Esoterica – The Hidden

Ok; first off, my apologies to Al for being tardy in bringing in the articles. Life is busy etc. and we’ve been buried and etc. and the rolling stone kills the early worm da da da… but at least I could’ve called.

Secondly my apologies to you, my loyal readers. I should never let… uhh… wait…

If you’re reading this, do think you might consider becoming loyal?

I’m sure we all feel the pressure of things getting on top of us, and that, unfortunately, often means that the first thing to go out the window on any given week are the recreational type things we enjoy, but just don’t end up having time for. I know I should be making them a priority, but I’ve also gotta keep the wolf from the door and the parasites from invading my body and using me to subjugate the rest of humankind.

Speaking of which:

The Hidden

Year: 1987

Writer: Jim Kouf

Director: Jack Sholder

Starring: Kyle MacLauchlin & Michael Nouri

There’s a certain breed of actor who enter into immortality as harbingers of the bizarre. This is exemplified in this day and age, I expect, by Nicolas Cage

but also embracing the likes of post-John Hughes movies James Spader, and the less-known but still notable Kyle MacLachlin.

…I really don’t know why I picked this photo.

Sitting somewhere near the top of the “What was that guy in?” ladder of actors, MacLachlin entered into the game with clean-cut, boyish good looks and charm, and talent enough to be a contender alongside the Brad Pitts and Marky Marks and Leonardo’s.

And I’m betting Kyle could totally take this guy in a fight too.

Unfortunately MacLachlin made his debut in David Lynch’s Dune, and quite frankly he just never shook the fact that he… had starred in David Lynch’s Dune!
That particular epic (yeah… epically weird) is a saga unto itself (best saved for Cash Cows), but the point is that from such beginnings the stigma of strange followed Kyle MacLachlin right through the 80’s, landed him Twin Peaks in the 90’s, and deposited him directly in Desperate Housewives.

Still, he had some fun stops along the way, and this is one of them.

LA cop Thomas Beck (Michael Nouri…another unplacebly familiar face) is on the trail of a nice guy turned bank robber and killer; FBI Special Agent Lloyd Gallagher comes to LA on the trail of a violent criminal responsible for innumerable crimes throughout the country. Why is Gallagher interested in Beck’s case? Well, if you read the box for the DVD before watching, you’ll probably have figured it out already. In any case, the movie doesn’t waste too much time making it any kind of surprise. You see, the real criminal isn’t the poor suburban family man who gunned down twenty people and stole a bunch of money, but the body-hopping alien who was in control at the time.

The Hidden is, by now, a complete and utter sci-fi cliché: and cat and mouse crime flick in which the mouse (or is the bad guy the cat?…I’ve never actually been clear on this) is constantly changing its face, fingerprints and fashion. After tiring of slightly pudgy, middle-aged men, the crim in question ends up here

For those playing at home, that is Claudia Christian, pre-Babylon 5 days, playing an alien possessed stripper with an automatic weapon. And to the reassurance of wives or girlfriends who may be preparing to disapprove of this particular esoteric viewing – and the disappointment of possibly every guy wanting to check it out – Brenda remains fully clothed throughout the piece.

Obviously the question will be, why bother with the film if its such a cliché? Well, have some grace and remember this was 1987, and the flick was made before the central premise was an overdone sci-fi television trope.
Much of the film is actually built on the strength of the pairing of leads. The rather uncomplicated, hard-working cop, family man Beck is a straight man to the sometimes frankly kooky behaviour of the immaculate Agent Gallagher. Not to mention the conflict that arises from Gallagher’s idiosyncratic and seemingly random pursuit of suspects and leads during the investigation.

The tension works pretty well in this little thriller – it’s not quite Alien, but it’s a far cry from They Live. There are genuine nail-biting moments, because while you’re never in doubt as to who exactly is possessed by the creature at any given moment, our heroes don’t, and it’s unbearable to see them constantly come so close.

The Hidden will be exactly what you expect from a late 80’s, earthbound, moderate sci-fi piece. And if there are those of you who may question why I would want to go back to that kind of movie, I can only wistfully reply: “They just don’t make them like that anymore.”

How To Enjoy It

Play the “What was that guy in!?!” game with every single actor in this flick. Seriously…you’ll spend so much time scouring IMDB you’ll forget about the odd effects and might just miss out on the, admittedly, overly saccharine ending.

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