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Featured Post - Mystery Movie Marathon

I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Friday, June 29, 2018

Hide and Go Shriek (1988)

The Slasher marathon continues with Hide and Go Shriek. This movie is a long running joke between myself and Tim Gross from Gross Movie Reviews. Years ago, I asked him what VHS tape I should buy from the piles that he was selling at a Cinema Wasteland and he pulled this movie from the box and suggested it. I absolutely hated it and haven’t let him forget about it since. But it is a Slasher and I haven’t watched it yet for the Blog, so I guess I need to dive back in and check out the only horror movie I’ve ever seen set in a furniture store.

Things start of a guy shaving and putting on makeup. We don’t see his face, but clearly, he is being setup as our killer. He picks up a hooker and kills her. Now that we know something is up we are introduced to eight friends who have just graduated high school. They are headed off to the furniture store owned by one of their families to spend the night partying without interruption. Yeah, they are going to get interrupted by the killer for sure.

The kids run around the enormous store that looks more like a multilevel warehouse complete with freight elevator. They drink, get naked, do naughty stuff, and other things that normally get you killed off in a Slasher flick. After way too long, the killer starts to murder them in increasingly interesting ways. That isn’t meant as a compliment since the first couple of kills are sort of boring. More on that later. Eventually they figure out someone is killing their friends and think that it must be the creepy ex-con Fred. But is it? Come on he is such an obvious suspect that it can’t be… and isn’t.

Honestly this isn’t as bad as I thought it was the last time that I watched it. I just sat thru Humongous the night before watching Hide and Go Shriek. While I thought nothing happened in this movie and it was boring having Humongous fresh in my mind I realize that isn’t the case. It takes far too long for the kills to start in Hide and Go Shriek, but the last half hour of the movie is pretty entertaining. There is some stalking, the killer gets a couple funny moments taunting them into running around the store. The movie also gives us a lot of nudity and “frolicking” between the cast members before they meet their demise. There are some traditional Slasher movie tropes here to enjoy which is more than I can say about Humongous and Island of Blood, the last two flicks I watched for the Slasher marathon.

Watch the movie and you will understand this picture!
That said I have a couple of beefs with the movie. First is the fact that they broke the cardinal rule. Of all the Slasher movies that I’ve watched I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that leaves so many characters alive at the end. Of the eight kids that go into the store four of them live! That isn’t nearly the body count that I want in a movie like this. Trim the slow middle part of the movie and kill off another couple kids! The other issue is I don’t like the twist with the killer. Without spoilers the killer’s motivations are a bit wonky and dumb. I love how he is portrayed on screen, but wish they gave him better motivation for the killing.

Finally, we get to the gore. For most of the movie there really isn’t much. There is a stabbing, a mannequin arm thru the chest, and a spike tossing that all happen off screen with a bit of blood trickling out of the mouth. Being made in the late eighties I’m assuming they didn’t want to push their luck and get it cut anyway. But I still find this disappointing. But Hide and Go Shriek does have that one signature kill that they do a decent job with. Decapitation by elevator onscreen complete with a latex noggin’ rolling around. Now that was pretty cool.

I still don’t love Hide and Go Shriek, but it isn’t nearly as bad as I remember it. Then again, my opinion might be different because I subjected myself to so many terrible movies since watching this the first time. If you are looking to watch a Slasher movie and have seen most of the top tier flicks like Friday the 13th and the Burning then this one is maybe worth checking out. Not as good as those but worth a watch.  

© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Humongous (1982)

The Slasher marathon continues with a movie that I’ve watched a couple of times in the past before checking it out again for this marathon. I remember not being impressed with it in the past, but I’ve found that some movies grow on me after time. Is this one of them?

The action starts off in the past, later we find out it is thirty-six years before the events of Humongous. We are introduced to a pretty girl named Ida who is standing outside of a large house where a party/dance is being held. It seems like she is more interested in staying with her dogs than people. A drunken man comes out and starts bothering her, so she runs away. The man is either her boyfriend or wants to be. He chases her, things get violent, and he rapes her. She calls out for help and the dogs come to her aid, injuring him badly allowing her to finish him off. Not bad for the first five minutes.

The action then moves to the present day, which for the movie is the early eighties. There we find out cast of victims being assembled around a pair of brothers, their girlfriends, and the brother’s sister. They hop on a boat to go somewhere and head out onto a huge lake. After some fighting, the brother named Nick is a jerk, they find a man stranded in a broken-down boat. They pick him up and he warns them that it is too dangerous to try and proceed in the dark. So, they anchor the boat to wait for morning. Stuff happens, and Nick wrecks the boat in anger. This means they get stranded on the island where a crazy old lady lives.

Yeah that woman would be Ida from earlier. The rest of the movie is them being picked off one at a time by a killer hiding in the woods. Early on the movie lets you know that Ida had a child from her rape and that child was “defective” so she isolated him on the island to protect him from the world. Now he sees strangers as the enemy and kills them.

Best picture I could find of the killer.
This is an interesting setup and had a lot of potential. But it is executed poorly, which is going to be a common theme in this review. The pacing is terrible with an explosion of violence that grabs your attention followed by almost forty minutes of bickering and bad acting. It really is painful to sit thru. When the killer finally does show up we get some decent stalking scenes that I enjoyed but not much else. There could have been some good scares, but the scenes are poorly staged, and the scares ruined. Seriously we get a bit where the killer rises from the water behind a character. Were they going for a jump scare? Then don’t show the audience he is there until he grabs her. Or maybe they wanted to have that moment where we are yelling at the character to look behind her? Then don’t have her immediately see the killer. See what I mean by poorly executed?

While there are a respectable six kills in the movie with most of them happening off screen. At least until the end where we get a spine and skull crushed by the oversized killer. So, for the majority of the movie we see no gore and when we do finally see something it is mostly sound effects and a small drop of blood trickling out of the mouth. Humongous is a slasher movie without gore and no iconic kill! That’s not good.

This is a bad movie. The story is slow, and we don’t get any of the payoffs (scares, kills, etc.) that one expects from a slasher movie. This one had a lot of potential and should have been a much better movie. I can’t recommend it.

© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer