Ellen Carlyle (Heather Thomas) is a TV anchorwoman who is looking forward to taking some time off. The only problem is that everyone — from a crazed homeless man to an escaped convict that she helped put behind bars — wants to kill her. She assumes that she’ll be safe if she just spends her vacation in a remote cabin in the mountains. Fortunately, she’s got Deputy Ben Scanlon to look after her and keep her company in bed. Unfortunately, Deputy Scanlon is played by Jan-Michael Vincent and Jan-Michael Vincent in a 90s direct-to-video flick is always bad news. Ellen’s cameraman (Nick Celozzi) discovers that Scanlon is not really who he says he is but will he be able to warn Ellen in time?
By the standards of late night Cinemax, Hidden Obsession is tame. Ellen Carlye is a role that Shannon Tweed could have worked wonders with but instead, television actress Heather Thomas gives a flat, listless, and usually clothed performance in the starring role. Fortunately, this movie was made just before Jan-Michael Vincent started his final decline so, even though it is obvious that he had seen better days by the time he got around to playing Ben Scanlon, Vincent is still capable of giving a halfway decent performance. Vincent throws himself into playing the psycho and he shows that, if not for the liquor and the drugs, he could have had a long and decent career as a B-movie villain. Imagine if Vincent had been sober enough for Quentin Tarantino to give him the opportunities that he gave to Robert Forster and Michael Parks. Unfortunately, it was not to be.
“Love hurts!” Ellen says. It would be easy to say that this film hurts too but it’s really not memorable enough to be so bad that it’s good. Like Witchtrap and Deadly Compansion, this film’s main appeal is to nostalgia. These are the type of films that not only used to show up on late night Cinemax but which also lined the walls of your local Blockbuster. These are movies of a bygone era. Watch while you still can.