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  Hide and Go Shriek Trouble In Store
Year: 1988
Director: Skip Schoolnik
Stars: Bunky Jones, Brittain Frye, Annette Sinclair, George Thomas, Scott Fults, Ria Favia, Sean Kanan, Scott Kubay, Jeff Levine, Michael Kelly, Ronald L. Colby, Donald Mark Spencer, James Serrano, Larry Lyons, Robin Turk, Joe White
Genre: Horror, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: A man stands in his makeshift bedroom and prepares himself for the evening ahead by putting on blusher, mascara and lipstick, then heads off to the streets of Los Angeles in his limousine to check out the prostitutes there. Having made his choice, he invites her into the car and drives her to a nearby side alley to have sex with her, but in the process produces a knife and stabs the woman to death, then drives off again into the night. The next day, Bonnie (Bunky Jones) and her seven friends, making up four couples, decide to have a fun time of it and plan to visit the furniture store of one of their fathers to get intimate with one another in private: they can have a party too. Little do they know the terrible mistake they are making...

The slasher movie genre was winding down in the late nineteen-eighties when Hide and Go Shriek was created, a tiny budget example of the form that was more or less what was keeping the horrors alive in the public eye, even to the extent that those bigger franchise shockers were beginning to look pretty tired as their sequels began to run out of ideas. It would be revitalised in the late nineties, but you could accurately point to barrel-scraping material such as this as to why the audience grew tired of what had only ever been considered a flash in the pan by producers and studios alike - tell them Halloween and Friday the 13th would spawn so many follow-ups and they wouldn't have believed you.

Not back at the turn of the seventies into the eighties, at any rate, as these efforts were like any other cinematic fad, with loads of cheap (and, to be fair, not so cheap) imitators proliferating across the world picture palaces and drive-ins - by 1988 when this arrived, home video was beginning to be the main arena where these generated a profit. Nevertheless, in spite of a unavoidable samey quality to all those villains and their victims, there were still a few variations, and the one the makers of this settled upon was what could be summed up as gay revenge. This was down to a homosexual bad guy who visited terrible vengeance on the heterosexuals who regarded him as the real deviant around there.

Never mind that bumping folks off in a psychopathic manner marked a considerably more deviant form of behaviour than fancying someone who was the same sex as you are, that irony appeared to be lost on the antagonist, and indeed the makers of the movie. For the first half at least, after his violent introduction, the killer kept a low profile in the store he had made his home, and an obvious red herring was the resident worker who had been hired to give him a break after emerging from prison - the octet decide he is up to no good more because he has tattoos, however. The actual relationship between this heavy and the real murderer was given at the end once the mayhem was over (or was it?), but before that it was all about keeping the heteros triumphant.

Though not before they were victimised - it's as if they were the minority, am I right?! Ahem, anyway, director Skip Schoolnik staged about a billion false scares with those potential victims, their favourite mode of expression to leap out at their friends and yell, which wasn't funny the first time and certainly wasn't the fifth. They then paired off to have sex with each other, so there was a degree of nudity, but as anyone who has seen Wes Craven's Scream will be aware, that's a big no-no in the slasher medium and sure enough the maniac was spying on them and apparently so disgusted at this so-called normal behaviour that the murderous impulse was too much to resist, leading to lots of wandering about in the dark but surprisingly not much gore: a nude woman decapitated was about as bloodthirsty as it got. Mostly it was the gender angle that would be problematic for viewers today, as Hide and Go Shriek did look to have it in for the gays what with who could best be described as a screaming queen as the agent of destruction. If you got off on that kind of bad taste, however, it was worth sticking with, there was a dodgy sense of humour here (and a load of shop dummy limbs). Music by John Ross.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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