FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Oct 24, 2005

Day 24- Behold, the Power of Cheese

Today, folks, I broach a subject I plan to cover further in-depth sometime next month: that of the category of movie popularly known as so bad it's good, or as I call 'em, good/bad. Good/bad movies have a certain something special that makes them enjoyable despite their obvious flaws, whereas bad/bad movies are just plain...well, bad. Bad/bad? See yesterday's flick, Girls Nite Out. Good/bad? Though it skirts the line, today's flick Hide and Go Shriek (1988) qualifies. The only entity I know of that seems to exist on BOTH sides of the line at once is Walker, Texas Ranger.

The movie opens with shots of a man in a suit putting on makeup- blush, lipstick, mascara- and a fedora. He gets in his car and goes looking for a hooker, but when the prostitutes (male and female) get a peek at his weird makeup, they all practically run away from the car. He finally finds one who's game, and they head to an alley. There's some up-against-the-wall humping, then he pulls out a switchblade and stabs her in what's GOT to be the most tame killing I've seen all month long: the hooker says "ooh" and falls down. At that moment, I knew I was gonna like this movie.

Now we meet our young cast: "Eight fabulous friends who got through high school and are going to do great things!", which includes having lots of sex at their all-night graduation party, held in a furniture store after hours. Little do they know that one of the store employees, a weird ex-con with a big snake tattoo on his hand, LIVES in the store. Mr. Makeup-and-Fedora is in the store as well! Egads! Who will live? Who will die? How many boobs will be shown?

When I watch older movies, I try not to get hung up on pacing, music, clothes, or any other hallmarks of the film's era that people immediately make fun of. I just watch the movies for what they are and try to enjoy them all from an equal starting point. That said, however, this movie is FIRMLY entrenched in the mid-to-late 80s, which really adds to the fun. There's scrunch socks, pink boom boxes, tank tops and suspenders for all, a synth-beat ripoff of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" riff, and some of the biggest hair I think I've ever seen in my life, second only to Janet Jackson during the "Control" era. Witness:

Ohhhhhh yeaaahhhhhhh, that's good stuff.

So our plucky teens decide to play a rousing game of "hide and seek", which gives them all the opportunity to pair off, find dark corners, and have sex on model beds. Mr. Makeup-and-Fedora then lures them out, one by one, and kills them off. This is no...err, ordinary maniac, however. You see, after he kills the victims, he takes their clothing and poses as them in order to lure the NEXT victim to his or her doom. For example, the first person killed is...Malissa, I think...I didn't really catch any names...when she goes off to put on a negligee to turn on her boyfriend. After smashing her head/drowning her in a bathroom sink (it was a little unclear...), the killer PUTS ON the negligee, acts all girly, and does away with the boyfriend by impaling him on a sculpture.

This goes on and on until the end, by which point the killer is giggling, dancing around in girls clothing, and saying things like "A housewife's work is never done!". Eventually he takes it even further, and he comes after the last four kids standing while wearing blue eye shadow and bondage gear.

I know this all sounds weird, and believe me, it is. It's a really silly ending, which is why I love it. Do you want to know the motivation behind all the murder and mayhem? OK, keep reading. If you want to find out on your own, skip to the next paragraph NOW! You see, our killer, Zach, was the jailhouse lover of the ex-con working in the store! But Zach couldn't just leave the backdoor shenanigans in the jailhouse bunks: he wanted to continue the relationship in the outside world. A fact to which ex-con responds: "I told you it was over, and now you kill people!", and then the ex-lovers get in a knife fight to the death. Sheesh, and people got up in arms over "Buffalo Bill" in Silence of the Lambs! Speaking of which, at the film's end, when we think Zach is dead, he pulls a Hannibal Lecter and kills the paramedic. He drives away in the ambulance, but not before pausing to look at the camera and smile. Ohhhhhh yeeeaahhhhh, that's good stuff.

The movie DOES have its sorta creepy moments in the darkened furniture store. There's mannequins all over the place, which are always spooky- I kept waiting for one of them to move. But it's the bad acting that keeps you from getting too entrenched in the atmosphere. And when I say bad acting, I mean it's my favorite kind: the hair-wrenching, cheek-slapping, flailing limbs, snivelling, whining, shrieking, with lines delivered through gritted teeth variety. Ahhhh.

This month, there have been movies that kicked my ass (The Brood), movies that made me want to go kick someone else's ass (Girls Nite Out), and movies that just were kind of...there (Fade to Black). So far, Hide and Go Shriek is the only so bad it's good flick I've seen in Shocktober, And for that, I gotta give it 7-and-a-half out of 10 pairs of Skidz.


John Barleycorn said...

Just like you to know I think your blog is FANTASTIC. I check it nearly every day. I love cheesy 80's slasher flicks, especially the good/bad ones. I'm going to locate a copy of "Hide and Go Shriek" as soon as possible given your hilarious review.

Stacie Ponder said...

Wow, thanks, Brennon! That's awesome.

I hope to do a bigger feature on the good/bad slashers sometime next month, and I'm always open to recommendations!

John Barleycorn said...

I can recommend "Tombs of the Blind Dead" if you're blind-drunk and don't mind watching a thinly veiled 70s rape flick. This movie was not only terrible but offensive. You should check it out. I haven't seen it in years, and it'd be nice to hear a fresh prespective on what I consider to be one of the worst horror flicks ever made.

Also, the "thrilling chase sequences" are done in cripplingly dull slow-motion. It's hilarious!

Anonymous said...

That guy in the red shirt on the left looks like Billy Warlock, which, in my bad horror book, is almost as good as being the real Billy Warlock. Thus, HIDE AND GO SHRIEK sounds like a winner.

Stacie Ponder said...

HA! Billy Warlock. I haven't heard that name in a long time. Good ol' "Frankie Brady".

Anonymous said...

"Buzzzzzz offfff Buzzzzzzhead", brought to you by Rebunka Jones, i.e. the chick wearing a half shirt and a banana clip.

"I got the job at Radio Shack. I got the job at McDonalds". Thanks Randy.

This is a great movie. I love it. I would sleep with it if the box didn't have sharp edges. I would make babies with it if I could. This is the best throw back to the end of an era. By the time this movie came out, the teens were wearing stonewashed jeans. Yup, we took the slash and dash as far as we could and this was a last, horribly failed but oh-so-fun last blast.

Amanda By Night

Anonymous said...

Wow, there are actually two other people on this planet that like this movie as well?? Here I was thinking I was the only one.

On a side note. I just recently came across your blog and I must say, I love it! I've been spending the last few days reading over it. Keep up the good work.