Hideous! (1997) review

Hideous posterDirector: Charles Band

Starring: Mel Johnson Jr, Michael Citriniti, Jacqueline Lovell, Rhonda Griffin, Tracie May

“You’re fired! You’re fired from everywhere! You’re fired from the fucking universe!” (Belinda, Hideous!)

What’s the oddest thing you’ve ever found in a sewer? What’s that? You don’t do raking around in sewers? Oh. Right. Um, me neither.

But if I did, chances are I probably wouldn’t come across odd little mutant baby things. That’s what one sewage treatment worker finds at the start of Hideous!, another low-budget grotfest from indie horror studio Full Moon.

The man hands over said mutation to Belinda Yost, a woman who specialises in selling mutations to collectors. Which is one hell of a niche market, but let’s go with it for the sake of the film.

"I think your pickled onions have gone off, mate"
“I think your pickled onions have gone off, mate”

There’s a problem. Other than the whole selling of freak babies bit, I mean. Two different collectors believe they have first dibs on the mutation, so when one buyer picks it up from Belinda, he’s attacked as he drives home by the other buyer’s assistant.

Did I mention that said assistant is a topless woman wearing a gorilla mask for no reason? Well, there you go. After tying up the poor chap, she steals the mutation and brings it back to her boss.

Feeling understandably irked, the original buyer hires a detective to accompany him to the other guy’s mansion (along with Belinda’s secretary, who was also in on the deal), so they can sort out this mess once and for all and decide who the true owner is.

Come on missus, get your bloody kit on
Come on missus, get your bloody kit on

Cue loads of fighting and the appearance of a bunch of other mutants who eventually all decide to get involved. A bit.

Hideous! is pleasantly rubbish, but rubbish nonetheless. As with The Creeps, another Full Moon film which was released shortly after it, the standard of the acting is so low only dogs can hear it.

This is partly due to the presence of Rhonda Griffin, who stank up The Creeps with her woeful schtick and is no better here. Granted, she isn’t helped much by once again being given some atrocious dialogue to work with, but even so.

Then there’s former nude model Jacqueline Lovell, she of the aforementioned topless gorilla-masked scene, who isn’t much better. When she isn’t freezing her nips off in the snow she’s constantly wearing an odd waistcost thing that always barely covers her breasts.

That's not a regulation Major League Baseball outfit. Back to the locker room, asshole
That’s not a regulation Major League Baseball outfit. Back to the locker room, asshole

Of course, nudity in a horror film is nothing new, but it generally only happens once or twice. To have someone’s baps jiggle about throughout the entire movie is about as shameful as you can get.

Eventually the titular ‘hideous’ mutations are awakened and start getting involved. Except, since they’re puppets that would even be considered low budget by Full Moon’s standards, they don’t really do much.

Instead, they spend most of the back half of the film hiding behid chairs and tables, standing in the shadows and gawping at what’s going on.

The few times you do get a good look at them they’re reasonably well designed, but certainly not the sort of classic monsters you’d expect to carry a film on their own (as the title clearly suggests they were meant to).

Usually the mutants are kept in the shadows like this, so you can't get a good look look at how shit they are
Usually the mutants are kept in the shadows like this, so you can’t get a good look look at how shit they are

I’ve seen worse films than Hideous! but not by any notable order of magnitude.

There’s a slight degree of charm in the hokey acting and laughably bad script, but the final act is such a snoozefest (literally: I fell asleep during it and had to watch the last half-hour again) that I can’t really recommend it to anyone but the most die-hard B-movie buff.

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The low score given to Hideous! means it’s earned a place in the notorious TWABM Hall Of Shame. Click here to see the other poor bastards that darken its corridors.

HOW CAN I SEE IT?
Hideous! was recently released on DVD by 88 Films as part of its Grindhouse collection. As well as an audio commentary it also includes the 30-minute Full Moon Videozone feature that originally came with the film on VHS, complete with making-of documentary. It’s an above-average treatment for a below-average film and you can get it here fairly cheap. US readers, you can get the DVD here.

SHOW ME THE TRAILER:

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