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The Hidden (1987)

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Reviews: 95 user | 67 critic

An alien parasite with the ability to possess human bodies goes on a violent crime spree in LA, pursued by a human cop and an alien cop inhabiting a human body.

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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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...
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Brenda Lee Van Buren
...
Lt. John Masterson
...
...
William Boyett ...
Jonathan Miller
...
Sanchez
...
Brem
...
John McCann ...
Senator Holt
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...
James Luisi ...
Ferrari Salesman
Frank Renzulli ...
Michael Buckley
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Storyline

An alien is on the run in America. To get his kicks, it kills anything that gets in its way, and uses the body as a new hiding place. This alien has a goal in life; power. Hotly pursued by another alien (who's borrowed the body of a dead FBI agent), lots of innocent people die in the chase. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

alien | hospital | chase | police | fbi | See All (145) »

Taglines:

It killed 37 people, robbed 6 banks, 2 liquor stores, a record shop and stole 2 ferraris. Now the fun starts. It just took over a police station. See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 October 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lo oculto  »

Box Office

Gross:

$9,747,988 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Claudia Christian (Brenda the stripper) likes to tell two stories about her experience in this film. First is the design of her wardrobe: the producers found her breasts visually inadequate, and so designed her costumes to emphasize her buttocks instead. Second is her eye injury: the material exploding from a prop gun scratched her cornea painfully. Because of this, whenever she had to fire a prop gun on Babylon 5 (1994) she would instinctively turn her face away when pulling the trigger, even though this was unnecessary because the Babylon 5 prop guns did not really fire, as all visual effects were to be added in later. See more »

Goofs

In both cuts of the stairs chase in Neptune Mannequins building, the boom mic is visible. 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.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

You Make Me Feel So Young
Written by Josef Myrow (as Joseph Myrow) and Mack Gordon
Performed by Bruno Gumbotz
Produced by Joe Fineman
Published by Warner Brothers Music Co. ASCAP
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Cult favourite
7 March 2002 | by (London) – 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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