HP Lovecraft meets Jess Franco in this ultra low-budget homemade effort that uses the classic short story ‘Cool Air’ for its inspiration but throws in some topless prostitutes with their faces peeled off for good measure. Now, just before you go rushing off to watch this on the basis of that summary, here are a few other items you need to consider: Chill is getting its first UK release this year but the production date at the end of the film is 2006. Also listed in those end credits is a Mr Tommy Wiseau who is something of a cult underground character, having directed one of the ‘worst films of all time’, The Room. Mr Wiseau is not the director of Chill, that honour falls to Serge Rodnunsky who is also responsible for the script, editing and photography using equipment loaned to him by Tommy. The result of this mostly one-man effort is by no means terrible but it is rather amateurish and should only be watched by the very kind and forgiving.
Sam (Thomas Calabro) is an ex-doctor and writer who gets a job working in a supermarket owned by Dr Munoz (Shaun Kurtz). Munoz spends most of his time living in a freezer in the back when he’s not driving around in his filthy white van urging his lumbering peeling-faced assistant Tor to abduct prostitutes. Tor should really be called Morpho in honour of the Franco vibe he elicits, and one suspects any reference to the Tor Johnson of Ed Wood’s movies is sheer coincidence. The prostitutes are taken back to the supermarket and hung up in the freezer in faceless prostitute corner. They’re needed for skin grafts, you see, as Dr Munoz has a tendency to extreme exfoliation every couple of days, although why he needs several of these girls hanging up when he’s only taken very tiny areas of skin from each of them (and interestingly never from the breasts) is not explained.
Sam gets friendly with Maria who works in the shop across the road. Maria is played by Ashley Laurence. Twenty years on from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser and still looking absolutely lovely one wonders how she got mixed up in a project like this. Dr Munoz kidnaps Maria and wants Sam to become his assistant. Before he or anyone else can say ‘Not on your Necronomicon’ (the doctor has a copy, you see) the prostitutes’ pimp turns up with his gang for a bit of a shoot out and a twist ending that can at best be described as sub-par and at worst as incomprehensible.
Chill is reminiscent of the worst 1970s EuroTrash, and fans of that sort of silly stuff are the only ones who are going to get much out of this. Dr Munoz even wears a cloak and wanders around as if he’s searching for the Spanish vampire picture in which he truly belongs. Mr Lovecraft doesn’t get a mention, either in the credits or on the trailer, which is odd as one would assume that this would be the movie’s sole selling point. Out of the UK DVD releases for May 2012 this should be filed under ‘Slightly Better than Osombie’… but only slightly.
JOHN LLEWELLYN PROBERT
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