July 3, 2000

Hide and Go Shriek (1988)

"A group of teens decide to spend a night at a furniture store the father of one of them owns. A homeless ex-con security guard is staying the night too. During the night, someone with a taste for cross-dressing breaks in and begins to pick off the teens during a game of hide and seek."

So it's just a "Friday the 13th" style slasher movie set in a department store.

It's so 80s in dress sense and dialogue that I found it unintentionally laughable in spite of a gory elevator decapitation scene. In fact, that is this movie's only claim to fame. Everyone goes on about the girl getting her head cut off! But unless you are really lucky to have the "Unrated Director's Cut with Previously Unseen Footage" version then you aren't even going to get the enjoyment of that bit.

Once again this is borderline in the horror and suspense stakes. There's the usual plethora of scantily clad pretty girls and weirdly homo-erotic teenage boys (with girly laughs) for eye candy but you don't get to see enough of any of them to make it worthwhile. A bit of toplessness is nothing nowadays.

I suppose it's a novelty to have all the action take place in a department store but I've seen more claustrophobic versions of the same idea set in offices (and even one room) before and it's not really scary unless you feel some sympathy or empathy with the characters.

As there is very little characterisation (yes, one of the characters is even called "Randy" because he is!) or storyline here, the whole thing feels a little bit like a series of acting class improvisation lessons. Strangely enough the director went on to work on "Angel" which maybe explains why some of those episodes sucked too.

All the clich├ęs you expect from a slasher film are here though especially horny teenagers getting into mischief by having sex and drinking (not to mention breaking into a department store in the first place!), plus an immature loser of a friend who thinks he's funny, and all getting their just deserts for rule breaking. After Wes Craven's "Scream" kindly outlined all the rules, you can now amuse yourself seeing them all unfold here as it's pretty formulaic stuff.

Oh, there's a real surprise ending for the unobservant though, in truth, you would never guess at the killer's motivation in a million years. You'll laugh a lot when you find out! It's so gay! (That's a hint btw!) Well, didn't you just wonder why he was cross-dressing?

If you are into 80s slasher pics then I suppose this deserves a 4 out of 10. If, like me, you find it all a bit tedious, then 3 out of 10 is the only way to go.

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