Thursday, August 8, 2013

Things To See 2: The Hidden (1987)

It took far less than 48 hours after the theatrical release of 48 Hours in 1982 for the buddy-cop genre to become exhausted.  After all, the black cop/white racist cop routine had been done far more seriously in 1968's  In The Heat Of The Night.  After 48 Hours, however, a series of knock-offs followed.  Beating Alien Nation (a film James Caan still talks about how much he hates) to the punch by a year, The Hidden was the first buddy-cop film to feature an alien and a human.

Directed by Jack Sholder, best known for his work on A Nightmare on Elm Street part 2, The Hidden features a body-jumping alien parasite that loves fast cars, fast women and fast music.  When the body it inhabits outgrows its ability to sustain itself on awful 80s culture, it seeks a new host.  It's like Corey Haim, Corey Hart, Corey Feldman - all the Coreys fucked and gave birth the perfect Reaganite child.  And there is nothing more horrifying or timely, than a perfect, Reaganite baby that doesn't grasp any concept of politics.  Toward the end of the film, the alien inhabits the body of a senator running for President and, in a terrifying Romney-esque platform, utters to the press one talking point:  "I want to be President."

Tracking down the alien is cynical cop Michael Nouri and mysterious FBI agent Kyle MacLachlan (at his most MacLachlaniest, meaning he's both mysterious and yeah, come on, you already know, he's the good alien).

After watching interviews with Jack Sholder for Elm Street 2 - a film so full of gay that Jack Sholder didn't know he was directing a movie about gay people (despite the fact that the main character must run from the arms of his girl to his buff best friend, only to turn into killer Freddy once things get too intimate) - I've come to the unanimous (you agree, trust me) decision that he's an idiot.  And I doubt he knew what he had on his hands here.  It's a perfect action-sci-fi thriller with brilliant subversive undertones.

Interestingly, this was one film that was not released on DVD until a few years ago, however it was re-released on VHS in those few, sad years when VHS was still trying to put up a fight against DVD (picture that little cartoon character with his fists in a kangaroo boxing pose - "put 'em up, put 'em up, I'll fight you with my eyes closed....").  I happen to possess a copy of the re-release, with a second VHS tape that includes features that the DVD does not include.  I have yet to find them anywhere else, though I wouldn't be shocked if this one got one hell of a Blu-Ray release in the coming years.  It comes with my highest praises.

P.S. Look for a young Danny Trejo (probably fresh out of prison) saying the movie's finest line, "Hey, what kind of dude are you?"


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