Called an audible last night since I needed something fun and fast to watch between school pickups, dinners, and other Dad-related duties, so I pulled The Hidden out from the Criterion Channel’s recent spotlight on 80s horror. Man, if ever a movie felt like all of the 80s rolled into one, it’s this one. And I mean that as a compliment (kind of) – you have actors who look like they’re in their 40s, car chases, aliens, flame throwers, budding buddy cop shenanigans. It’s a tacky, breathless kitchen sink approach and it works.
THE QUICK SUMMARY: After a man with no criminal record suddenly goes on a killing and robbery spree the cops are at a loss as to why. Things get worse when he dies and the patient next to him in the hospital gets up and continues the spree. Can Dt. Beck figure it out? And how does the mysterious Agent Lloyd Gallagher from the FBI fit into all of this? He says he’s after revenge because his partner, wife and child were killed, but soon things once hidden (get it) come to light and Beck realizes the world is much bigger than he thought…and it’s FILLED WITH CRIME!
Going to keep this one short. The excesses of the 80s, from the music to the cars to the costuming are all there, and Michael Nouri plays the downbeat detective who’s sick of this shit to perfection. By in the hands of Jack Shoulder it’s kind of a marvel how weird he gets with it. The gist of the story, which is an alien comes to earth to wreak havoc and does so by inserting its slug-like body into a host is weird enough, but then you throw Kyle McLaughlin in as *SPOILER* another alien who’s on earth to stop the evil alien and he can’t help but inject his unique oddness into everything. From his complete mystification as to how Alka Seltzer works to his similar penchant as the evil alien for fast cars…he’s a wonder in every scene, and brings a warmth and humanity to the film it might otherwise not have.
It does beg a few questions, though. Are both aliens the same kind of slug-like thing? If so, how did they fight on their home world? Why do they like fast cars and loud music? Wait…scratch that – that makes a lot of sense.
The Hidden is way more fun than you would except. The datedness of the film kind of makes it more endearing, and the practical effects hold up well. Catch it if you can, it’s a blast.