Hideous! (1997)

No, no… That’s not the title of my Tinder profile. Nope, Hideous! is the final chapter of the Full Moon Fever III: For the Love of Jacqueline Lovell theme month here on B-Movie Enema. It’s been a pretty good one, hasn’t it? We had Head of the Family, which was a solid entry from Charles Band himself. We had Ms. Lovell seductively host an anthology in the confusingly titled Lolida 2000. We had a somewhat infamous entry from the end of the 90s that she headlined, The Killer Eye.

Alas, all good things must come to an end.

And an end is what we’ll experience with 1997’s Hideous! Much like with other mid to late 90s Full Moon films (i.e. the Subspecies series), we find ourselves in Romania for this final entry. Romania has long been attracting film companies, particularly those wanting to save some scratch on production costs, for a number of reasons. A lot of people in Romania are skilled enough laborers to build sets, do bit role or extra work, do stunts, and the location is generally interesting in terms of looks. Hell, even today you can find many productions being made in Eastern Europe like xXx from the earlier part of the 2000s, Season of the Witch with Nic Cage and Ron Perlman, or much more recently like with Watcher starring Maika Monroe. It seems as though it’s easy to spot when a movie gets made in that part of the country for some reason. Oftentimes, it’s not spectacularly great that you recognize that as a shooting location because it could some indication of the quality of the film.

But! C’mon… This is Hideous! This is still from the era of Full Moon that didn’t completely bottom out (I’m looking at you Gingerdead Man), so it has to be good… right?

Uh… right?

Anyway, I will say one thing that I can’t help but see when I see this box art and read some of the description on the back. which reads, “Dr. Lorca, an eccentric collector of biological oddities, has just ‘acquired’ his greatest specimen: a horrible mutant born of toxic sewage… but the creature’s rightful owner wants it back. The collectors’ clash is cut short though, as the sickening specimen comes to life, re-animating an angry, oozing little army of ferocious freaks.”

Did you catch it there? “Little army…” Yeah, it seems as though Charles Band loves the idea of little monsters. Hideous! has them. Subspecies is named for them. Puppet Master has them right there in the title. Dollman and Demonic Toys! He’s got little goobers and goblins all over the place! But that’s cool. You know why? Because I like goblins and goobers. I even like Raisinets.

Alright, let’s not delay this any longer. Let’s get into Hideous! and I’ll close things out with a few final words about our lady of the hour, Jacqueline Lovell!

Again, I have to say that I do so dearly love how quick and to the point Full Moon gets. The movie has barely started and BOOM! there’s the title on the screen. That’s great. Don’t force us to sit around and wait for, like, 5-10 minutes to get things going. You give us the title, the cast, and the crew and we’re off into the movie itself without a moment’s delay. I do like this credit sequence too because it’s all these fairly close up shots of gross things in specimen jars. I dare say it’s… Hideous!

Right, so the movie begins with guys skimming the sewage. Basically, if something gets into the sewer trap, they have to catch it. The most experienced of the trio talks about all the weird stuff he’s fished out. He’s found a kilo of cocaine, an engagement ring (which he gave to his girl), money, disembodied hands without fingerprints, and deformed embryos. Speaking of fetuses and embryos, one of the new guys fishes out something fairly gross and squishy. It looks like a mass of scarred flesh. The supervisor tells the guys to not worry about it. He’ll take care of it.

And take care of it he does by loading it into a cooler and taking it home where he can sell it to a dealer where the rest of the bizarre things he’s fished out of the sewer can be found.

He calls a woman named Belinda Yost. She deals these biological oddities to collectors. This most recent find has Belinda particularly excited. She hurriedly goes to meet this sewer guy, Martin. On the way out, she tells her clueless receptionist, the ditzy, but cute, Elvina, to call a particular collector, Napoleon Lazar. However, Elvina knows that another client, Dr. Lorca, has a particular interest in these specimens too.

She calls Lorca to give him the skinny on Belinda working with another collector behind his back. He’s quite upset about the dishonesty on display from the dealer. You see, Lorca has paid Belinda a retainer for years to always make sure he has the first shot at the oddities. However, she’s giving this other guy an inside track. Well, he’s not going to stand for it.

At least he’s got a hot assistant.

Hell yeah! It’s our girl, Jacqueline Lovell, playing Dr. Lorca’s girl Friday, Sheila. Again, like we saw last week in the later film in her career, The Killer Eye, we see her display more than just those lovely breasts of hers. She’s got a brain. She also seems to have some power in this coupling with Dr. Lorca. She says that she cuts the checks when Lorca pays Belinda for her services. She suggests that Lorca use the information he’s gotten from Elvina and be just as dishonest as he’s being treated.

Martin gets his payment from Belinda and he gives her the specimen. Napoleon Lazar meets with Belinda who tells him that he’s going to go bonkers over what she has to show him. She thinks this is so great he’ll give buy at least $200,000 a year for the next ten years for specimens. She says if he doesn’t want to buy, she’ll just go to Lorca. Lazar doesn’t care much for the Doctor just as the Doc doesn’t like this upper class collector. She opens the cooler and he is indeed wowed. He pays $650,000 for this specimen. He will begin to buy from her at the rate she quoted him on a yearly basis.

After obtaining the specimen, Lazar is driving away. Lorca and Sheila are waiting to ambush him and get that specimen. A car is blocking Lazar’s private road and it looks like a girl is dead or overdosed or something and hanging out the window. He approaches to see what is going on with this woman and Sheila, wearing only a gorilla mask, pops up and holds Lazar at gunpoint.

Sheila cuffs Lazar to a tree and she grabs the cooler from his car. There’s some actually kind of playful dialog here between Sheila and Lazar. He says to her that she’s gotta be aware she’s going to jail. She says she has been there many times but they keep letting her out. He asks why she’s topless (like a dumbass) and she comments on being “free and woman”. Jacqueline disguises her voice in a funny way too that just has a bunch of fun with her being topless, wearing the mask, being tough, and everything. Again, when Full Moon is on, they are having a blast making movies and you will have a blast watching them. In the Video Zone featurette for this movie, they said it was very cold that day but Jacqueline was all about doing it nude.

She’s a special one, my lovelies.

Lorca puts his new acquisition in its place in his collection room… Which also just seems like a dungeon in the basement of a castle. He tells the little guy he’ll be loved and kisses the jar they’ve placed him in. This guy really likes his specimens. In fact, Sheila asks if he wants to be left alone with the new item. He says… yes and he’s not going to have dinner tonight. She excuses herself by saying that she is going to have dinner and get rid of the car they used for the heist.

There’s a whole operation here. She gets rid of the car in a part of the Romanian countryside that also, apparently, has quicksand. She returns and dumps the cooler and the ape mask into an acid bath that is hidden under a trap door in one of the rooms. They have a pretty professional thing in this place. That does beg the question, though… Why have the acid bath under the trap door to get rid of evidence and such? Do they often hijack people who bought medical curiosities? Sheila says she always thought she’d be a good highway robber. Is this the first time they’ve done this or is it just the first time she’s been involved with this side of the procurement?

I dunno and I’m not sure I care. I can say I care that I definitely appreciate Jacqueline not wearing a shirt this entire movie. And, even better? She doesn’t mind being completely topless and “free” whenever she’s outside! What a woman!

One thing I do know is that the specimen was not lifeless because it wakes up while Lorca is asleep.

Just look at that thing, would ya? Again, when Full Moon is on, they are really on. That’s a fantastic prop of an ugly mutant monster thing. I’m glad this is living up to the title of the movie, because this thing truly is hideous.

What’s more is that it has tentacles that it uses to pop its lid off and get into the other mutants’ jars and, I guess, give them life!

Everything about this is brilliant. All the little monsters start slowly moving in their jars. I’m gonna guess they aren’t going to like being part of a collection.

Once Lazar gets free, he and Belinda go to a private detective. The private dick has a hard time with what Belinda does and why Lazar wants to buy this shit. Lazar says it could be no other person than Dr. Emilio Lorca. Kantor, the private eye, asks if Lorca had knowledge that Lazar had this “goober” (yes, he calls it a “goober” and it’s brilliant). Lazar is quite curious how he could know this too. Belinda claims she constantly checks to make sure her office isn’t bugged. So, how could he know Belinda had this specimen and was going to sell it to Lazar? Kantor asks about Elvina. Belinda thinks Elvina is too stupid to be dishonest.

So Kantor brings Elvina in and tells her that Dr. Lorca was arrested and told the police that she helped him steal that goober from Lazar. He says that Lorca even told them she held the gun to Lazar’s face. She immediately calls Lorca a fucker and then says all she did to help him was tell him about the specimen. Whoopsies.

Belinda gets pissed about it and shouts that she only dealt with Elvina’s typing and shitty receptionist work because she thought the girl was too stupid to betray her. So Belinda says she’s fired… from everywhere… from the fucking universe. That’s a brilliant fucking line. But I digress. Kantor tells Elvina that he lied to her and the police know nothing about Lorca. Elvina has a good laugh over it and then says she lied too. Belinda smacks her on the head and calls her a “poon dog” (another great line).

But Elvina gets her shot in. She only helped Lorca because Belinda broke her word and the agreed upon deal with the doctor. Elvina then unloads and tells everyone that Belinda is immoral, doesn’t wear panties, and fucks men in her office on her desk. Kantor tells Elvina she can’t go anywhere. In fact, once the police know about Lorca, she’s going to be an accessory before the fact. She doesn’t understand that. So Kantor tells it to her straight… The only thing she’s gonna do is help get the aforementioned goober back from Lorca or she’s going to jail.

Kantor tells Belinda what the plan will be. She’s to call Lorca and tell him she’s got something for him. However, instead of him coming to meet her, she must insist that she come to him. She’ll not let on anything about knowing that Lazar was robbed. Once he agrees to see her, she, along with Kantor, Lazar, and Elvina, will go over to Lorca’s place and get the goober back.

By the way, I am already liking this movie a lot. It’s a lot of fun. It’s just over the crest of Full Moon’s best years, but it’s still among the company’s good productions. It’s playful. It’s funny. And goddammit I love that Kantor keeps calling the specimen thing a “goober.” It makes me giggle every time I hear him say it.

It isn’t long after the quartet shows up that Lorca is open about the fact that he was only trying to preserve his rights to first refusal and Belinda wasn’t holding up her end of that deal. Lazar says Lorca sent his “vixen” to rob him to which Sheila claims she never saw Lazar before in her life. Still, Lorca says they have nothing. They just have the knowledge that he spoke to Elvina. However, Kantor plays a taped recording of Elvina saying that Lorca planned to steal the specimen and use Sheila to do it.

There’s a lot of back and forth between Lorca and Lazar, but what it all boils down to is a goober-off… If Lazar can prove that any of his supposed oddities is as perfect or as high quality as Lorca’s, he’ll make sure the prized item is returned to Lazar. If he cannot, then Lorca wants Lazar to be out of his way, and his life, forever.

So, while Elvina just kind of exists, Belinda smokes cigarettes, and Kantor chats up Sheila about all her pretty little personality traits like always sitting on top of tables and being thiiiiis close to being fully tits out all the time, Lazar is alone in Lorca’s study looking at the specimens on display. Lazar is truly wowed by what Lorca has. The size. The condition. It’s all a bit of much for him. He realizes his collection and his life’s work has been a sham. Lazar is nearly admitting defeat when he realizes that he’s only seeing other biological specimens. He’s not seen the human specimens.

They go to the basement only to find broken jars and missing specimens.

Enraged, Lorca immediately suspects Lazar and jumps him. As the men wrestle on the ground, Lorca bites, and hangs onto, Lazar’s ear. Kantor is able to separate the two men. Lorca demands to know what Lazar did with his specimens. But, as Kantor, points out, it’s clear that Lazar couldn’t have had the time to find and hide the specimens. Belinda spots that the alcohol that they were stored in looks like it’s being led to the vents. Kantor checks but he finds nothing.

Now, Lorca doesn’t believe the specimens have gotten loose and walked away. But that is exactly what happened. We see the four goobers in the vent and they are talking and making plans. In the castle, Lorca has Sheila seal the place so nothing can get out. That also means the goobers are also trapped. Now, while Kantor doesn’t carry a gun, Belinda feels they still have a 4-2 advantage and they could jump Lorca and Sheila quickly. That is until Sheila brings a gun to a fisting party… er… a fistfight.

Lorca has Lazar, Elvina, Cantor, and Belinda locked in a room. Inside the castle walls, our main mutant goober is reading some books by candlelight while the other monsters are banging on the walls. This catches Kantor’s attention and he starts knocking back. Kantor thinks it might be someone else locked in another room. Lazar is curious that if it is another person, why would they knock instead of simply answer? Belinda takes charge and asks if whoever it is that’s knocking can unlock the door.

The little goobers write a note and slip it under the door.

The note is kind of gibberish, but it’s close to looking like English. Well, enough for Elvina to be able to read that it says “Door locked how open?” Kantor tells the goobers they need to get a crowbar and pry the door open.

Meanwhile, Lorca is getting more and more frustrated trying to find his “babies” that he still thinks someone might have stolen, stashed, or, worse, dumped in the acid bath. Sheila, though, is cool as a cucumber and sexy as a pickle (I thought that would look better than it seemingly sounded in my head). She says that someone locked in that room knows something. Her plan? Start motivating them. Probably with violence.

Sexy, sexy violence.

The goobers get the door open. Struck by the fact that these little mutants are alive, Lazar is practically creaming his jeans over them. Like Pokemon, he wants to catch them all. He offers Elvina, Kantor, and Belinda a million bucks each to help him catch the creatures. When Lorca and Sheila show up, Lorca’s thrilled that his babies are alive, and that he found them. Sheila seems a little less than thrilled.

Lazar says he’s going to give the goobers the home they all deserved. He wants to give them gourmet food, fine education, and actually let them live lives. His impassioned speech makes one of the goobers cry. Belinda tosses a blanket over them and tries to round them up. However, the one that looks like he’s got porcupine spikes, stick her with those quills in her ass. The larger, strong one grabs hold of Sheila and tries pulling at her hair. The one guy who is basically just a head with some hands grabs Sheila’s gun and starts shooting at them. They run off and take refuge in Sheila’s room.

Lazar pulls the quills out of Belinda’s ass. The two of them come up with a plan to get Lorca and Sheila dealt with. Meanwhile, Lorca and Kantor talk about how they need to reason with the goober that was most recently obtained. He seems to be the ringleader. The goobers come to the door to negotiate. Their note says they want to leave. If they don’t let them out of the castle, they’ll kill everyone.

Meanwhile, the strong goober has taken a liking to Elvina and has snuck into the room and under the covers to breastfeed from her.

Elvina freaks out and after she’s able to get the goober off her, she runs out of the room. Kantor follows but she trips over a wire set up by one of the creatures and falls to her death over a ledge. Her breastfeeding buddy mourns over her. It’s kind of sad actually. The poor little guy liked her and now she’s dead!

Lazar tries to cut a deal with the goobers. He says he’ll take them out of the house and give them a good life, but, first, they need to kill Lorca and Sheila. Lorca counters with how he’ll take care of them and take them on drives. They chase the main goober and when it retreats again into the walls, Lorca and Lazar wrestle again. But fuck that! We’re in a castle. Why not settle this like men from the days of castles would have dealt with their squabbles?

I mean… There are only, like, eight minutes left in this movie. Why not just have a sword fight? Belinda tries to stop the guys fighting, but she can’t get through to them so she decides to keep looking for the specimens. She starts down the stairs to the basement and another of the goobers’ Home Alone booby trap goes off and kills her with some spike swinging down to her gut. When Lorca and Lazar get over the trap door, they trigger it and the two collectors fall into the acid bath.

Having enough of this shit, Sheila lures the goobers out with a card that has the key code to unlock everything in the castle keeping them in. They come over to her as she sits over the acid bath and tricks them by tossing them all into the acid, killing them.

As they leave the castle, Sheila gives Kantor a proposition… Why not let her throw in with him as a private investigator? He could be the brains and she could be the muscle. After all, she’s very loyal to the right employer. Kantor thinks about that with both his brain and what’s sure to be a raging boner based on how she looked at him when she said that. As they drive away, we see that the goobers didn’t all fall into the acid. They survived and stashed themselves in his trunk.

I really enjoyed this movie. It’s a great balance of the lighter tones with comedy and the goopy goober monsters. The monsters look great. Jacqueline Lovell looks great. Everyone looks like they are having fun. I liked Mel Johnson, Jr. as Lazar. Before this, he was on TV and even appeared in Total Recall. Nobody is really holding back and that makes for a really fun movie.

As much as I would have liked having a tad more budget to see the goobers in much better detail, I can’t fault them for doing what they could to kind of hide that these really are slimy puppets. That said, I like that they are mostly kept to shadows. I like that the main ringleader of the quartet whispers to them. It is kind of creepy. You do almost feel sorry for the goobers too. There’s enough to have some empathy. After all, they were being kept in jars. Now they are being fought over to be basically kept again as possessions. If I was one of those goobers, I’d probably go on a killing spree too. But the puppetry itself on the creatures is great. This is what you want from Full Moon and it’s a great way to close out this edition of Full Moon Fever.

Before we go, though, let’s put a punctuation on Jacqueline Lovell, our leading lady of the entire month of movies. While it was last week that we covered the latest film of the theme, 1999’s The Killer Eye, I think we can take this time to sum up what Lovell did in the 2000s. In 1999, she got married to Edward Nyahay. The pair is still married to this day. That’s great! They have a daughter, Zyla Nyahay. Zyla’s been in movies now herself. Lovell spent most of the post-90s taking on guest roles on TV. She did appear in movies here and there, and she was the star of one that her husband made, but most of the films she appeared in during the 2000s were very small parts or uncredited. She eventually returned to a Full Moon production called Trophy Heads. In that, she basically played herself. It was a reunion of sorts for scream queens that worked with Charles Band productions and they are being hunted by a crazed fan making the girls redo their best known scenes. I’m sure, someday, mayhaps, we’ll get that one on here.

One thing I keep thinking every time I see her is how totally 90s she is. She has a west coast look to her that was so common in models, especially pornographic or generally nude models. Blonde hair and blue eyed, kind of a girl next door look with a hint of extra sex appeal. Most of the time this month, we saw her looking a tad more natural. Not very heavy on lipstick or eyeshadow or mascara. It gives her this much more real look to her that makes you think of her kind of like the girl you could have gone to school with or had a huge crush on. It is said that when she posed for Playboy, it sold out quickly in her home town because all the guys she went to school with bought up all the copies. I can definitely see that. I have seen some of the videos that were produced just before she became a face for Full Moon Features and it is a little strange seeing her with heavy makeup on. Not bad… just different. Personally, I appreciate the more natural look for her because that’s what makes her so appealing in these movies. I will say, though, it was the era of the early 90s when she was modeling under the name Sara St. James to have a particular look and hair style. Regardless, she is kind of the quintessential 90s babe and, goddammit, as a guy who spent the first half of that decade racked with raging hormones, I love her for it.

All that said, Jacqueline Lovell, or Jackie as she’s often referred to (at least by Charles Band), is much more than just a beautiful face and body. She’s played a few different roles during this month. Head of the Family had her with a southern accent and forced her to be tied up naked on a stake so she could be burned alive. In Lolida 2000, she is serving as a playful host of an anthology. The Killer Eye found her to be kind of powerful and was the money behind the scientist, and she was also sex starved. With Hideous!, she was kind of a villain. She strutted her stuff but was believable as a dangerous element while also still being easy to constantly stare at. She had ranges. You can tell with how she emotes or moves about a set that she really was a dedicated actress and spent time working to live within her role and make her performances either realistic or appropriate for that specific movie.

What I’m saying is that I don’t just like looking at her, I like watching her because she really is a good actress – especially in these Full Moon style horror romps.

So we may have concluded Full Moon Fever III, but we have more business to attend to next week. We’re gonna study some paranormal activities that might just go a little wonky. Join me here in seven days for 1989’s Nightwish. Now… If you don’t mind, let’s get one last look at our lovely Jackie Lovell, shall we?

What a lovely lady.

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