Jack DeVries is a quiet man. He’s a stockbroker who lives a nice suburban life and is well-liked by his neighbors. He’s the kind of man who wouldn’t hurt a fly. He doesn’t even have a criminal record. A model citizen, so to speak.
Yeah, well… up until two weeks ago, that is!
When The Hidden (1987) starts we see him robbing a bank, taking out a couple of security guards in the process. He then turns calmly to the security camera and smiles, before blasting it with his shotgun.
Once outside he gets into a black Ferrari, pops in a tape with hard rock music, cranks up the volume, and drives off. What follows is a high-speed chase through the streets of Los Angeles with DeVries plowing into people like they’re some kind of carnival prizes, and all along he just smiles! The police finally set up a roadblock and detectives Beck (Michael Nouri) and Willis (Ed O’Ross) join them.
The officers shoot up both the Ferrari and its driver and the car slowly comes to a halt at the curb. DeVries climbs out, laughs, and goes for his gun. This results in the officers once again opening fire, blowing up the car, and badly burning DeVries.
At the hospital, detective Beck asks about DeVries’s chances of surviving and the doctor says he probably won’t last the night. Beck coldly says “Good!” and walks out. The doctor is appalled and tells the detectives that no one deserves to go like that, no matter what they’ve done.
Detective Willis turns to the doctor and says: “He killed twelve people, wounded twenty-three more, stole six cars, most of them Ferraris. He robbed eight banks, six super-markets, four jewelry stores and a candy shop. Six of the ones he killed he carved up with a butcher knife. Two of them were kids. He did all that in two weeks! If anyone deserves to go that way, it sure as hell is him!”
Unfortunately, this is only the beginning! When DeVries is left alone, he sits up in bed and rips out the life support systems connected to him. He then walks over to the patient in the next bed and rips out his life support systems too. Out of DeVries’ own mouth comes some sort of slug-like creature, which then proceeds to enter the other patient’s mouth.
DeVries falls down dead and the other patient, a man named Jonathan Miller (William Boyett), sits up in his bed. He just walks out of the hospital, much to the surprise of the nurses and doctors, and the carnage continues…
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we’re dealing with an alien here. An alien that likes loud rock music, Ferraris, and violence. If it sees something it wants, it takes it. If anyone gets in its way, it kills them. Whenever the alien uses up one body it finds another one to inhabit. This, of course, does not make detective Beck’s work any easier. He’s played very well by Michael Nouri whom I first saw as Charlie “Lucky” Luciano in the TV mini-series The Gangster Chronicles from 1981 (It wasn’t released in Sweden until 1984). Nouri also appeared in the 1983 film Flashdance.
Beck’s partner, Cliff Willis, is played by Ed O’Ross, whom you might recognize from Full Metal Jacket and Red Heat. During this case, however, Beck gets a new partner, a young FBI agent by the name of Lloyd Gallagher (Kyle MacLachlan).
Beck quickly notices that there’s something slightly odd about his new partner. It’s like he’s a bit off and not really in tune with this world. For instance, when Gallagher eats, it’s like he’s not used to utensils, almost like a small child. Or when Beck gives him an Alka-Seltzer for his stomach, he doesn’t know what to do with it. Little things like that, you know? Kyle MacLachlan nails this part brilliantly. Bear in mind that this is only the third movie he had been in, the first two being Blue Velvet and Dune.
Three years later, in 1990, he would portray another FBI agent named Special Agent Dale Cooper in the cult TV-show Twin Peaks. (I love that show by the way!)
The hunt for the alien gets more and more complicated and hurried, as it keeps changing bodies at an increasingly rapid pace. Since it also likes the sense of having power it has its sights set on a U.S senator, but on its way it uses the bodies of a coroner, a dog, a police officer and also a female stripper. This stripper is played by the lovely Claudia Christian, whom many of you sci-fi lovers might recognize as Susan Ivanova on the TV-show Babylon 5. But don’t let her sexy appearance fool you, cuz after the alien takes her over, she’s as deadly as they come.
(Oh, and near the end of the movie, keep your eyes peeled for a very brief appearance by Danny Trejo as a prisoner at the police station!)
DeVries, the first person invaded by the alien, is played by Chris Mulkey (First Blood, Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann). The second “host”, Jonathan Miller, is played by William Boyett, who’s mostly done TV-work. However, he has close to 200 credits to his name. The interesting thing about these first two is that they’re both fairly “normal” looking middle-class men, which makes their actions seem even more illogical and, yes, scary too. They don’t look like people who would do these things.
I really liked The Hidden when it was first released. It had a shit-load of action, it had aliens, it had some comedic parts and, as a bonus, it had Claudia Christian. I still think it’s a good movie, and if you haven’t seen it, I would definitely recommend that you do.
And by all means, bring popcorn and whatever beverage you’d like, and when you’ve finished, please come back and tell me what you thought of it!
Until next time, my friends…