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This writer has been to the beloved New Beverly Cinema countless times over the last several years, but not for something nearly as cool as what I experienced last Wednesday night. Last week, the four masterminds behind the upcoming horror anthology Chillerama- Adam Green, Joe Lynch, Adam Rifkin and Tim Sullivan- all converged with their relative casts in tow to the revival theater to shoot the final scenes of the film.
Green explained the reasoning behind wanting to shoot at the New Beverly, a place I know that he and the other directors have spent countless nights at throughout the years. “The New Beverly is such a special, special place to all Los Angeles’ cinefiles and most of the working genre directors have spent a lot of time there over the years. From the old grindhouse double features to the random midnight horror selections to my own ‘Evening with Adam Green’ night there last spring, the New Beverly has been so much more than just a hang out.”
“This theater has been something very real in the center of a city of make-believe. To be wrapping up Chillerama’s shoot and showcasing the New Beverly within the film… it just feels right. Sitting back in my seat tonight and knowing that we’re permanently including this special place in our film, it’s just joyous. They say ‘film is forever’ and with Chillerama, the New Beverly will be forever now too,” added Green.
The shoot marked the first time all four casts were together in one place at the same time which was a monumental experience for Sullivan. He discussed how the project came about and his feelings being on set that final night of shooting.
“Walking up to the New Beverly and seeing Chillerama on the marquee was literally a dream come true,” said Sullivan. “Rifkin and I conjured up this crazy idea back in 1998 when we were working on Detroit Rock City together. We always knew this would be made when the right creative partners came along, and being able to make a monster movie with Adam Green and Joe Lynch was worth every second of a very long wait. I never felt this giddy about anything I have been involved with. It was like being back at film school. The four of us are fans at heart, and we made Chillerama to remind people of the excitement we felt discovering our favorite fright flicks for the first time.”
For those who may not be familiar withChillerama, let me bring you up to speed. The anthology project is comprised of four different films that were created as an homage to the old drive-in movies that many of us horror fans grew up on.
Rifkin explained, “When we all decided to roll up our sleeves and team up on this insane movie. We intentionally set out to have as much fun with the genre as possible and we were determined to take all the elements that made us laugh and scream as kids and notch them up to the extreme. Our collective goal with Chillerama is to make the most outrageous movie anyone’s ever seen.”
The four segments that fans can look forward to in Chillerama are I Was a Teenage Werebear by Sullivan, The Diary of Anne Frankenstein by Green, Wadzilla by Rifkin and Zom-B-Movie by Lynch.
It was right about the time the foursome set out to start production on Chillerama, Lynch got the news that another project he was set to helm, Knights of Badassdom, had unexpectedly been given the green light, which put the director in an interesting predicament.
“Having to juggle two very exciting projects like Knights of Badassdom and Chillerama is a great difficulty to have, truth be told,” said Lynch. ”Both films were developing around the same time but it was always ‘which is going to shoot first? Nah, they’ll probably never conflict, right?’ Wrong. Just when we were about to shoot some of my contributions to Chillerama in May of 2010, we were greenlit for Knights.”
“But the cinema gods shined down on us constantly so it actually worked out for the best; the other directors got to shoot and work on their segment while I was in Spokane, WA playing with foam swords and fake blood. Then after we returned to Los Angeles, edited the film and delivered my first cut of KOB for review, it was perfect timing to go and finally shoot mine, since it takes place at night. So it was a lot of juggling and lack of sleep, but damn if we didn’t make it work. Again, doing a fantasy movie AND a no-holds-barred anthology at a drive-in theater with some of my dearest friends within the span of six months? Those are amazing problems to have,” added Lynch.
And while Lynch wouldn’t divulge too much on his Chillerama segment, he did tease this much for fans. “In terms of my segment itself, I don’t want to give too much away yet other than that its very much the ‘bridging story’ to the anthology to give context to watching these outrageous ‘obscure’ films, but with a few twists. And yes, my contribution will be quite literally ‘balls out’ and I think Peter Jackson, Roger Corman and Russ Meyer would be proud of what we’ve made.”
Lynch added, “But it’s all in good fun as Chillerama (and specifically the characters, setting and story of Zom-B-Movie) was always designed to be this scrappy celebration of the genre movies we love and how movie culture (favorite scenes, quotes, celebrities, filmmakers, etc.) filters into in our lives. I’m excited for people to see the shit we pulled off … again, literally.”
Check out the newly released teaser art below and click next to read on for some behind-the-scenes footage!
What brought everyone from Chillerama together for the final night of shooting the project was the movie’s final scene, where in a twist that is a bit of The Wizard of Oz meets Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, the four filmmakers were joined by their talented players in a scene that had them all watching and reacting to the very movie they were all a part of as it played on the big screen.
And since Green, Lynch, Rifkin and Sullivan were all busy being participants in the flick, Jason R. Miller (who has been heavily involved with many ArieScope Pictures productions after his start as Green’s assistant) stepped in to serve as director for the segment that night.
Everything that final night of shooting ran like a well-oiled machine as shooting wrapped just two hours after the camera first began rolling. To reward the participants at the shoot, Green shared his Chillerama contribution- The Diary of Anne Frankenstein- with the eager audience. He discussed how the tone of Anne Frankenstein was similar to the countless short films he’s done over the years and how amazed he was by the fact that the shoot was even able to happen despite some precarious injuries to vital crew members.
“I’ve made almost 60 short films in my career so far and they are something that I am constantly putting out online all year round,” explained Green. “The main reason I do them is because they remind me of why I got into this career in the first place and they allow me to just have fun. When you start only being creative for the bigger paychecks, you’re sort of done as an artist in my opinion. The shorts keep things grounded and they keep my crew and I laughing. So when I was first approached with CHILLERAMA and asked to participate in the film it was really a no-brainer. I mean, even if the four of us hadn’t gotten together to make this movie, I would have been making a short film like Anne Frankenstein on my own anyway in one way or another. I’m a comedian at heart and so I kind of NEED stuff like this to keep me sane.”
“Anne Frankenstein was by far the most enjoyable shoot I’ve had yet. We all laughed until we couldn’t breathe each day on set. And that was no easy feat as some of us were nursing major injuries during that shoot. I was directing with a dislocated shoulder (an injury I had sustained while shooting 2010’s Road to Fright Fest short film series the very day before I started shooting Anne) and my sound mixer was operating the boom with two bullet wounds that he had sustained the night before shooting. Yeah, that’s right. Bullet wounds. Dude got shot twice and still showed up to set and did his job perfectly. As if the Frozen shoot wasn’t enough to prove it, I think that Vic powering through this shoot while nursing two gunshot wounds proves once and for all that my crew is more badass than any other out there,” added Green.
Rifkin, whose still busy putting the final touches on Wadzilla, discussed his cinematic influences when coming up with his story. “Wadzilla has its slimy, slippery, squiggly roots way back in my monster movie madness days. Growing up in Chicago, most of the horror fare I watched as a kid I saw on the Son Of Svengoolie Show. Sven is the local horror show host who introduced me to so many classic films, as well as tons of B-grade exploitation fare like The Blob, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, Tarantula, Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman, Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster, and many many others.”
“Those atomic era ‘giant monster on a rampage’ movies were always a hoot and just seemed ripe for ribbing in Wadzilla but if I was going to have some fun lampooning the genre, and make a movie about an enormous beast destroying New York, I wanted to make damn sure I picked a giant monster that nobody saw coming…so to speak,” Rifkin added.
Not only were the four gentleman at the helm of Chillerama nice enough to have Dread Central out for their last night of production, they also wanted to exclusively share with our readers the first look at the Chillerama teaser poster as a way to thank the fans for all their unwavering support throughout the years.
CHILLERAMA truly is a movie made by fans for the fans,” explained Sullivan. “Case in point- the Chillerama teaser art. When 21 year old Arkansas fan and budding filmmaker Brandon Gramling first heard of the project, he created an image and sent it to us. We were so humbled and blown away by it, we just had to use it and now Brandon’s fan art has become the official Chillerama teaser poster.”
Check out some quick shots of the shoot below and look for more on Chillerama very soon. A special thank you to Green, Lynch, Rifkin and Sullivan for making time for DC and for inviting us out for the big night.