Hide and Go Shriek (1988)
Close your eyes. Count to 10. And run for your life.
Year of Release: 1988
Also Known As: Close Your Eyes and Pray
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 90 minutes (1:30)
Director: Skip Schoolnik
Bunky Jones ... Bonnie Williams
Brittain Frye ... Randy Flint
Annette Sinclair ... Kim Downs
George Thomas ... David Hanson
Donna Baltron ... Judy Ramteize
Sean Kanan ... John Robbins
Scott Fults ... Shawn Phillips
Ria Pavia ... Malissa Morgan
Jeff Levine ... Fred
Scott Kubay ... Zack
This shocking thriller captures the horror eight teenagers face when they sneak into a furniture store for an all-night graduation party. A game of hide-and-seek turns into a grisly nightmare as members of the group are murdered, one by one, leading the others to the chilling realization that they could be next.
Hide and Go Shriek, remindin' us that if you're willing to ditch your horny, nekkid girlfriend to chase after a guy who just mooned you, not only was that relationship never gonna work, but you're also doomed to a career in Soap Opera Hell. But speakin' of people who like to rearrange furniture, I'm so disgusted right now that I can barely hold down my Steak Through the Heart vital organ platter. I just left Mack's Stacks of Manly Snacks an... Cripes Almighty, I can hardly bring myself to tell ya what I saw in there. The man, apparently in a desperate bid to court the pantywaist crowd, installed a salad bar. That's right. Right now, as we speak, A SALAD BAR is occupyin' space in Mack's Stacks of "Manly" Snacks. Is NOTHING sacred anymore? Where the heck's Senator McCarthy when you need 'im? I dunno when the vego-sexuals got to Mack or what they offered 'im, but as far as I'm concerned, this's a formal declaration of war against our local carnivorous heritage. I mean, if Mack's can fall, can The Gutter Bowl be far behind? Is the Grime Time safe? I dunno about the rest of you, but I ain't gonna take this layin' down. At least not once the liver an onions've passed anyway. Right now it's pretty painful to stand for just about anything. I went straight up to the order hatch an told 'im what I thought about it too. Looked 'im right square in the grill sweat an said; "What the hell's THAT (I was pointin' at the foliage trough at the time) doin' in here? Did you change the name of the place to Mack's Stacks of Pansy Snacks while I was in the can or what? What's next? You gonna get one of the liberal arts majors from the community college to come draw Veggie Tales characters on the menus an have the urinals removed?" Mack just kinda looked at his shoes the way you do when your Mama's discovered the Penthouses under your mattress an started waivin' 'em in your face an screamin' about the damage you've caused to your family's shot at a suite in the heavenly suburbs. It was pretty much unanimous too, cause you could practically feel the tension in that place right up until I uncorked that speech, an by the end of it even Edgar Mastrude, Abel Pankins, an Mark Skidman were shoutin' their approval, an I'm about as popular with those three as a personal hygiene regimen. I know damn well Mack'd never agree to this by choice, an I'm gonna find out who's behind it even if I hafta cut back to two flicks a night to do it. Matter of fact, as soon as this review's finished I'm firin' off a letter to Michelle Obama to see where SHE was on the night of January 20th, 2017.
Hate it when this stuff happens on review night, cause with a flick as complex as this you really gotta have all your wits about you or else you start to lose track of the plot. You can't have any distractions floatin' around in your head, otherwise you'll forget which of the teenagers have had sex, an once that happens you're totally lost with regard to who's gonna end up teen tartare. Then you eventually find out that the only couple that doesn't have sex're the ones that get killed first an your mind suddenly enters uncharted territory. That's why I'm recommendin' nobody take in more'n about six beers for this one, cause it'll really mess with you if you're not prepared for what's about to happen next. Trust me, I hadda rewind the tape three times just to verify that I'd actually seen that happen. So, as you can plainly see, we're dealin' with a whole 'nother animal here, an for that reason I'm gonna insist you pay attention to a few of the facts in the case to make sure no cinephile is left behind. First, if you still believe your girlfriend's a virgin after performin' a well choreographed striptease, you might not wanna spend too much time applyin' to private colleges. Second, havin' a blonde with prefab hooters goin' up an down on toppa ya is a lot less fun when you hafta watch 'er get smooshed to death on the roof of an elevator. An third, if slinky lingerie is the only way to excite your man, you need a ThighMaster, not a teddy. Now, you prolly noticed that all the most interesting insights in this flick revolve around women, an in keeping with that theme, I thought it might be prudent to talk about what an excellent job it does of demonstratin' just how difficult it can be for women of the female persuasion to get along in our modern society. Cause think about it, what happens anytime a slasher shows up after they've gone for a ride on the ole pogo stick? Right; she's Clamburger Helper. Now granted, the men in these movies're every bit as dead as the women (often more so, cause we need at least one chick to survive the carnage so she can plunge a discarded fence post through the maniac's gullet), but the difference is that the women only *became* sluts due to an evolutionary adjustment in their DNA that drives 'em to fornicate so they won't end up as virgin sacrifices. See what I'm gettin' at now? They're damned if they do it, an damned if they don't. Just goes to show you how differently religion an science have treated the fairer sex over the years. Religious devotion to Lord Killuwifu gets 'em tossed into a volcano for bein' pure, science discovers a temporary way of savin' 'em by makin' 'em an unfit sacrifice, then religion starts sendin' avenging madmen to snuff 'em out again cause they're still P.O.'d about the volcano thing. I guess there's just no pleasin' everyone. Maybe you gals aughta start carryin' a revolver in your cleavage just in case. It'd bring a whole new meanin' to the term "bullet bra."
The movie begins with what looks to be Boy George gettin' ready for work, only by this point in his career somethin's gone terribly wrong an he's been godsmacked by the Karma Chameleon so hard that he spends his days pickin' up hookers an dry humpin' 'em in alleys until his switchblade gets hard enough to stab 'em in their chest cavities. I guess he really did wanna make them cry. Elsewhere, we've got a buncha guys (John, Randy, David an Shawn) an gals (Bonnie, Kim, Judy, an Malissa) gettin' ready for their graduation party, an pretty much oozin' enough hormones outta their '80s pores to supply the entire transgender community with gender identity boosters for the next 20 years. Here's the hook though; they're all plannin' to hide out inside John's Dad's furniture store until it closes down so they can party like it's 1989 an spill cheap beer all over the Vladimir Kagan sofa display. What the kids dunno though, aside from how to crack 600 on the SAT test, is that John's Dad's hired the bass player from The Misfits (Fred) to load trucks, an is allowin' 'im to live in the basement until he an Danzig can sort out their problems. So anyway, eventually all the wimps who consult the customers about how best to liven up their "space" with zebra print couches an bean bag chairs go home to their mothers, an Kim suggests they all play hide an go seek cause it makes 'er nostalgic for the days when she used to play that with 'er Dad until he left town while she was coverin' 'er eyes an countin' on 'er 12th birthday. The easily lead future captains of American industry go for the idea in a big way, an everybody spreads out amongst the three floors of decor until Kim finds John an Bonnie makin' the sign of the double breasted crotch poncho. Then they all head back downstairs so Randy can jump out from behind the windowed yuppy fireplaces an scare the tar outta everybody with his Vanilla Ice haircut, while some weirdo with a leather sectional sofa fetish creeps around puttin' chains on all the doors. This's about the point where Hide and Seek starts to lose out in favor of Hide the Salami, but while Malissa's in the can changin' into 'er asset amplifier, somebody sneaks up on 'er an shoves 'er face so deep into the sink that the janitor hasta call a plumber just to get the mascara goop cleared outta the pipes. Then Shawn goes lookin' for 'er an ends up chasin' this whackadoo with a chest that's hairier'n the AstroTurf at the Westminster Kennel Club all over the store, until the guy ambushes 'im an chokeslams the kid onto Vlad Tepes' bedpost.
Meanwhile, Bonnie's P.O.'d at John for squealin' "ready or not, here I come" about ten seconds into their romp, so she hasta bust his balls about his busted balls awhile until he promises to get his act together an finish the job once everybody's had dinner. Only Shawn an Malissa don't show up even though the party's fully stocked with the finest selection of Doritos an Eskimo Pies this side of the 7-Eleven, so it ain't too long before everybody starts to think maybe Malissa's got Shawn tied up somewhere makin' 'im bark like a dog or somethin' an they decide to go make sure she's not leavin' welts on any part of his body that won't be covered by his graduation gown. Course, all they find is Malissa's nightgown on one of the mannequins, an by now John's gettin' so P.O.'d about the place turnin' into The After Hours episode of The Twilight Zone that he signs on to Karate Kid III so he can take out his frustration on Ralph Macchio. Then everybody spreads back out to spread back out, an it ain't long before Frank N. Furter's Off-Broadway understudy shows up wearin' Shawn's clothes at John an Bonnie's love nest an puts his bad bedside manners on display as he waggles his hinder in John's face. Then John gets outta bed an tackles the guy next to the armoires, only the nut has apparently lubed 'imself up in anticipation of their wrestlin' match an manages to squirm away long enough to tear a limb off of a mannequin, so he can charge past the coffee tables in slow motion like Mel Gibson in Braveheart an ram it through John's torso. The guy was obviously armed an dangerous, but John just hadda go actin' like a big hero, an now he's gettin' a heart massage from a crash test dummy. Anyway, then the world's crankiest Chia Pet goes lookin' for Bonnie, but fails Slasherism 101 when he doesn't bother to look under the bed, an while he's passin' by, Bonnie notices the guy has the same snake tattoo Fred has, cept on his foot instead of his hand, an Bonnie gets that same "this means something" look on 'er face that Richard Dreyfuss got when he built Devil's Tower outta mashed potatoes in Close Encounters. Meanwhile, Judy, who's the only virgin in town who's taken the time to choreograph her own stripper routine, is jigglin' 'er chest of drawers in David's face until he's gotten pointier'n the questioning at Rex Tillerson's senate confirmation hearing. But while all that's goin' on, Randy's worn 'imself out on all the mannequins thinkin' they were Kim, an passed out from exhaustion, so when Kim finally gives up on gettin' any an heads for the bathroom, there's nobody there to protect 'er when Mousse Jenner starts goin' for 'er sili-cones.
The noise wakes Randy up, but he ends up losin' track of Kim an runnin' into Bonnie who tells 'im John went chasin' after some loony with an original sin mural tattooed on his foot, an so the two of 'em start wailin' like a coupla old bloodhounds that got left out in a snow storm until they find Judy an David composin' a bed spring symphony. Then everybody takes the elevator downstairs not realizin' Kim's been bound an de-gowned on toppa the elevator, an when they can't find their fellow underachievers they decide to make like Don Adams an Get Smart. This involves sendin' the elevator back up to the second floor an sneakin' up the stairwell, an once they make it up there they spot somebody in front of the elevator puttin' on Kim's clothes an doin' the cabbage patch in front of a mirror while reassurin' themselves that they'd fuck them. Then Slicea Minnelli realizes he's bein' watched an splits, but the kids ain't takin' that bait again, so they run back downstairs lookin' for a way out, only to find all the doors chained shut an the phone line cut. They also discover that it's purt'near impossible to bust a window with inflatable furniture, an pretty quick they find themselves up stuff creek in a leaky canoe when Dame Bledna cuts through the shop's power cable with a set of bolt cutters an doesn't so much as singe a hair on his Kongolese knuckles. Then they find Loopy Velez' meat locker an everybody screams like 12-year-old girls at a Justin Bieber concert, which finally rouses Fred from his antenna TV induced stupor an the whole troop starts beatin' the crap out of 'im with mannequin appendages until they can hog tie 'im like a blue ribbon bull at the Pendleton Roundup. So now, utterly confident in their personal security, the group decides to take the elevator up to the third floor to curl up in the fetal position an start preparin' their psychiatric disability dissertations, only they don't realize Mr. Sister's up on toppa the elevator with Kim slappin' 'er around like a hiney in the Atlanta Falcons locker room after the NFC Championship game until she's able to poke 'er head over the ledge where it's promptly pinched off like an outhouse turd right in front of everybody. Think this's where I'm gonna call it a night on the summary, but it's worth seekin' out just to see who's been doin' all the killins an what the guy's motivation is, cause it's pretty original stuff.
Alrighty, well, there's no question that by 1988 the slasher subgenre was starting to peter out on us, at least in terms of what we were used to seeing up to that point. But I've gotta give this one some credit, because it deviates from the standard formula just enough to take on a life of its own, rather than being completely derivative of the various entries that came before it. The ending, of course, was unusual for the era, but even stranger than that is which characters end up surviving the movie. Now, traditionally, having sex in a slasher movie is always a death sentence, but this flick is different in that every single member of the protagonist squad does it or at least tries to. And because the movie lacks the standard "final girl" who also happens to be the font of purity necessary to take on the slasher in the final sequence, what we end up with here is a movie that meets the #1 test of a horror film, which is that anybody can die at any moment. Very few horror flicks, particularly slasher flicks (because of the final girl rule), actually meet this standard, although one could argue that it manages this entirely by virtue of the fact that none of the characters are well-defined enough for anyone to stand out as the "main character." Hide and Go Shriek literally lacks a central character, or even a central couple. You kinda assume that maybe John and Bonnie are the main characters, based upon John's Dad owning the furniture store, but then John gets dispatched fairly early and Bonnie goes catatonic a la Judy O'Dea in the original Night of the Living Dead. So even though there's a good chance that the uncertainty caused by the random nature of the murders can be attributed to the overall lack of structure in the film's story, what caused it is ultimately of little significance, because it makes the movie more interesting regardless. Another thing I like about it is that, for an entry into a highly over-saturated subgenre, it's really pretty humble. I dunno about anyone else, but when I see a movie cover that attempts to use other classic horror films as stepping stones to declare their superiority, I assume they're probably gonna turn out to be dog doo-doo. Hide and Go Shriek, on the other hand, has text reading: "in the terrifying tradition of Friday the 13th and Halloween..." printed on it. Not "forget that old crusty crap, this is the new hotness," but rather, a genuine appreciation of the titles that came before it, and the hope that you might enjoy it in the same vein. So, even though it's not as good as the two aforementioned classics, that tagline depicts an uncharacteristic degree of class that just didn't exist in what was, to be fair, a competitive arena. Still, despite being inferior to the better known titles from the slasher cycle, I'm of the opinion that with a little more money, and more character depth (the writing just isn't where it needs to be), this flick might have been able to compete with the big boys.
Okie dokey, time to stuff this thing's head down the drain and find out if it'll hold water. The plot isn't especially original; rather, it simply takes the time-tested slasher-on-the-loose approach and banks on the appeal of its setting. That's not saying the plot is poorly laid out or executed, but the fact is that you've seen it a hundred times before, at least up until the last fifteen minutes or so, which is where things start getting interesting. Although I will say that once you've seen the entire movie, the opening sequence where the killer murders the prostitute doesn't make a lick of sense, as she has nothing to do with his quest for revenge/acceptance. So the story isn't bad, it's just a little thin and hackneyed. The acting is very, very "meh." All the performers are a little bit green, but there's really no one in the cast that I'd point to as a stone around the neck of the production. That said, nobody comes anywhere close to making their characters endearing or even interesting, except for Jeff Levine as Fred, and he's in the movie for all of five minutes. Granted, he can't be in the movie for any lengthy amount of time because he's the red herring and we're not supposed to know where he is throughout the course of the running time, but the fact of the matter is that the only interesting character has very limited screen time, and that does hurt the movie's total score. Kudos to the ladies for popping their tops though, particularly Bunky Jones.
Here's who matters and why: Bunky Jones (Grotesque, Frankenstein General Hospital, The Kindred), Brittain Frye (Slumber Party Massacre III), George Thomas (The Mummy's Kiss, Space Girls in Beverly Hills), Donna Baltron (Bloodbath in Psycho Town, Shallow Grave), Scott Fults (Night Visitor, and Julian Matheson on She-Wolf of London), Ria Pavia (Candyman), Jeff Levine (Lucky Stiff, A Nightmare on Elm Street Parts I & 4, Stranded, Cherry 2000, The Hidden), Ronald L. Colby (Starman), James Serrano (Frankenstein General Hospital), Joe White (The Oracle). It's a surprisingly short list, because despite nobody giving a great performance, nobody really gives a bad one either. The one guy who managed to make a career for himself, if you wanna call it that, is Sean Kanan, probably best known outside of community Bridge leagues as Mike Barnes from Karate Kid III. Although he has an astoundingly shameful career on daytime TV, where he played Deacon Sharpe on The Bold and the Beautiful, Professor Richie Kingsly on Youthful Daze, A.J. Quartermaine on General Hospital, and Jude Cavanaugh on Sunset Beach.
The special effects are pretty limited, due to the obvious budget constraints the crew was under. That's not to say that there's no blood in the movie (although it's a bit dark in color), because I don't recall a single person who died with their head intact not bleeding from the mouth at the time of death. But it's still a little skimpy, volume wise. In all honesty, without the few effects it does have, this flick begins to descend into Thriller territory, but once that head came off I was able to put that nagging feeling behind me and give it more credit. Specifically, we've got a body impaled in a set of spikes (good), a knife jabbed into a neck (good), and the aforementioned severed head, which is one of the worst of its kind you'll ever see. Even worse than the ones from C.H.U.D. and Sleepaway Camp. But I still see the decapitation as a plus, because the flick needed that display of gumption to kick its atmosphere up a notch. The shooting location is pretty good, and something that sets the movie apart from most other slashers. I would caution people who take a look at it on paper and start thinking the movie is along the same lines as Chopping Mall, because it doesn't have quite that high a fun factor, but I still really like the after hours furniture store as a setting. I realize that when you say it out loud it doesn't sound all that interesting, but if you stop and think about it, the idea of teenagers sneaking into and partying in a furniture store after hours strikes me as extremely plausible, and that's why I like it. I can absolutely see teenagers doing this, and that counts for something. As for the soundtrack, well, remember that line on the movie's cover about the "tradition of Friday the 13th and Halloween?" The parallels to Halloween become especially apparent when you hear the soundtrack, because they've pretty well ripped off the tune to that iconic score and reproduced it with a different set of instruments. So, as you might expect, the soundtrack is reasonably tense much of the time, although it does get a bit repetitive now and then due to the overused drums that tend to be louder than necessary. Overall, Hide and Go Shriek is definitely passable, and slightly above average when compared to your standard '80s slasher flicks. The haphazard approach to dealing with the issue of who lives and who dies alone makes it stand out from a lot of other slasher titles, and the setting gives it just enough originality to keep things interesting. Definitely worthwhile viewing for slasher fans, and enjoyable in general for fans of '80s horror in a more broad sense, so check it out.