In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Busey's Gonna Busey.

The next VHS on my pile was the 1989 thriller Hider in the House. I hadn't seen this movie, but I certainly remember it at my video store with that coverbox that SCREAMS late 80s/early 90s.

Julie (Mimi Rogers) and her family move into their newly renovated dream home, not realizing that a recently released mental patient (Gary Busey) has built himself a secret room in the attic.

I was pleasantly surprised by Hider in the House. It was very similar to a lot of movies that came out around that time, which is why I found its release year of 1989 (before the floodgates opened in the 90s) confounding. Due to Vestron going tits up, it never got its planned theatrical release so it's not like this was widely seen. HITH is like a reverse The Hand That Rocks the Cradle where an outside party works their way into the family in order to take what they feel is owed. You know what's really crazy though? I thought for sure Mimi's pottery hobby was a reaction to Ghost's popularity, but nope, that doesn't line up either. 

The performances, especially Rogers, were above board and grounded me enough to overlook the overall implausibility of the situation. For instance, I had no idea that loony bins had construction and electrical classes to facilitate their denizens building themselves accommodations upon release. Also, I assume most wives know what their husband's handwriting looks like? And that neighbour? He's always peeping on Julie, but somehow missed Busey climbing all over the roof and burying multiple bodies in the yard? That last one would have made sense if he got murdered for being a wtiness, but he didn't? How does a character who was even creepier than the antagonist survive?? Anyway, I digress.

Having said that, Busey actually showed restraint in this role, initially coming off as someone who really wanted to get better. In fact, his presence at the start was almost helpful. He prevented the daughter from drowning in the pool, taught the son how to defend himself against the school bully and shielded Julie from the aforementioned neighbour's advances. If he hadn't already murdered the family dog and an unfortunate exterminator by this point, I might have said this unknown tenant was almost a positive. However, it is also quite possible he was driven over the edge by the incessant chirping of that cricket that was stuck in there with him.

In addition to the usual shits and gigs you get from a man-in-the-walls movie, there were also a few other intriguing things going on. I noticed there was a shift where Busey's character went from looking at Julie as a mother figure to wanting to become the husband. I'm not sure if that was triggered by witnessing anti-social behaviour (like pyromania) in the son and wanting to help, but it offered more depth than I was expecting. 

Overall, this was quite entertaining and even if it did play out rather predictability (minus the almost Black Christmas-like nod at the end) there's some good stuff in here.

No comments: