The Hidden (1987)

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The Hidden (1987)

Post  BoG on Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:00 pm

THE HIDDEN (1987) starring
co-starring CLAUDIA CHRISTIAN Like a Star @ heaven  CLARENCE FELDER
CLU GULAGER Like a Star @ heaven  ED O'ROSS Like a Star @ heaven  WILLIAM BOYETT
Directed by JACK SHOLDER

You listening? See, there's this alien (as in, from outer space); he or it likes to rob banks, steal cars and listen to heavy metal music. He or it is a real troublemaker. He or it doesn't mind killing to get what he/it wants; in fact, he/it kills quite a bit. He or it is a slug-like thing; and, it's in L.A. MacLachlan plays a cop; he's also from outer space; Nouri is also a cop, but he's from around here. The alien is played by at least 5 different actors, among them Chris Mulkey, Boyett as a middle-aged version, Christian as the female version and Felder & O'Ross as cop versions. Oh, yes, there is a sixth...but that would be telling. See, the slug-like alien moves from human body to human body in its quest for fun.
This begins with the sterile black&white footage of a bank's security camera. It preps us with some strange suspense in these first couple of minutes as the credits roll. Then it explodes into full color and I do mean explodes. This picture doesn't let up, always pulling the audience along, whether with dynamic auto chases, unexpected violence or unsettling revelations. But, its greatest asset is the dark humor: the most unforgettable scene is the alien acquiring a red Ferrari in that oddly alien style ("I want this car"). But there is plenty of this wry, fatalistic humor: Christian as an exotic dancer who suddenly likes to heft heavy guns; MacLachlan not familiar with all Earth customs; the bad alien's continual one-liners (he/it is always terse and to the point). This is a very creative take on an alien invader tale; the one a few years later, I Come in Peace, was similar but far less inventive.

The sensibilities in this one are a bit strange, too. The sense is that aliens are alike all over, not very different from us here; every solar system, it seems, has its own versions of cops, robbers, family men, serial killers and so on. The menace in this one is hard to kill - not impossible, just very difficult. It only needs to move on to another body when the one it occupies becomes too damaged to move well - sort of an outer space-zombie-type of deal; a few bullets won't cut it. It is, therefore, on the relentless side, similar to the Terminator (James Cameron's films) and approaching that for sheer B-movie thrills. The performances are all surprisingly good. If you haven't seen this, don't cheat yourself - it's not just another run-of-the-mill alien invader cheap sci-fi thriller and will constantly surprise you.
There was a sequel a few years later in 1993 but it was very poorly conceived and had little to do with this film. I don't remember it well, having seen it just once about a dozen years ago, but, from what I recall, it was one of the worst sequels I had ever seen. That's too bad. Bye!  
BoG's Score: 8.5 out of 10

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