21st Jan2014

‘Grindhouse 14: Hideous!’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Michael Citriniti, Rhonda Griffin, Mel Johnson Jr., Jacqueline Lovell, Tracie May, Jerry O’Donnell, Andrew Johnston | Written by Benjamin Carr | Directed by Charles Band

hideous

Not much more than a group of actors sat round in a Romanian castle (the very same one owned by Charles Band that featured in Castle Freak no doubt) talking trash to each other, with the occasional appearance by a group of deformed “creatures”… that is the plot of Hideous! in a nutshell. Although the official synopsis goes something like this: “Dr. Lorca, an eccentric collector of biological oddities, has just acquired his greatest specimen; a horrible mutant born of noxious waste… but the creature’s rightful owner wants it back. The collector’s clash is cut short though, as the sickening specimen comes to life, re-animating an angry, oozing little army of ferocious freaks.”

If you read my The Creeps review from a few days ago you’ll know that it was it was around this time in Full Moon’s three-decade existence that I was growing tired of the typical “Full Moon flick.” The high concept, low-budget nature of a lot of the companies late-nineties output was, by this time, becoming nothing more that a factory line of film production, with the heart and soul that was prescient in the companies early films and franchises missing from this decades Full Moon features.

But, as with The Creeps, this re-release from 88 Films was the perfect chance to check out what is, essentially, a “new Full Moon feature. And seeing as the film features a lot of the same cast and crew that would go on to make The Creeps, including Rhonda Griffin – who would go from a supporting role in this film to the lead in The Creeps; scriptwriter Banjamin Carr and, of course, Charles Band behind the camera; Hideous! was, given my enjoyment of The Creeps, ripe for reappraisal. How wrong could I have been.

Unlike The Creeps, which ended up being a pleasant surprise, Hideous! conformed to every problem I had with the Full Moon flicks of this time – namely that beyond the original concept of creepy “test tube” monsters on the loose, there was nothing more to the story and worst of all, nothing for the human cast to do beyond argue with each other and chase the titular hideous creatures.

I can’t tell you how disappointed I was in Hideous! I had hoped for something fun, akin to The Creeps (which overcame its shortcomings with the lashing of over-the-top performances and all-round fun-factor) but was instead presented with a dull, dragged-out tale that – if not for the superb creature design, some cracking boob-age, and another great Richard Band score – would have been a complete waste of its already short run time. One for completists (like myself) only.

Hideous! is released on DVD on January 27th, courtesy of 88 Films.

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