Hidden/Hidden II

Hidden/Hidden II (1987)
New Line Home Entertainment
Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Nourie
Extras: Commentary Track, Trailer, Previews

A bank security camera records a brutal Wells Fargo robbery and murder. Eventually, the shooter fires straight into the camera. The thief leads a wild chase through downtown L.A., and is shot. In the hospital, an alien creature moves from the dying criminal to another patient. With a new body, the criminal alien conducts a new series of attacks.

Echo Park policeman Tom Beck (Michael Nouri) and Seattle FBI agent Gallagher ("Twin Peaks"' Kyle MacLachlan) try to arrest the new killer. The alien has lunch in a restaurant, suffering from chronic heartburn and stomach gas (It's OK to laugh). A later comment is appropriate here: "Alterians are a filthy people…" While an auto dealer snorts cocaine, the zombie-like alien steals a sports-car, and shoots a few more people. As the cop says later: "He likes Ferraris".

So what's next? Of course, the alien goes to a strip joint. Now it's going to get interesting. Before he's done, the invader inhabits the bodies of a stripper, a dog, and a presidential candidate. In the end, he is killed by fire from what appears to be a child's toy ray-gun.

This is not a comedy (But many a hearty chuckle is included). It is actually a rather grim horror movie. And New Line Cinema's 1987 "The Hidden" is one wild ride. It's an "E" ticket. Compelling and off-beat, "The Hidden" is entertaining and comical, and although listed at 98 minutes it actually clocks in at 95 minutes.

The main extra feature on the DVD is a scene specific commentary track with director Jack Sholder and Tim Hunter. Hunter hardly says a word.

There is also test footage for the optical effects and creature designs as well as a trailer, and previews.

The problem with the DVD is the transfer by New Line. "The Hidden" is weak. The image is grainy. Skin flesh tones – particularly in the hospital sequence – are too reddish-pink. The red sportscar is also washed-out. Colors, in general, are soft, with too much green. Pinkish reds usually reflect an old negative or master print. The transfer is otherwise clear with no spreckles.

"The Hidden" is a Dolby Digital 5.1 stereo mix. The rear surrounds are not used much, but pump up in the car crashes. Action is mainly in the front three. Foley effects, music, and dialogue are clean, with no hiss or distortion.

The DVD case promotes a "Double Feature", but the sequel, "Hidden II" is actually supplied under Extras on the same disc.

In "Hidden II", another alien travels to Earth. His job is to save us. "Hidden II" explodes with mind-bending special effects, as this alien rocks for heavy metal, fast cars, and high-caliber weapons. As I said, all these featuresare on one disc, and this DVD is cheaper than the original "Hidden" DVD, which lacked the sequel.

I recommend this package because, frankly, the fun never stops.