The Hidden

The Hidden – lousy title – is one of those snappy little B-movies that, every once in a while, come flying straight out of left field and really blow your skirts up. It announces as much with its opening sequence, an audacious car chase in which a seemingly indestructible chap robs a bank and leads police on a delirious spree across town.

As it turns out, this guy is tough to stop because he’s possessed by an alien force, which will jump to another human body when the current fleshly vehicle is used up. The force is anarchic, destructive; it just takes everything it wants, from money at the bank to a red Ferrari on the lot.

The movie splices this bit of supernatural hooey onto your basic police-procedural thriller, with a no-nonsense Los Angeles cop (Michael Nouri of Flashdance) as the chief investigator. As the film begins, he’s getting some unwanted help – from an FBI man (Kyle MacLachlan) whose strange ways cannot be completely explained by the fact that he’s from Seattle.

The cops chase after their mad quarry, who’s mutated first into a dumpy middle-aged fellow, then into a curvaceous stripper. Bodies are strewn everywhere as the film rips through its breakneck action, mellowing out just long enough to bring the FBI man into Nouri’s house for a home-cooked meal.

Bob Hunt’s script is the kind of thing that might have made a common bloodbath, even with the kooky alien angle. But the director, Jack Sholder (who made A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2), is resolved to have fun here.

Sholder keeps the movie tilted on a crazy comic axis. It’s much in the vein of the nihilistic comedy of The Terminator or Robocop, in which an act of cartoon violence might be followed by a punch line. There’s something surrealistically funny about the alien man bursting into a coke-snorting session at the Ferrari dealer’s, and bellowing, “I want the car!”

First published in The Herald, October 1987

My review ends with a comma after the quotation marks, so not only is this review missing a couple of paragraphs (at least), it’s even cut off in the middle of a sentence. Also, I guess people were still saying “blow your skirts up” in 1987. A fun movie. This was MacLachlan’s first film outside the David Lynch universe (after Dune and Blue Velvet). Screenwriter Bob Hunt is actually Jim Kouf, apparently. IMDb says it was released on October 30, so happy anniversary, and happy Halloween.

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