I watched back in the day, but remembered none of, except the ending. To be honest though, I could've just as easily guessed it five minutes in.
So off the top, Chillers is not great. It looked pretty cheap - Imdb says it was filmed on 16mm, but it often seemed shot-on-video - and the acting was stiff at times. Having said that, it is not without its charms. Boyd was clearly using the resources at his disposal – West Virginia State University and surrounding areas – I just think his ambition may have caused him to overreach. Though he maybe the only horror filmmaker to ever reference Cocoon, so there's that I suppose.
I give props to Boyd for being able to write five distinct stories for this movie – I've read that he subsequently published a graphic novel in the same vein – even if they were a bit thin. I mean, despite having a quintet of stories, a wraparound and a looooooot of padding (hope ya like drawn out credit sequences, shots of people swimming, and goth chicks dancing in living rooms) this movie was still less than ninety minutes. That said, even though I took the piss out of that credits sequence, it was nifty to see they created an entire font for this movie.
Chiller's story concepts were decent for the most part, it was the execution that was problematic. The first one, if you took the sex scene out, actually felt like an Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode. That's decidedly not a bad thing I suppose. Next was a story about cub scouts that was definitely the most competently shot and the only segment that could've worked as a feature. Third was a bit silly and involved a woman thinking that a news anchor was talking to her through the TV. Fourth was a variation on the Monkey's Paw tale that I think was probably my favourite and last was a bizarre, almost out of place tale about an anthropology class accidentally awakening a demon.
As I alluded to earlier, Chiller concluded fairly predictably, but I did get several chuckles out of it, even if only some of them were intentional. This was a perfect example of the typical grassroots fare that grew like weeds on rental shelves during the home video boom. And you can do a lot worse than Chillers.