The Hidden (1987): Breakdown by Rutledal
A cop and an FBI agent have to track down a body swapping alien on the loose in L.A.
Based on the fact that the movie’s basic premise features Kyle MacLachlan playing a FBI agent on the hunt for a supernatural killer, a Twin Peaks fanboy like me had his expectations turned way up before popping this in the DVD player. And boy did it ever deliver.
The movie hits the ground running when a trench coat wearing man* guns down 4 cops in a bank before driving of in a Ferrari while listening to old school hard rock. This is the start of a car chase sequence as hilarious as it is awesome, but it comes to an abrupt end when the man is gunned down by a bunch of cops. Does this kill him? No. So what do they do? They shoot him some more and blow up his car, causing him severe burn injuries. And does this kill him? Nope, he’s one tough motherfucker. So they stuff him in the hospital where he is put in a coma and is expected to not last over night. We then learn that up until two weeks ago this man was a law abiding citizen, but now he has killed a dozen people and robbed several banks for no apparent reason. Back in the hospital the man unexpectedly wakes from his coma, walks over to the patient he shares room with, opens his mouth and transfers a fucking alien over to him. Then the first man drops dead and the second guy awakes from his coma.
But just when Beck, the cop in charge of the case, thinks the case is closed, a G-Man (played by MacLachlan) shows up at the police station and asks for assistance to find a Jack DeVries. It turns out that DeVries is the trench coat wearing alien-possessed bank robber. So he rushes to the hospital only to learn what we just saw. However the alien doesn’t stay hidden for long as he soon starts stealing Ferraris and killing people. With the cop and the G-Man on its trail the alien gets a great idea, to take control of a senator who plans to run for the presidential office.
The movie is truly an underrated gem. It has an excellent mix of humor, horror, and splendid effects to go with the action. The acting is good, especially from MacLachlan, who is great as the quirky Agent Gallagher. The story is exciting and original, with the movie never wasting any time on unnecessary scenes. The only complaint I have about the whole business is that it doesn’t quite mange to obtain the creepy atmosphere it clearly tried to have. Still, this was an incredibly fun and enjoyable movie, and if you aren’t able to enjoy a movie about a Ferrari stealing alien who loves hard rock and desperately tries to get laid whilst also trying to conquer the world, then you are a hollow shell of a man who may never know true happiness.
* Better known as Chris Mulkey for the Twin Peaks fanboy
[How Bad-Ass are The Main Characters?]
Michael Nouri is Tom Beck
When we meet Beck he’s already weary from his pursuit of the man he knows as DeVries from the last few weeks and just wants to rest. So when Gallagher shows up and wants him to help him chase down another person he is at first reluctant, but when more bodies starts showing up he follows Gallagher with a blazing gun and a certification of bad-assery. That means he’s a bad-ass.
Kyle MacLachlan is Lloyd Gallagher/Robert Stone/Alhauge etc.
Gallagher comes off as weird from the second he shows up on screen. There is just something off about the guy. Neither Beck nor I can put a finger on it. But as the movie goes on it becomes more and more clear that Gallagher is in fact an alien bounty hunter. So is he a bad-ass alien bounty hunter? Definitively yes.
[The Body Count: 26 + An Alien + A Dog]
All 26 kills, and the dog, belong to the alien because the persons whose bodies he takes control over die as soon as he enters them. The final kill, that of the alien, belongs to Gallagher and you can read more about it below.
[Most Satisfying Death]
The Death of A Senator and An Alien: A Double Feature in Awesomeness
The alien has taken over the body of the senator and Gallagher has to kill him during a campaign speech. With a fucking flamethrower. You know, so he can get to the alien and kill it. It is just as awesome as it sounds, perhaps even more.
[DudeSweat and Machismo]
I could probably read some deeper into the fact that the alien travels from person to person through mouth-to-mouth contact, but I won’t.
[Exploitation and Misogyny]
The movie barely manages to squeeze in two female characters in the movie. There’s Beck’s wife who appears to be a good, caring mother, but after Beck is shot she just cries and appears to be typically grief-stricken and unable to do anything without her man’s help. Beck also suggests she should talk less, which seems a bit cruel. The other female character is a stripper the alien takes control of. The Hidden does pretty good with the little it has.
[Epic Moment and Best One-Liner]
There are plenty of epic moments in this movie, like the alien trying to pick up some girls or Beck and Gallagher’s discussion on whether Beck should cover him or not, but I have to go with this one:
During a shootout in the prison block towards the end, the alien, in the form of one Lt. Masterson, is trying to convince Gallagher to join him so they can conquer the world together when someone off-screen shouts “Yo, hippie, what kinda dude are you?” The alien turns around and it turns out the man who said it is Danny fucking Trejo, who is then shot to death. A short, but hilarious appearance.
While in the form of Lt. Masterson the alien delivers this line to Beck.
“Listen, I already shot you once. I can hardly wait to do it again.”
[The Moral Of The Story]
Don’t judge a people by their appearance they may only be human on the outside.
[THE CHECKLIST: 11 outta 25]
[ ] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[ ] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[ ] Crotch Attack
[ ] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery [Flame Thrower, Rocket Launcher, Alien Weaponry]
[ ] Improvised Weapon(s)
[ ] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[ ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s) [Privacy, race, war, etc.]
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[ ] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[ ] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[ ] Torture Sequence(s)
[X] Unnecessary Sequel [The Hidden II]
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice