“I hadnt realized what an obnoxious bitch you really are, Karen!”
Take 1986’s RAD, replace the BMX bikes with snowmobiles, meddle it with a DEMON WIND reduction, and serve it in Wisconsin. You’re watching THE CHILL FACTOR.
It starts like a made for TV movie, shows us some sick snowmobile hangtime, and then introduces us to the adorable characters. One is a Minnesota Vikings training camp draftee, one is his black girlfriend, who they always make sure to refer to as the black one, a couple others are brother and sister that may have a…ahem…deeper relationship. But they are all the sort of folks you imagine saying “Da hoy de doi” to themselves as they putter about. “Bozo” and “pronto” are go-to vocabulary words for this crew of pally-wallies. After some barroom interactions and numerous beers, the boys decide (to their girlfriends’ chagrin) that there is no better idea than to race their snowmobiles. Doesn’t get much better than drinkin’ and sleddin’.
As you can imagine, things don’t really go so well for these bozos. If they did we wouldn’t have a movie, would we? A snowmobile crash leaves one of the gang bloody and unconscious, and with the temperature hovering at the 20 below level, they decide to get him to shelter, pronto!
Once they’ve got him back into shelter they all brainstorm what they can do to make him feel better. They decide on a nice old fashioned chili cook-off! They each whip up their meanest chili, only one of the friends calls upon the witching board to help her win the chili cook-off. This accidentally releases a ferocious 3 cocked chili demon who eats the gang one-by-one, rating and ranking their meat, melanin, and gristle. It all comes down to Karen and her mighty Wisconsin chili spoon heirloom. Surely the magic of her chili wizard ancestors will break through and help her thwart the demon to save the day!
Wait…I’m thinking of THE CHILI FACTOR. My bad.
In reality, THE CHILL FACTOR hits a wall of dullness and never quite makes it over. The cabin they take their injured to happens to be a cabin for the old Camp St. Dominic, where they do indeed find a witching board known as a “Devil’s Eye”. So of course there is demon possession, manipulation, and cool kills, and still the movie struggles to succeed. I know what you’re thinking! It sounds awesome right? And for the first 45 minutes I was 200% on board with this movie. I was in love with the fact that I know nothing about Wisconsin but immediately knew in my heart that this movie takes place there. I was in love with the hack 90’s dialogue and wooden acting. I was in love with drinkin’ and sleddin’! Unfortunately, that’s where my love ended.
It’s inexplicable, but this flick just fails to deliver in the second half. With the exception of the intermittent kill, it’s a sad slog. I think the first half is just so great that it sets the rest up for failure. What I will say, is that this is still a bizarre regional horror outing you need to experience for yourself, as results may vary. Plus it’s hard to pass up on Arrow Video’s sensational artwork and extras. Collectors, get your copy, pronto!