The Hidden (1987)

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Ever since becoming a Kyle MacLachlan fanboy in my early teens, I’ve been desperate to see The Hidden. Its relatively hard-to-find status over here in the UK though meant that I was destined to wait for the beautiful new restoration now widely available on region-free blu-ray thanks to Warner Archive. In fact, after the disc arrived in the post I actually kept putting it off. I’ve been so used to having this film to look forward to that the idea of actually watching it was a little bit depressing. The end of an era right there. Anyway, I soon got over it and fired that sucker up.

Thankfully, The Hidden more than lives up to expectations. This is a crazy ride and a genre lover’s nirvana. Essentially built from an ever-escalating series of set-pieces – bank robbery, car chase, strip club shoot-out, warehouse shoot-out, rooftop-showdown etc. – the film gleefully melds bodyhopping science fiction with the slickness of a high-octane cop thriller. Boasting a strange supporting performance by a pre-Twin Peaks Kyle MacLachlan and a plot that indulges in high-concept practical effects and pleasing character asides in equal measure, the thrills come thick and fast. The film also looks glorious, with a green-heavy colour palette that renders everything in an alien hue pre-dating both The Matrix and Men in Black by a decade.

Also, could this be any more of a 1980s New Line production if it tried? Directed by Freddy’s Revenge‘s Jack Sholder, featuring make-up effects by Kevin Yagher as well as an appearance by Jake the dog, who merrily pissed on Freddy’s bones in Nightmare 4, it is full of New Line alumni and certainly exists in the same freewheeling genre milieu the studio was built on. In short: this is everything New Line was good at and also represents silly 80s cinema at its finest. That flame-throwing finale is my everything.

Watched on Warner Archive blu-ray.

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