Saturday Matinee: The Hidden


In the fine tradition of Robocop and They Live, “The Hidden” (1987) is a sci-fi thriller with a layer of social commentary skewering excesses of late 80s American culture. The plot revolves around the pursuit of a psychopathic body-snatching alien with a predilection for things that happen to be Hollywood action movie tropes (ie. sex, drugs, rock and roll, fast cars, guns, money, etc). Whether intended by the filmmakers or not, the shapeshifting alien is a perfect metaphor for the corporate Id free from the moral and ethical constraints of the Superego; an embodiment of pure unbridled greed. Whatever it wants it takes through brute force with no regard for the interests of others or even the bodies it inhabits, a strategy which gets it dangerously close to the highest levels of political power. Various actors depicting hosts for the villain effectively convey their possession by the same entity while Kyle MacLachlan stars as a more benevolent alien posing as a detective with a performance reminiscent of his role as Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks. Michael Nouri plays a skeptical cop who goes through the traditional buddy cop story story arc (though it’s made more intriguing by the fact that he’s partnered with an alien).

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