It’s time for some obscure horror! How obscure is The Chilling, the 1989 film from directing pair Deland Nuse and Jack A. Sunseri? This flick doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. I’m fairly certain it went straight to video, but IMDb doesn’t have it marked as such. But this flick is such high stinking cheese that I can’t see how it got a theatrical release. This is truly bottom feeding stuff.
Are you about to die? That’s not a problem, because in the Kansas City area there is a little company called Universal Cryogenics. For a fee, they will take one’s body, pump it full of some green goo, wrap it in a jumpsuit stitched out of a space blanket, and stick it in a tube chilled to -370 degrees Fahrenheit. Someday in the future, medical science will have advanced enough for your body to be thawed out and revived so you can return to your life.
Cryonics, not cryogenics, as in the name of the company, has been around since the 1960s. I have to wonder how many of the people frozen back then thought they would be awake by now. After all, we are now deep into the 21st century. We live in the future. Why has no one been revived by this point? Could…could it all be a big scam?
In this stupid flick it is. Universal is run by Dr. Miller (Troy Donahue), a huckster who harvests healthy organs from his customers for sale on the black market. He’s one of a number of douchebags in this film, including a sleazy technician and a drunken, abusive husband. Oh, joy.
Another employee of Universal is Mary Hampton, played by Linda Blair. Some viewers may wonder what happened to Blair after her star turn in The Exorcist. They might be surprised to learn that she has over seventy acting credits to her name. Indeed, at her busiest, in the 1980s, she was appearing in 4-5 movies a year, and these weren’t cameo appearances. She was starring. But, all of these movies, and I do mean all of them, were rank pieces of shit — the type of movies that would show up on Cinemax in the wee hours of the night, right after something starring Shannon Tweed. I don’t know who she pissed off to end up in all these dogs, but at least it was steady work.
Mary plays the film’s conscience, but I think she may only have been cast for name recognition. Her character doesn’t have all that much to do with the resolution of the plot. She’s just kind of there, reading her lines.
She’s joined for much of the film by Dan Haggerty, Grizzly Adams himself, as Vince, a security guard with a thick beard and a smooth disposition. He’s so silky. He makes one want to nestle in his hair and listen to him read fairy tales in his soft voice as sleep beckons. He makes for quite a casting choice.
As for the plot, there is one. A bad thunderstorm causes the cryonics to begin thawing. In a fit of logic, Vince moves many of the containers holding the dead people outside in order to keep them cool. The tubes get struck by lightning and the dead therein are brought back to life to terrorize the employees of Universal. It all goes as experienced horror viewer would expect.
But what makes this flick precious isn’t its plot, or the minor names the filmmakers roped into starring in it. Oh, no. It’s all the other stuff.
This flick is so cheap that they had zero dollars in the budget for gunshot wound effects. And I mean that literally. People get rocked with shotguns in this flick and the wounds look like red ink stains from a leaky ballpoint. That is not an exaggeration.
The zombie makeup, which was only needed on face and hands because of the space blanket jumpsuits, looks like store bought Halloween zombie masks and gloves with a little extra gunk applied to them. It’s spectacular cheapness.
But the crème de la crème is the supporting cast. None of them had the minimum amount of skills viewers would expect from professionals. Most of them probably were not professionals. The quality of their performances reminds me of that video that surfaced last year of Ted Cruz acting in college. It’s putrid stuff, but when it is combined with the overall ineptness of the film, it creates a perfect storm of shitty cinema. This is a fantastic example of the genre. And, amazingly enough, it has a decent pace! There were some slow spots here and there, but overall, Nuse and Sunseri kept things moving along. Still, do not bother with this flick unless one is into bad movies. This is among the worst. Alien: Resurrection is a better film than The Chilling.