7.0/10
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114 user 71 critic

The Hidden (1987)

Law abiding people suddenly become violent criminals. A cop and an FBI agent race for answers in this sci-fi thriller.

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(as Bob Hunt)
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4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Brenda Lee Van Buren
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Lt. Ed Flynn
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William Boyett ...
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Brem
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John McCann ...
Senator Holt
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Jack DeVries
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Carol Miller
James Luisi ...
Ferrari Salesman
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Michael Buckley
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Storyline

An alien parasite with the ability to possess human bodies goes on a violent crime spree in LA, committing dozens of murders and robberies. In pursuit of the extraterrestrial criminal is an FBI agent, and the local officer investigating the rash of violence. As they close in on the vicious intruder, the city faces a brutal threat like no other it has ever encountered. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A new breed of criminal. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

30 October 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lo oculto  »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$9,747,988
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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A character named DeVries already appeared in "Dune" (1984), another sci-fi film also starring Kyle MacLachlan. See more »

Goofs

Early in the movie, when Tom Beck is about to shoot at DeVries speeding in a Ferrari, he throws his jacket haphazardly over his car door. In the next shot his jacket is very neatly folded over his car door. See more »

Quotes

Tom Beck: What the hell is that?
Sanchez: A flame-thrower man, can you believe it? Patrol picked this up off some homeboy on the street.
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Soundtracks

Over Your Shoulder
Written by Johnette Napolitano and J. Mankey
Performed by Concrete Blonde
Produced by Earle Mankey and Concrete Blonde
Published by Happy Hermit Music / I.R.S. Music, Inc.
Administered by Criterion Music, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Cult favourite
7 March 2002 | by See all my reviews

Sholder's allegorical B-movie offers unblinking aliens, loud rock music, car chases, and the presence of Kyle MacLachlan together with a quiet, emotional core. It's the sort of film that gives low budget science fiction a good name, one that effortlessly combines a sharp view of society together with the brisk pace of 'The Terminator' (1984)

At one level, 'The Hidden' is a film about acquisition, by implication digging at the American Dream. The aliens acquire human bodies, much as humans might go shopping, casually discarding one form for another when it is worn out or no longer wanted. The possessed Jonathan P. Miller sees a ghetto blaster on display, takes it after clubbing the salesman to death. A little later on, after viewing the Ferrari just sold to a arms and antique dealer, he states glibly 'I want that car'. Its new owner has just mused 'Do I trade in my Mercedes or just hang on to it?' (his white suit ironically anticipating imminent mortality.) Later, in his final incarnation as Senator Holt,like a child who has made its mind up, the alien can announce just as decidedly and without any sense of irony 'I want to be President'. Power in American politics can be 'bought' just as easily as a cassette player, its accession just an impulsive decision by the strong. Apart from the scheming necessary to exchange bodies, what is most disturbing about this invasion is its relative guilelessness, how the alien 'Sees something. He takes it.' Other SF films might offer up a plan to be defeated; 'The Hidden' replaces galactic conquest with ghastly cupidity.

Kyle MacLachlan makes an excellent Lloyd Gallagher, a weird 'FBI' presence instantly suggesting that of Agent Dale Cooper, whom he was to play 3 years later. MacLachlan had previously only appeared in two other Lynch productions : 'Dune' (1984) and, more notably, 'Blue Velvet' (1986). Sholder was quick to take advantage of MacLachlan's quirkiness and androgynous appearance, ideal for a part in which ambivalence and social disorientation are essential. There's a faint echo too of 'The Man Who Fell to Earth' (1976) in this character separated from his loved ones, a lonely survivor on Earth.

The title of 'The Hidden' refers most obviously to the invader lurking within humans, only emerging to swop bodies. But there's something else, equally hard to see, and only gradually expressed: the emotional link which binds kind and kin. The recognition of these ties is one of the film's most rewarding aspects. Beck's home and family life are both a new, and a familiar, experience to Gallagher. His question 'Your little girl. She is very special to you?' is both naïve and affirmative, a means to assign the value of such relationships in a way initially quite lost on Beck. 'Gallagher's melancholia predominates during his visit to the Detective's home (despite the humorous nature of his indigestion). His sense of loss, which overshadows so much of his mood is only finally resolved in the last scene, as 'Beck' is welcomed back to life by his daughter.

Men, a woman, even a dog, are all possessed by the alien before it ends up as the Senator. Both the bespectacled de Vries ('that Jack - kinda quiet. What'd he do? Rob a bank?') and the sedentary Miller are ostensible squares, mild-mannered citizens whose ensuing transgressions are completely out of character. Even the police Lieutenant, one of the alien's last victims, apparently lives alone with his dog. Their violent actions are faintly ludicrous, even to the point of raising nervous laughter. When Miller smashes the radio playing 'I believe in sunshine', after glaring at it with alien incredulity for a long moments, it invariably raises a chuckle in the audience, as does his belching in the diner. Far more of a frisson is created by the take-over of the stripper. Her already aggressive on-stage sexuality, and existing control over the patrons has been supplemented by something far more dangerous. To a (largely male?) audience, this is female empowerment brought home with a vengeance, her cool return of the gaze unnerving.

Sholder's uneven career contains at least one other good film. 12:01 (1993) is an effective and amusing variation on the 'Groundhog Day' theme co-starring Martin Landau. Others are best passed over in silence. It may well be that and 'The Hidden' will remain his best work, as they still play well and remains fresh on repeated viewings. A sequel to the present film followed, by a different director, but it was not in the same league.


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