AustinChef Reviews THE HIDDEN (1987)

This is one of those really easy movies to review: If you haven’t seen The Hidden then what the fuck is wrong with you?? This is a kickass movie that effortlessly blends genres and does it beautifully. It’s a scifi-horror-action flick with moments of black comedy that works on every level. Writer Jim Kouf takes inspiration from such classic movies like The Thing and Invasion of the Body Snatchers and then adds some great action sequences. What we end up with is a completely enjoyable, fast-paced flick that will have you glued to the screen. Yes, there isn’t a lot of gore in this one, but the entire project is so much fun you’ll forgive it (and I rarely forgive a movie for not having enough gore in it). But there’s a scene where the alien is transferring from one body to another that will have you gagging!!

The story has FBI agent Lloyd Gallagher, played by the great Kyle MacLachlan, on the trail of a mad, psychotic serial killer who seems to have no motive or pattern other than liking fast cars, loud music, greasy food, and generally stealing whatever he wants. Add to this the fact he kills just as randomly whenever he feels the urge (which is often). Tom Beck, played by Michael Nouri, is the local cop teamed up with MacLachlan and the two of them have really good chemistry together. They do that typical 80’s cop pairing where one cop is “the loose cannon” and the other is more “by the book.” When they catch the killer and Nouri thinks the case is closed MacLachlan tells him there’s a new killer with the same M/O (or lack of one). This is when the fun really starts and the plot gets interesting. In case you haven’t seen this before I won’t go into any more plot details. But you MUST see this movie. I promise you won’t be disappointed. MacLachlan gives a great performance as the dedicated, if not obsessed, FBI agent who will stop at nothing to bring down the killer(s). It’s a quirky and odd performance that no doubt got him the role as Agent Dale Cooper on Twin Peaks a few years later.

Director Jack Sholder really hits his stride here. Sholder also directed the creepy Alone in the Dark (1982) and the unfortunately dreadful A Nightmare on Elm Street, Part 2 (1985), and the excellent political thriller By Dawn’s Early Light (1990). But here he really shines as he deftly directs scary horror scenes, creepy sci-fi shots, and heart pounding action sequences.

One problem with this flick is that it has a very dated feel to it. There’s no doubt this film was made in the 1980’s … it, in fact, drowns in the 80’s!! The total absence of cell phones is the first give-away, but there are so many more clues: In the police station none of the detectives have computers on their desks. They’re all using typewriters to type up their police reports. The one printer that’s actually in the police department is a dot matrix printer that is about the size of a Volkswagen Bug. In another scene we see our psycho shoplifting tape cassettes from a record store. Kids; a “record” is a large, circular piece of vinyl with music stamped into its’ grooves. Your parents use to buy them to listen to their favorite bands. It’s a little slice of the 80’s.

But the most telling scene that sets this flick firmly in the 80’s is when a guy is finishing up his paperwork for the new Ferrari he’s buying. Sitting on top of the salesman’s desk in his office is a model of a Ferrari with a trunk full of cocaine. They are signing the papers, “sealing the deal,” and doing big bumps of coke right off the guy’s desk. Aahhh the 1980’s; where excess and greed went to get repeatedly gang raped. These few scenes really make this movie a fun slice of 1980’s life. It’s almost like looking at a time capsule.

Besides the lack of gore that I mentioned above, another area this flick was lacking in was with the killer himself. We are told how ruthless and murderous and psychotic the killer is. Yet we really don’t get to witness this. In the above mentioned scene where the killer is shoplifting in the record store he ends up beating the store manager to death. Ok, that’s kinda mean; but we’ve been told this guy has butchered children. Here’s a scene where they think they’ve caught the killer:

Doctor: Detective Beck; no one deserves to die like that. I don’t care what the man’s done.

Detective: He killed twelve people, wounded twenty three more, stole six cars, most of them Ferraris. Robbed eight banks, six supermarkets, four jewelry stores and a candy shop. Six of the ones he killed he carved up with a butcher knife. Two of them were kids. He did all that in two weeks. If anyone deserves to go that way, it sure as hell was him.

I just think Sholder could have added in some scenes where we get too see just how crazy and sociopathic the killer really is. It’s just a case of what we see in the movie not living up too what we are told. It does have an “R” rating after all!! But these small complaints aside, this is one fun movie that you’ll enjoy. If you like sexy sports cars, loud rock music, big lines of coke, and strippers with machine guns, then you definitely need to check this one out. But stay away from The Hidden 2 … that one sucks out loud.

Director: Jack Sholder
Stars: 5 (out of 5)
Gore: 1.5 out of 10 skulls
Zombies: 0 out of 5 brains

4 Responses to “AustinChef Reviews THE HIDDEN (1987)”

  1. ‘Blue Velvet’ and ‘The Hidden’ rocked my world, and at the time I thought that Maclachlan was the greatest actor on the planet. I had me one major hardcore crush on Mr. Maclachlan!

    The excessiveness of the 80’s! It brings a special entertaining ugliness to the mix. Big hair, big shoulders, big computers, big piles of coke, big ego’s.

  2. Ahhhhhh The Hidden! I love this movie! I have not seen this one for so long now. It was one of those movies that I knew all about but could never think of the name for it so it made finding it impossible.

    Usually the kid at the local HMV, which probably has the best selection of movies around here, wouldn’t get me going ‘Okay, there’s two cops and this weird alien thing that goes in them and makes them kill things….’

    Where was Goregirls Dungeon all those many years ago when I couldn’t remember this movie????

  3. 24hourstomidnight Says:

    We have the Hidden 2!!!

  4. austinchef08 Says:

    BEWARE of The Hidden 2. It’s a terrible movie that doesn’t recapture any of the fun of the first Hidden. I’m not sure, but part 2 may have been a made-for-cable-TV movie. A really terrible flick.

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