The movie opens with shots of a man in a suit putting on makeup- blush, lipstick, mascara- and a fedora. He gets in his car and goes looking for a hooker, but when the prostitutes (male and female) get a peek at his weird makeup, they all practically run away from the car. He finally finds one who's game, and they head to an alley. There's some up-against-the-wall humping, then he pulls out a switchblade and stabs her in what's GOT to be the most tame killing I've seen all month long: the hooker says "ooh" and falls down. At that moment, I knew I was gonna like this movie.
Now we meet our young cast: "Eight fabulous friends who got through high school and are going to do great things!", which includes having lots of sex at their all-night graduation party, held in a furniture store after hours. Little do they know that one of the store employees, a weird ex-con with a big snake tattoo on his hand, LIVES in the store. Mr. Makeup-and-Fedora is in the store as well! Egads! Who will live? Who will die? How many boobs will be shown?
When I watch older movies, I try not to get hung up on pacing, music, clothes, or any other hallmarks of the film's era that people immediately make fun of. I just watch the movies for what they are and try to enjoy them all from an equal starting point. That said, however, this movie is FIRMLY entrenched in the mid-to-late 80s, which really adds to the fun. There's scrunch socks, pink boom boxes, tank tops and suspenders for all, a synth-beat ripoff of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" riff, and some of the biggest hair I think I've ever seen in my life, second only to Janet Jackson during the "Control" era. Witness:
Ohhhhhh yeaaahhhhhhh, that's good stuff.
So our plucky teens decide to play a rousing game of "hide and seek", which gives them all the opportunity to pair off, find dark corners, and have sex on model beds. Mr. Makeup-and-Fedora then lures them out, one by one, and kills them off. This is no...err, ordinary maniac, however. You see, after he kills the victims, he takes their clothing and poses as them in order to lure the NEXT victim to his or her doom. For example, the first person killed is...Malissa, I think...I didn't really catch any names...when she goes off to put on a negligee to turn on her boyfriend. After smashing her head/drowning her in a bathroom sink (it was a little unclear...), the killer PUTS ON the negligee, acts all girly, and does away with the boyfriend by impaling him on a sculpture.
This goes on and on until the end, by which point the killer is giggling, dancing around in girls clothing, and saying things like "A housewife's work is never done!". Eventually he takes it even further, and he comes after the last four kids standing while wearing blue eye shadow and bondage gear.
I know this all sounds weird, and believe me, it is. It's a really silly ending, which is why I love it. Do you want to know the motivation behind all the murder and mayhem? OK, keep reading. If you want to find out on your own, skip to the next paragraph NOW! You see, our killer, Zach, was the jailhouse lover of the ex-con working in the store! But Zach couldn't just leave the backdoor shenanigans in the jailhouse bunks: he wanted to continue the relationship in the outside world. A fact to which ex-con responds: "I told you it was over, and now you kill people!", and then the ex-lovers get in a knife fight to the death. Sheesh, and people got up in arms over "Buffalo Bill" in Silence of the Lambs! Speaking of which, at the film's end, when we think Zach is dead, he pulls a Hannibal Lecter and kills the paramedic. He drives away in the ambulance, but not before pausing to look at the camera and smile. Ohhhhhh yeeeaahhhhh, that's good stuff.
The movie DOES have its sorta creepy moments in the darkened furniture store. There's mannequins all over the place, which are always spooky- I kept waiting for one of them to move. But it's the bad acting that keeps you from getting too entrenched in the atmosphere. And when I say bad acting, I mean it's my favorite kind: the hair-wrenching, cheek-slapping, flailing limbs, snivelling, whining, shrieking, with lines delivered through gritted teeth variety. Ahhhh.
This month, there have been movies that kicked my ass (The Brood), movies that made me want to go kick someone else's ass (Girls Nite Out), and movies that just were kind of...there (Fade to Black). So far, Hide and Go Shriek is the only so bad it's good flick I've seen in Shocktober, And for that, I gotta give it 7-and-a-half out of 10 pairs of Skidz.