I recently have been on a Linda Blair kick and have watching her movies like they are going out of style. She has this arcane quality about her presences, her performances are not going to win any awards yet I am totally captivated watching her. So when I stumbled across the trailer/preview for “The Chilling” on another DVD I had rented I knew I needed to watch it. First and foremost it had Ms. Blair, secondly it had zombies, thirdly it was made in the 1980s and fourthly I had no idea it existed. Not to mention that this movie did for aluminum foil what Mr. Majestyk did for watermelons, more on this later…
The plot is a Dr. Miller (Troy Donahue) works in a cryogenic lab that freezes people so their illness can be cured at a later date. Mary (Linda Blair) is a liaison (of sorts) who works with the clients. The latest client Joseph (Jack De Ruiex) just lost his wife and son (Joe Jr), so to speak. Therefore he has them “put on ice” in order to have their medical issues addressed at a later date. Well to paraphrase a bit, all of the frozen people end up being brought back to life when the “canisters” the bodies are in is struck by lighting.
Now I must say that this is a different type of zombie movie. If one goes in thinking they are going to see a Romero zombie movie or even something of “The Walking Dead” caliber, they will be disappointed. As a mater of fact, the zombies themselves don’t show up until the forty-five minute mark and this movie is only ninety minutes. One might wonder if the zombies aren’t in half of the movie then how is this movie so great. Well my retort is the build up and circumstances that lead up to the zombie break out. For instance, Joe Jr. was put on ice because he was injured in a bank robbery. This bank robbery is so cheesy and over-the-top, I couldn’t stop laughing. When Mary shares with Joseph about her personal life and a ten second flashback is cued, I also couldn’t stop laughing (and rewinding). In addition, the dialogue is totally ludicrous and takes melodrama to a whole new level.
Digressing to the zombies, they almost look like aliens and make noises that resemble bugs or dragons. Actually, I don’t know what kind of noises they make but it isn’t your normal zombie sounds. These zombies also like to kill by choking their victims. When these zombies were people and put in their canisters they were wrapped in aluminum foil. Nevertheless when resurrection arrives, the zombies are now decked out in aluminum foil clothing….hysterical. If this all wasn’t enough, you have Dan “Grizzly Adams” Haggerty playing a tough as nails security guard who aids in fighting off these undead abominations.
I have heard that Linda Blair walked off the set during production and that is why there are gaps without her. I do not know how true that is, but never fear Ms. Blair is in this movie enough. Not to mention the movie itself is so campy that I didn’t really even notice the said “gaps”. Oh and the movie makers really wanted to promote that this movie was made in Kansas City, you will see references to it through out the movie. In conclusion, if you want to see an amazing zombie movie or a great film for that matter, look elsewhere. Yet if you are like me and have seen tons of B movies and enjoy unintentional humor then do yourself a favor and grab this gem. I rented this flick and plan on adding it to my collection very, very soon.