Sommerleigh Pollonais – Horror Head Writer
In 1987 Sci Fi Horror The Hidden a cop and an FBI agent race for answers after law-abiding people suddenly become violent criminals.
Ah the 80s. A time of killer tunes, big hair and ridiculously awesome movies. For those of us who didn’t grow up on these badass films you might be wondering what the big deal was, and it’s simple really. They were over the top, no holds barred, unapologetically insane, and even though most of them had plot holes big enough to drive a truck through, they were so entertaining we just couldn’t give a damn. The Hidden ticks off all of these boxes and to this day, is one of the best sci-fi horror movies ever made. So get ready to dust off your VHS player and insert your videocassette (for you younglings, think Blu-Ray/DVD’s) as we take a look back at The Hidden. And yes, I’m dropping SPOILERS everywhere!
The story starts out like a straightforward action movie. A guy robs a bank, kills a bunch of innocent people and laughingly drives off in a sweet ride (he’s got a thing for fast cars). The cops give chase and after being shot dozens of times, he finally crashes his car. He shockingly steps out and gives the police a big smile. And in epic 80s fashion, they blow him and his car sky high. He then inexplicably survives and is taken to the hospital.
Enter FBI agent Lloyd Gallagher (played by Kyle MacLachlan of Twin Peaks fame and Dune) who meets the oh-so-sexy Detective Tom Beck (played by Michael Nouri of Flashdance/Yellowstone). You see Lloyd has been tracking the suspect and it’s quickly revealed why the killer is so strong — there’s an alien parasite using humans as hosts to rampage through the city, and it’s up to our two heroes to put a stop to it.
One of the reasons I think this film was so good is it’s extremely well made for what it is. This could’ve easily been another cheesy attempt to copy greater films like Alien, The Thing or even The Terminator. Instead Director Jack Sholder (Nightmare on Elm Street 2) delivers an instant classic, with his pitch-perfect pacing, well-choreographed action sequences and a story that somehow manages to feel grounded yet bigger than life all at the same time.
The acting by our two leads are also well above what you would expect from the genre, with Kyle MacLachlan giving one of his best performances to date. He immediately comes off as alien, yet there’s a sensitivity and depth to his portrayal of Lloyd that makes him instantly likeable. Michael Nouri’s strikes the perfect balance as the no-nonsense Beck. He’s tough but he’s also a man who loves his family and his city, and will do anything to protect them. Their chemistry is perfect and because of this, both the comedic and dramatic moments feel effortless and real.
The supporting cast works well too, with the actors who play host to the alien parasite all being memorable in their own way. Although the standout for me was definitely Claudia Christian (Babylon 5) as the exotic dancer. The practical effects were top notch and can stand proudly with the best of the era. Admittedly, the CGI doesn’t fare as well (most computer generated effects age poorly) but because the director made the smart choice to only show it a few times, it doesn’t take away from the overall quality of this hidden gem.
There was a television series that held a very similar premise called Something is Out There. It was actually pretty good but I can’t help but think The Hidden inspired it and many others like it.
It is a truly entertaining horror sci-fi flick with lots of action, top-notch acting and a great twist ending that makes you forgive any and all plot holes that came before (Lloyd somehow ends up in the hospital instead of a maximum security prison after killing the senator in front of everyone?!).
They just don’t (and can’t) make ’em like this anymore, but thank the 80s gods we can always revisit this crazy movie era anytime we want.
Sommer’s Score: 7 out of 10
This film was my HORROR FAN PICK OF THE WEEK on my Moviejunkies Cont’d page (see the link for that below) and it came from none other than the Captain of Captions, the Prince of Puns, our Editor-in-Chief, Julien Neaves. You picked a personal favourite of mine and gave me a great excuse to rewatch this classic one more time. Cheers!
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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