11/18/08

Terrifying Tuesday: Hide and Creep (2004)


Having spent so much time talking about Italian films lately, I was feeling a bit like some domestic fare. So I pulled out a flick that I've seen several times and each time love more and more. This is one that very nearly made my Halloween list, and in retrospect might have deserved a spot. Some come with me to the land of the Crimson Tide, to a little town called Torsby, Alabama, a little town with a big problem and an all new way of solving it, a place where we can play....

Hide and Creep (2004) starring Chris Hartsell, Chuck Hartsell, Kyle Holman, Barry Austin, Melissa Bush, Chris Garrison, and Barry Austin. Directed by Chuck Harsell and Chance Shirley.

The phone at the video store has been ringing off the hook. It seems everyone in town is looking for zombie movies to watch, and it's up to Chuck (Hartsell) to tell them that nothing is available. No Night, no Day, and no Dawn. No Zombi 1-6. No Evil Dead (although Chuck does inform the caller it's not a zombie film.) Everything is checked out because people are planning on how to defend themselves against the zombies they've heard about on AM radio.

But Thorsby is a busy town, and all the activity can't be limited to the video store. Ted
(Garrison) is just waking up in a tree after a night where he thinks he might have been abducted by aliens, lost his girlfriend, and the thing he loves most his 64 1/2 fully restored Mustang. Oh, and there's the little matter that he's missing his pants. Meanwhile, the first meeting of the Thorsby gun club has come to order. The main event for today is learning lessons from The Spice Channel on the clubhouse's new satellite dish. Sadly the generator goes out just as the club is settling in, so they send Ken outside to check it out. When he doesn't come back for a while, Keith (Holeman), Lee, and Ned go to check on him, and they find him in the woods being snacked upon by a gaggle of zombies. No problem for the gun club, but what are they without their guns, running for their clubhouse post haste is what they are.

Chuck's day keeps getting worse and worse as he has his own encounter with a shuffling undead. He dispatches it with a blow from a VCR loaded up with a tape of Romero's first. When he tries to call the cops, the dispatcher, Barbara (Bush) lets him know that the sheriff is out of town and any problems that do not follow her criteria ("Are you hurt? Are you in immediate danger?) will have to wait for Monday. So what's a guy to do to try and salvage his day except take the dead guy over to the police station and drop him off with a post it that reads, "Dead Guy, Call Chuck." and his number.

Barbara is not too keen on a corpse in the office, but Chuck goes on to have some breakfast
(and debate the age old question, "Will Pepsi be alright?" when he asks for a Coke.) Barbara calls in her ex-boyfriend/ ex-deputy Chris (Hartsell), and he reluctantly hits the streets to do something about the body. Once the mysterious Homeland Security Agent F hits town, the dead are really starting to rise. It culminates in a tangle web of zombies, threats from within, a Reverend and his tasty flock, a supermarket gone Lord of the Flies, and cars become hard commodities to hold onto as Barbara and Ted find out. It's up to Chis to save the day, and for Chuck to kick back, raid the evidence locker, and take some questions from the press all in time to see the Crimson Tide roll.

Film Facts

--Director Chance Shirley kept an online journal of the making of the picture on The Movie
Poop Shoot area of Kevin Smith's Quickstop Entertainment site under the title This Movie Ain't Gonna Shoot Itself.

--The film is an offshoot of a short film entitled Birthday Call where a man trapped in a basement by zombies calls his best friend to wish him a happy birthday.

-- Chance Shirley currently keeps a blog called Everyone on Mars Is Dead about the making of his new film Interplanetary.

--Kyle Holman who played Keith also appeared in Sleepaway Camp III: Unhappy Campers.

The Bug Speaks
The biggest problem with this film is twofold. It's incredibly hard to synopsize the flick and give the impression of the hilarity that ensues in even it's most casual lines. The other problem is that I really like this film; so take my objectivity as being flawed at best with this one. This is the kind of film that gives the low budget revolution a good name, and there are times that those low budget gems seem far between.

The acting is well above par in all the lead characters (and there are quite a few), but I would have to say that Holman and the Hartsell brothers carry most of the weight. Also, there's a really stunning performance from Barry Austin as a used and abused small town priest who ends up having his "I'm mad as hell" moment just before he chows down on the congregation. Of the two brothers, Chuck is really the standout. With his easy wit and laid back manner he
seems like Randal from Clerks Alabama cousin. On the whole the entire cast does very well with the exception of a couple characters whose screen time is thankfully limited.

The story is also dealt with quite well. For a film with as many "lead" roles as Pulp Fiction it handled the balance between the characters deftly. All of them had ample time to become fully realized, and amazingly, even with that the plot never got bogged down. With a steady roll of jokes, minor exposition, and zombie fighting, by the time these zombie's weakness is revealed it fits perfectly as another facet of this world. This movie is a simple comedy at heart... with zombies, but unlike it's most easily compared to counterpart Shawn of the Dead, it never pauses to tug the heartstrings because it's too busy tickling your funny bone.

If the film has a flaw, then it's the medium itself that allowed it to be possible. The advent of DV means that films can be shot by amateurs, but it also means that they can be shot by amateurs. This film does well better than most, but there are still more than a few frames where one would wish that this same film had been made with more traditional means. However, who is to know if it would have turned out the same. (Edit: I did receive a e-mail from Chance that let me know that the film was shot on 16mm not DV. The mastering of the DVD was more to blame than the stock it was shot on. I do apologise for my mistake.)

This is just one of those films that after seeing it once I knew it would join the pantheon of flicks I would see again and again. Anyone who likes horror and a good laugh should be checking this one out, and turn your lights out when you watch it--- you'll be much safer.

Bug Rating

3 comments:

  1. This is one of my very favorites. Always good fun. Also, I did not know that a group of zombies was called a gaggle. Verrry informative,LB!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I LOVE this movie ~ one of my Favorite Zombie Flicks!

    Like you stated - well worth repeated viewings!

    Fantastic Review!!

    P.S. I do not remember who it was, but somebody had it on their Halloween List

    ReplyDelete
  3. As I recall it was on Fran's Top 5 List.

    It really is a wonderful film, andI'm glad you enjoyed the film breaker.

    ReplyDelete

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