These days family can mean anything from the standard nuclear, 2.4 children, one mommy, one daddy job, to a group of friends brought together by nothing more than proximity and shared affection. It’s not always about kinship in the blood sense of the word, just affection, familiarity and a hopefully, happy coexistence.
Some of us weren’t so lucky though, we weren’t raised in love and Brady Bunch togetherness with a moral at the end of every episode (because, let’s face it, even the Brady’s ended up with a gay daddy dead from Aids related complications) , because some of us raised ourselves. Kid’s aren’t always wanted, or treated well, and the consequences of which are broken people unsure of their place in the world and how to interact with the people in it.
Figuring out your way in life is hard enough for those who have the best possible start in life, never mind those who have to fear the first people you are supposed to place your trust in. It definitely puts a tiny foot on the journey to Messed-Up- Ville, via Issues Town, with many bad decisions on the map of their future.
Your past is important, yes, but it shouldn’t define you. You can either take the crap that people give you and use it as a weapon to fight your way forward to something good, or you can drown yourself in misery and end your days somewhere worthy of your self pity, like prison, or rehab.
Hider in the House is the story of a person who had a hell of a bad start in life. Gary Busey. Or the character he plays in this film, even, Tom Sykes. Tom’s parents beat and abuse him every day of his young life, until one day he snaps like a dry twig, and burns all his problems to the ground in a house fire. The young arsonist spends a life in psychiatric care and upon release moves in with the first perfect example of family life he encounters. The only snag being, that they have absolutely no idea that there is an extra member living in their household.
This is a real eighties classic, that is both creepy and extremely heartbreaking all at once. Gary Busey’s reputation as a bit of a fruitcake pay off in this role, as he is extremely believable as the intense and tragic character of Tom, and brings a certain class to a film that without his performance would be another clichéd and predictable horror of the time. Every other performance in the movie is throwaway and forgettable but it is the sheer deranged charm of Busey’s performance that carries the entire film and turns the hackneyed plot into a real story of the affects of childhood trauma on the mind. It is much more atmospheric, and emotionally affecting than I had first expected, and as the stalking becomes less innocent and more obsessive, the film switches gear into a much more generic flow, and as it meanders towards the disappointingly predictable ending, it feels very lazy, like the writers and directors became bored and took the road of least resistance. It’s a real shame, for Hider in the House is a really great little B Movie, that could have been something special, but without the believability of Gary Busey as a slice of bread short of a loaf, could have also been a complete write off.
Trust me. They’ re probably watching you …