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The Chilling (1989): Regan McNeil and Grizzly Adams vs. Satanic Zombies!

The Chilling (Deland Nuse and Jack A. Sunseri, 1989)

photo credit:

Is that tagline not the best thing ever?


I will start off by saying that if the one-line synopsis “Satanic cannibal zombies chasing Linda Blair through a cryogenics lab” 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 alive—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]

photo credit: Rotten Tomatoes

suddenly I have a craving for pea soup.

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! **

Since I couldn’t find you a third picture… here’s the trailer.

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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