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THE HIDDEN (1987) - R

When a murderous alien goes on a rampage in America, using the bodies of his victims as a host, another alien goes in pursuit of his enemy, assuming the body of a dead FBI agent in the process. Lots of action and gore thicken this original "Face-Off"-ish flick. 

The cast includes: Michael Nouri, Kyle MacLachlan, Ed O'Ross, Clu Gulager, Claudia Christian, and Clarence Christian.

Directed by: Jack Sholder.














When an average citizen goes on a murderous crime spree, a Los Angeles detective joins up with an odd F.B.I. man to pursue him. At the hospital, a weird slug creature goes from the injured criminal's mouth into that of a dead man, who comes to life and splits the hospital.

The revived dead man kills a guy, steals a Ferrari, and pigs out at a restaurant. He ends up changing bodies numerous times, continuing his crime spree. The F.B.I. agent reveals that he's really a good guy .

The F.B.I. agent kills the slug/alien as it's swapping bodies. Later, he sacrifices his life to save the dying cop.


THE HIDDEN, Directed by Jack Sholder, is a well made Sci-Fi action/crime drama.

The film opens with black and white security camera footage at a bank. The Music, by Michael Convertino, is intense yet dreamy. Soon, armed guards approach with money bags. A guy in an overcoat pulls out a shotgun and shoots them, grabbing their money bags and exiting.

Outside, and in color, the robber kills a cop who pursues him, then escapes in a black sportscar, loud rock music blaring. After leading the cops on a merry chase, the thief encounters a police roadblock and is shot. Later, badly injured, he's taken to the hospital.

Michael Nouri (Love & War) is the L.A. cop assigned to the case. When his police boss, Clu Gulager (Return of the Living Dead), informs him that F.B.I agent Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks) will be working with him on the case, Nouri is bummed.

Meanwhile, at the hospital, the badly injured bank robber grabs a roommate who's just gone flat line and sends a large, black, slug-like thing mouth to mouth into the dead guy. The FX, here, by Special Effects coordinator Gregory C. Landerer, are gross but great. Soon, the recently dead guy exits the hospital and goes on a crime spree.

Like in all good buddy cop films, the initial friction between Nouri and MacLachlan is considerable. The emotional, swarthy Nouri and the cooled out, pale MacLachlan, giving a performance similar to a Zombie Ricky Nelson, are a great oil and water match that's fun to watch.

The Screenplay, by Bob Hunt, has some good lines. After explaining to Nouri that a body hopping alien is behind the crime/murder spree, MacLachlan remarks, "I guess a career in the police didn't really prepare you for this, did it?"

A scene where MacLachlan has dinner at Nouri's house with his family is my favorite. MacLachlan, who is actually a good guy alien, comes off particularly strange as Nouri's wife tries to engage him in dinner table chat. The fact that a quiet scene like this does not disrupt the films great forward momentum has a lot to do with Hunt's tight script, as well as Sholder's masterful direction.

The Photography, by Jacques Haitkin, is rich, well lit, and polished. More care seems to have been taken with lighting and camera set ups than in most modestly budgeted pictures.

The Special Visual Effects, mainly center around a silver ray gun MacLachlan uses a few times. Credited to Dream Quest Images, they're okay, although a key FX scene, late in the film, is a bit disappointing. More money might have helped.

If you like fast paced Sci-Fi, with characters you can care about, THE HIDDEN is for you. If you don't like violence, loud rock music, or occasionally gross FX, THE HIDDEN should remain so.

If you enjoyed THE HIDDEN, your best bets are: DUNE and I COME IN PEACE.