After starting in Washington D.C. nine years ago Horror Movie Night has expanded to include chapters in Austin, Dallas and Chicago. Horror’s Not Dead’s own Brian Kelley is the originator and programmer of this illustrious weekly Wednesday night tradition which features a “classic” horror film. Each week I will be reviewing/commenting on the past week’s selection so do your best to find the film, most of which have not made it past VHS, and follow along. Better yet, start your own chapter!
I love films that take place, mainly, over the course of one day or night. It gives a feeling closer to real time that makes it a little more fun. This works really well for slashers given that the instant people start finding out others are dying at the hands of a madman, security measures are taken, weapons are gathered, and people get the hell out of dodge. Well, most people. Our friends in To All a Good Night from a couple weeks ago didn’t have the sense to do so and look what happened to them. But you put a group of teens in one contained location, set a psycho loose and the audience is bound to have a good time. This is where Hide and Go Shriek really excels– some newly graduated kids, alcohol, rampant hormones and a multi-level building full of beds leaves you with the most fun one can have within the confines of a furniture store.
Kim: “I’ve got an idea, let’s play hide-and-go-seek.”
Shawn: “What, you’ve gotta be kidding?!”
Kim: “Come on, it would be fun.”
David: “That’s a great idea, you know, and you’re it!”
Kim: “No, no, no, no. Let’s draw straws or something – you creeps.”
After making it through high school a group of eight friends decide to have a celebratory wild party to kick off the rest of their lives. John’s dad owns a high end, and very large, furniture store so they plan to fill their coolers with beer and sneak in for a lock-in of sorts. They can all have a great time together and when the evening gets to that inevitable point, there will be plenty of beds for the four couples to have a good night’s “rest”. After a while it’s suggested that the group play a game of hide-and-seek, but they soon find out there is another player in the building who kills those he finds.
I can remember a time, sixteen or so years ago, when I would attend certain lock-in events and, without fail, hide-and-seek always came up at some point. Our version was all in the dark and home base would be the one room in the building where the lights were allowed to remain bright. The rest of the facility was pitch black and everywhere was fair game. These were some really good times and probably the most fun I’ve ever had playing the game. So now, as an adult, I could see where taking this same activity and adding alcohol might be fun and a viable option. So to anyone out there who finds this a juvenile or ridiculous suggestion from the lovely/soon to be dead Kim, it’s not and I would still play this today.
Of course, the addition of the killer is not really welcome.
When the kids arrive at the warehouse/store John and one of the others drive up to the loading docks to drop something off and are a bit taken aback by the new dockworker. This is where we meet Fred. Thanks to an exposition heavy scene of John’s dad, Phil, and co-worker walking to their cars we soon learn that Fred is an ex-con who served his time for armed robbery and now is out early for good behavior. Not only that, but the guy lives at the store (!) temporarily since he recently split with his girlfriend and needed somewhere to go. Phil sounds like a hell of a boss. Of course we are to believe that Fred is a bad guy, it’s plain to see by anyone else. He looks very rough and anti-social, has tattoos of two-headed snakes all over and is all around creepy. We get to see this even more in a scene where he is cooking his dinner in the most aggressive way I’ve ever witnessed. The hollow way he throws the meat and vegetables into a pan and stirs them around with a knife is menacing. Just look at the hate in his eyes as he drizzles on some oil. Gives me the chills. Still, I’d watch a show featuring Fred and his large knife on Food Network.
To be fair to Fred, the kids’ judgment should hold no water. They are far from the brightest of high school graduates and they have no room to say anything. Take John for instance – he brings a group of people to his father’s store for the night, with a bunch of alcohol, and warns them not to turn on any lights (a great way to explain the lack of a lighting budget) and gets mad when they touch things or move the mannequins around. Even without the alcohol those asshole guy friends of his would be humping the mannequins but a slight buzz makes it much worse. As a group they’re not much better. On the way to the store they do a “Fire Drill” at a stop sign where they all get out of the car and run around like maniacs, but they are the only vehicle around. That kind of misses the point of causing the chaos when you are the only affected party. But I guess they have had a hard senior year (yawn) because when they are supposed to be meeting to eat at around midnight they all decide to head to bed. So much for their wild night of drinking and partying – but I guess they do have a few more important carnal things on their minds. After all, you can’t play hide-and-seek for too long without getting horny, right?
Kim: “Listen, you are going to love making love. You’ll never wanna stop.”
Bonnie: “This’ll be the best place to do it you’ll ever get, it’s gonna be so neat.”
There are a TON of sexual things happening in this film. It all starts before the ten-minute mark when the girls get together and have their very mature discussion (some of which you can see in the quote above) about sex and how it’s Judy’s first time. Later she will go on to entice her boyfriend, David, by giving him the most successfully sexy and erotic striptease that any virgin has ever performed. This is explained when she follows up the seduction by saying, “saw that in a porno movie, was it sexy?” Oh, he agrees.
But the other couples have their own problems. Bonnie is left unfulfilled by the manly John after he was “done in about ten seconds,” and Kim has to take Randy’s sunglasses off because he was trying to get it on with them still on. Then there’s Shawn and Malissa…poor Shawn and Malissa. These two don’t even make it to some sweet loving because she’s the first of the group to meet her end while he waits patiently on the bed in his bikini briefs. I should also mention that Shawn is played by Scott Fults, who would go on to play “Crater Face” on an episode of Saved by the Bell a year later. You know, the one where Screech accidently invents a miracle zit cream in Chemistry, but, of course, it’s not so simple because the cream then turns…oh, I’m on a tangent. A slightly embarrassing tangent.
I do have a theory as to why John climaxes so quickly and why David never seemed to pressure Judy into doing the deed. I think there is a bit of a gay thing between the two of them. I know, I know, all 80s movies have some degree of weird homo-eroticism. “It was just the times,” you’ll say, but I think there was more here. When we first see the two they are lifting weights outside and David tries to tempt John upstairs to hit the showers with him by dangling a banana in his face and then eating it with a very pouty, seductive look on his face. This is not the only time they have a moment together because there is shared food, picking one another up off the ground and a sort-of ticking. Then once John’s lifeless body is found David is by far the most upset, even more so than Bonnie despite the fact that earlier in the film she mentions that the two had talked about marriage. My reasons are quite valid. There is also a rather openly gay moment at the end of this movie involving the killer who wears some very fashionable studs and leather. It’s also interesting to note that one of the lowly Production Assistants on this film was David Kohan – a man who would go on to co-create Will & Grace. I’m just saying…
Enough about all this sex stuff, it’s great and all but we came here for more than the T&A. Well, a little more. What about the slashing? The body count is relatively low; especially considering half of the eight make it out alive. Don’t fret, because there are still a few great death scenes that involve impalement on some sort of fancy pointed knick-knack in the store and John’s ironic death via mannequin arm. None will top the elevator decapitation, but few things can.
Until next week – go hide, I’ll be counting to 100.
Body Count: 7
Best Kill: Freight Elevator Decapitation
First Kill: 3:20
First Mention of Hide-and-go-Seek: 24:30
Number of Questionable Gay Ties Between David and John: 5
Coming soon the Horror Movie Night (Chronicles are posted one week after screening):
-8/17/11: The Curse 2: The Bite (1988)
-8/24/11: The Boogens (1981)
-8/31/11: Killer Party (1986)
-9/7/11: The Kindred (1987)