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Hysterical (1983)


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Release Date: Jan 1, 1983 Wide



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 2,386

My Rating

Movie Info

During the peak of the slasher-movie boom of the early '80s, there were numerous attempts at Airplane!-style horror parodies, all of which fell considerably short of their comic targets and vanished into cable-TV obscurity. Hysterical, an abortive vehicle for the questionable comic talents of the Hudson Brothers, is perhaps the weakest of the lot. Bill Hudson plays Fred Lansing, a writer vacationing at a rustic lighthouse in the deceptively idyllic Oregon fishing town of Hellview, where he is


Horror, Comedy

Jan 30, 2001

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All Critics (4) | Fresh (0) | Rotten (4) | DVD (1)

Tries real hard, but yields very little. Deservedly obscure early 80's horror spoof.

July 25, 2002

Audience Reviews for Hysterical

I loved it as a kid when they showed this movie every free Pay-TV weekend in the 80's. It had funny jokes about my favorite horror films. It was just as good as Airplane! I thought.

Now it's a bit goofy, dated and cheesy. The Ralph character who rode the bike and kept saying "You're all doomed!" got pretty annoying.

The Hudson Brothers had lame jokes; where did they come from, and where did they go after this weird film? Boys, it just isn't funny anymore.

I loved the Venecia ghost woman (Julie Newmar) in the lighthouse, and her freaky husband Captain Howdy (Richard Kiel).

The intentionally-generic opening title song is still funny today.

"What difference does it make?"
July 10, 2007

Super Reviewer

Long before the Wayans brothers dragged the horror spoof genre through the gutter with their Scary Movie series, The Hudson Brothers wrote and starred in this little gem that spoofs every horror movie from Jaws to The Exorcist. When a novelist retreats to sleepy little Hellview to recharge his writing batteries, he becomes immersed in a 100 year old mystery involving a haunted lighthouse, and the discovery of the long dead lighthouse keeper, Captain James Howdy. The townsfolk call in two inept...whoops, I mean intrepid adventurers, Dr. Paul Baton and Fritz, to investigate what it all means. When the corpse of Captain Howdy returns to life, he begins killing townspeople, turning them in to turtleneck wearing zombies who say only "What difference does it make?" It's all tied in to the spirit that inhabits the light in the lighthouse. Completely non-sensical, cheesy, and juevenille, it's also inexplicably entertaining. Set on the Oregon coast, the movie does contain a certain cool atmosphere that adds to the movies charm. A lot of well known character actors make the most of their small roles, including Murray Hamilton, spoofing his own role of the town mayor from Jaws. As usual, he refuses to close the beaches. Watch for John Larroquette in a small role as the worlds worst tour boat guide, Bob X. Cursion. Other genre character actors include Richard "Jaws" Kiel, Julie "Catwoman" Newmar, Franklyn Ajaye, and Cindy Pickett. Parodies of Dracula, Jaws, The Exorcist, Friday the 13th, Night Of The Living Dead, and countless others abound, culminating in a dancing zombie musical number. Not a gut busting laugh riot, but incredibly charming, and undeniably fun. I don't think the movie ever got a theatrical release. It's one of those movies I discovered long ago on cable, thinking I was the only one who ever saw it. Over the years I've met many others who have the same "Oh yeah, I remember that movie! I love that movie!" moment of recognition when I mention it. A cult movie if there ever was one.
October 8, 2008
RJ MacReady

Super Reviewer

Remember the Hudson Brothers? That wacky comedy team that follows in the footsteps of the Marx Bros? Don't worry, no on does.
Still, I loved it when I was a kid, especially "The Hop" scene. I would really love to see this one again.
March 23, 2008

Super Reviewer

    1. The Mayor: Kate says you're a real schizoid ass.
    – Submitted by Caitlin M (6 months ago)
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