Written by: George Pacheco on January 16th, 2013
Original Televised Date: UK, 1995
Directors: Lawrence Clark, Bob Mahoney
Writers: Stephen Gallagher, Anthony Horowitz
Cast: Nigel Havers, Martin Clune, Sophie Ward, Kevin McNally
DVD Release Date: December 11th, 2012
Approximate Running Time: 265 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Fullscreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Chiller was a five episode horror anthology series which enjoyed a brief run in Britain during the 1995 television season. When compared to other, iconic horror anthology series which had come before—from Ray Bradbury, Rod Serling and Alfred Hitchcock to Tales From the Crypt and Tales From the Darkside—Chiller seems a bit more rooted in reality, although featuring a level of fantastic which certainly presents plenty of opportunity for paranormal shenanigans.
Still, most of Chiller is fairly dour stuff, with most of the stories here being approached with a relatively straight face. Toby is the most effective episode of the bunch; a tale of loss, anxiety and mental illness which afflicts a young woman who has lost her unborn child after a tragic car accident. Meanwhile, Here Comes the Mirror Man struggles to play up its “killer” angle with enough excitement to appease the viewer, while Prophecy boasts an impressive final act to make up for a comparatively middling—apart from an impressively violent car crash—introductory sequence.
Given that Chiller was released in ’95—prior to the onslaught of CGI enhanced scares—there are still a number of practical, TV-styled gore effects to be had, while the frenetic camerawork assists each episode via an engaged, almost Argento-sense of grace and movement. Although Chiller is by no means essential viewing, anthology junkies might find something to chew on here with this rare collection of terror from the British telly.
Synapse presents the complete series of Chiller on a two disc set, released in its original full screen televised format. The picture, while not exactly crisp, is comparable to how the series probably appeared during its original run. Audio-wise, things sound a bit soft overall, but still easy to follow from episode to episode. There is a disclaimer on the disc from Synapse that “the best available materials were used to source this DVD presentation,” so there really aren’t many complaints or surprises when it comes to how this final product looks, all things considered.
The music also differs from the original televised versions, apparently, although this might not mean much to those who didn’t catch Chiller during its original nineties run. Finally, there are no extras to be had on this release, leaving Chiller with a serviceable treatment from Synapse Films.