Thursday, 23 January 2014

Hideous! (1997)

88 Films strikes again with the latest in their Grindhouse series of quirky, weird and offbeat low budget releases (No.14 to be exact). This one’s another Charles Band piece and, like a lot of his work, it's a fair bit of hokey fun, especially if you’re very forgiving.
Workers at a sewage processing plant scoop something small and fleshy out of the general effluent, something that’s still alive. Saleswoman Belinda Yost (Tracie May), specialist in such rare collectibles as bicephalic babies arranges for it to be sold to deformed baby collector and eccentric multi-millionaire Napoleon Lazar (Mel Johnson Jr). However, rival deformed baby collector and eccentric millionaire Dr Lorca also wants the specimen, and has already paid Belinda to keep him apprised of any interesting oddities that get scooped up out of the sewage. 
          Lorca arranges for his assistant, the gorgeous Sheila (Jacqueline Lovell, veteran of more top quality-sounding stuff that I’ve never seen including THE EXOTIC HOUSE OF WAX and NUDE BOWLING PARTY - I am not making these up) to waylay Napoleon and rob him. She achieves this while wearing nothing but a gorilla mask and a pair of tight leather shorts. If nothing else Miss Lovell is to be congratulated for completing all her exterior scenes in what look like sub zero temperatures while betraying hardly a goose pimple.
Lorca puts the specimen in a jar. He puts the jar alongside three other jars, all of which contain baby monsters that look suspiciously like the kind of rubber puppets one might find in a Charles Band movie.
Tentacles snake out of the oversized head of sewage baby and bring the other monstrosities to life. Well, they wiggle about a bit as they escape their glass prisons and scuttle off into the shadows.
Belinda, Napoleon. a detective called Leonard (Jerry O’Donnell) and Belinda’s secretary Elvina (Rhonda Griffin) descend on Dr Lorca’s castle to get Napoleon’s specimen back, only to end up being chased around the place by the four rubbery grotesques until Dr Lorca’s acid bath comes in handy.
HIDEOUS! is surprisingly good natured fun, especially as its monsters are really quite, well, hideous. The dialogue is often witty, and even the occasionally clunky bits aren’t too distracting. What is distracting is Ms Lovell’s costume when she’s not being a topless bandit. Consisting of little more than a tiny leather waistcoat and the same tight shorts it’s certainly one of the more original outfits to grace a pretty girl in a horror movie, and it could be counted by certain sophisticated members of the movie’s audience as one of the highlights of what’s on offer here.
         88 Films offer a decent presentation of the movie in 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Extras include a commentary track by the two actors who play the rival collectors, there’s a Videozone segment and a collection of Full Moon trashy trailers. Definitely worth a look if you’re a Full Moon fan or fancy something a bit daft and out of the ordinary. 

88 Films are releasing Charles Band's HIDEOUS! on DVD on 3rd February 2014

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