The Chilling (1989)
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The Chilling (Deland Nuse and Jack A. Sunseri, 1989) I will start off by saying that if the one-line synopsis âSatanic cannibal zombies chasing Linda Blair through a cryogenics labâ? doesn't immediately tell you you need to see this movie, and the sooner the better, then I don't know you, and I don't wanna know you. I mean, that's the single best elevator pitch EVER. I grant you that the execution is nowhere near as good as the pitch would have you believe, but come on, man, it's Satanic cannibal zombies chasing Linda Blair through a cryogenics lab! I actually don't even need to offer a plot synopsis, since (after thirty minutes of setup in which we are introduced to the characters in this movie that are actually aliveâ"Blair, Dan Haggerty as a grizzled, pardon the pun, security guard, and Godfather II's Troy Donahue as the doctor who runs the operation are the three you need to know about) that sentence pretty much nails it. Which exposes the movie's main flaw immediately: there's really not much to it once you get to the possessed, rotting (why are they rotting? They were cryogenically preserved!), shambling guys, the filmmakers had another hour of celluloid to kill, which mostly consists of [shot of shambling zombies with glowing eyes (because they're possessed! BY THE DEVIL!)] [cut to one of the characters looking horrified] [cut to zombie close-up] [cut to character(s) running away] [repeat ad nauseam] still, you can't help but like Dan Haggerty in anything, and there's Linda Blair for the drool factor (okay, maybe it's just me, but I've had a crush on Linda Blair since I was six years old, SO SUE ME), and the zombie effects are so stupidly over-the-top that they have a charm all their own. Note, from personal experience: this movie is definitely better watched while you're sitting at your computer playing Doom. More zombies per minute! **
I don't know what to think about this movie. On the one hand it isn't really all that terrible for the genre. On the other hand it really isn't very good either. It's like a lukewarm drink. It's just unsatisfying enough to make you disappointed. Basically what happens is that there is a power outage at the Universal Cryogenics lab. Apparently they never considered this before because they don't have a generator or a battery backup for their corpses ... uh I mean ... clients. Anyway the guards decide that it would be a good idea to put all of the containers outside where it is "cooler" while they're waiting for the power company to show up. Here are the major flaws with that logic. It's supposed to be 30 degrees outside but there's rain and a full on thunderstorm. Also, by moving all of the containers outside aren't you making it that much harder on yourself once the power is fixed? I mean, then you have to move them all back in just to turn them back on. That makes about as much sense as wheeling your fridge outside every time the power goes out. So, with all of the containers outside wouldn't you know it. They all magically become lightning rods and electricity flows through the conductive "green" (they mention that the fluid is green like 9 times) cryogenics fluid; bringing the zombies to life. Over the next 45 minutes we see all sorts of random zombie Tom foolery. Apparently undead zombies in The Chilling can ... politely tap people on the shoulder, wield a sword, pick up people by the collar, lift garage doors, punch in cryogenic chamber access codes, take carefully timed jumps on to unsuspecting victims, drive cars, survive without their head, pop out from behind cover, and run down stairs. But they can't walk straight, or gang up on a guy driving a fork lift. This movie was, in my opinion, made to be a political statement about the dangers and immorality of cryogenics. I don't think it worked. Anyone with a brain already knows that cryogenics is BS. We can't even heal sick people, how can we possibly reanimate and then heal already dead people? That's like building a new cow out of steaks. Probably the most disappointing thing in this movie is the fact that they show you that Roosevelt, Walt Disney, Charlie Chaplin, and Michael Jackson are stored at Universal Cryogenics but they never show one of them attacking anyone. Talk about a missed Thriller reenactment opportunity. The dumbest overall move by our heroes in this movie is the run for the car scene. They finally all get in the car and of course it stalls. Probably because it is a Chevy Celebrity turned rent-a-cop car. So instead of getting out and running to either the limo or the repair van to escape they all just go back inside. Why? Why not try to escape? Where is the harm in that? You have to be pretty hard up to watch and enjoy this movie. I'd recommend it only to those who just can't get enough zombie movies or those who are gluttons for punishment.
This movie kicked ass. Night of the Frozen Dead. I love the protestors that and protesting cryogenic freezing of the dead. Linda Blair is hot in it. Not much blood or gore but really cool zombies.
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