The Hidden (film)

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The Hidden
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jack Sholder
Produced by Stephen Diener
Dennis Harris
Jeffrey Klein
Lee Muhl
Michael L. Meltzer
Gerald T. Olson
Robert Shaye
Written by Bob Hunt (pen name of Jim Kouf)
Starring Kyle MacLachlan
Michael Nouri
Claudia Christian
Music by Michael Convertino
Cinematography Jacques Haitkin
Edited by Michael N. Knue
Maureen O’Connell
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release dates October 20, 1987 (1987-10-20)
Running time 96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $5 million
Box office $9,747,988

The Hidden is an American science fiction film produced and released in 1987 by New Line Cinema. The film was written by Bob Hunt (pen name of writer/producer/director Jim Kouf) and directed by Jack Sholder. The cast featured Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Nouri with supporting roles by Clu Gulager, Chris Mulkey, Ed O'Ross, Clarence Felder, Claudia Christian and Larry Cedar.

This film received a MPAA rating of R, and was filmed in color with mono sound. The DVD version was remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. At the time it was released it was an independent film and had been produced for less than US$5 million. A sequel, The Hidden II, directed by Seth Pinsker was released in 1993.

In the documentary Behind the Curtain Part II, Jack Sholder, director of The Hidden, had this to say about the film:

Most people who know my work would say that The Hidden was my best film. And I would tend to agree with them... When I watch The Hidden, I feel like I've pretty much gotten it right.


Jack DeVries (Chris Mulkey), robs a Los Angeles Wells Fargo bank, and kills all of the security guards inside. DeVries leads the Los Angeles Police Department on a high-speed chase, during which he forces an innocent motorist and several LAPD patrol cars off the road. The chase ends when DeVries encounters a police blockade overseen by LAPD detective Sgt. Thomas Beck (Michael Nouri). DeVries is shot several times, smashes through the blockade and crashes the Ferrari he is driving. DeVries is taken to a hospital, where a doctor informs Beck and his partner, partner, Det. Cliff Willis (Ed O'Ross) that DeVries is not expected to survive the night. When the doctor expresses his dismay at the detectives' callous attitude, he is told by Willis of the violent crime spree DeVries undertook over the previous two weeks, which came as a surprise as prior to then DeVries had no criminal past.

Upon his return to LAPD headquarters, Beck and his supervisor, Lt. John Masterson (Clarence Felder), meet FBI Special Agent Lloyd Gallagher (Kyle MacLachlan), who informs them that Beck has been assigned to work with Gallagher to track down DeVries, whom Gallagher has been tracking all the way from Seattle. When told of DeVries's condition, Gallagher rushes off to the hospital.

At the hospital, DeVries suddenly awakes. Disconnecting his life-support equipment, he approaches the comatose man in the next bed, Jonathan P. Miller (William Boyett). After DeVries forces Miller's mouth open, a slug-like Alien emerges from DeVries' mouth and transfers itself into Miller's body. Gallagher arrives to find DeVries dead on the floor and Miller's bed abandoned. After learning the identity of the patient in the bed next to DeVries, Gallagher tries unsuccessfully to have Beck put out an alert on Miller, who refuses given Miller's lack of a criminal history.

Miller first travels to a record store where, after being caught pocketing heavy metal music tapes, beats the store's owner to death before stealing money, a small revolver and a portable boombox. When Beck arrives to investigate the store owner's murder, he finds Gallagher is already at the crime scene. After Miller is identified as the suspect, Gallagher tells Beck that DeVries and Miller were partners and convinces Beck to let Gallagher participate in the search for Miller.

While eating at a local restaurant, Miller's attention is draw to a news report on television about a visit to Los Angeles by Senator Holt (John McCann), a prominent politician who is widely viewed as a likely presidential candidate. When he sees a red Ferrari Mondial race past the restaurant, Miller rushes out and follows the vehicle to a nearby dealership, where he kills three men and steals the car. Discovering that the man test-driving the Ferrari was an illegal arms-dealer, Miller takes a number of weapons and begins the search for a new host body.

As he investigates Miller's actions with Gallagher, Beck is struck by Gallagher's odd responses and behavior, which are atypical of an FBI agent. Beck invites Gallagher to his house for dinner, but when Gallagher is introduced to Beck's wife and daughter, Beck's daughter becomes withdrawn and frightened in Gallagher's presence.

While visiting a strip club, the Alien takes over the body of a stripper named Brenda (Claudia Christian). As Brenda, the Alien is able to slip past the police cordon established to arrest Miller. Unable to access the Ferrari, she kills a man and takes his vehicle. Quickly identifying Brenda as the Alien's new host, Gallagher and Beck pursue her to a rooftop, where they mortally wound her in a gun battle. When Gallagher points a strangely-shaped device at Brenda, however, she leaps from the roof. As Masterson arrives from his house to take charge of the scene, the Alien transfers itself to his dog.

Frustrated by Gallagher's continuing evasiveness, Beck orders Willis to take him into custody. Beck soon learns that "Gallagher" is in fact missing and presumed dead following a forest fire during a hunting trip, and that the man with whom he has been working matches the description of Gallagher's friend Robert Stone, who similarly disappeared following the same fire. When Beck confronts Stone/Gallagher with this information, Stone tells him that they are in fact pursuing an Alien thrill killer who has the ability to take over human bodies. Beck dismisses the story as insane and leaves Stone/Gallagher incarcerated in a jail cell at the police station.

Back at Masterson's house, the Alien takes over the lieutenant's body. In the morning Masterson goes to the police station and seizes a number of weapons, sparking a shootout between himself and the station's police officers as he attempts to track down Stone/Gallagher. Convinced of Stone's story by Masterson's behavior, Beck releases him from his cell, though Masterson manages to corner them there. During the resulting confrontation, it is revealed that "Stone/Gallagher" is an alien law enforcer named Alhague who has been pursuing the Alien ever since it murdered his family and his partner. Though Beck manages to stop Masterson, Alhague/Gallagher reveals that his weapon can only kill the Alien when it is between bodies, thus requiring him to be present when it is transferring hosts. They are unable to stop the alien from abandoning Masterson's body for that of Beck's partner Willis, who then escapes the station.

Using Willis's credentials, the Alien tries to gain access to Holt at the hotel where the senator is staying. With humanity incapable of stopping it, the Alien plans to use the senator to take over the planet. Alhague/Gallagher and Beck follow Willis, and a shootout ensues between Beck and Holt's security detail, during which Beck is severely wounded. Willis corners Holt in a storage room and changes bodies before Alhague/Gallagher can stop him. At a press conference following what is believed to have been a foiled assassination attempt, "Holt" then announces his candidacy for the presidency. Alhague/Gallagher is forced to attack Holt in the middle of the press conference; though shot several times by the police and the senator's bodyguards, Alhague/Gallagher is able to get close enough to use a flamethrower on Holt. As the Alien emerges before the crowd, Alhague/Gallagher blasts it apart with his weapon before himself collapsing.

Taken to the hospital where Beck is being treated, Alhague/Gallagher discovers that Beck is close to death. Witnessing the emotional suffering of Beck's wife and daughter, Alhague/Gallagher transfers his form from Stone to Beck as Beck dies. When she sees her miraculously "recovered" father, Beck's daughter initially hesitates when he reaches out to her, but then smiles and takes his hand.



Composed and performed by Michael Convertino.


The film was released theatrically in the United States by New Line Cinema in October 1987. It turned out to be a modest hit for the company, grossing $9,747,988 at the box office.[1]

The film was released on VHS and laserdisc by Media Home Entertainment in 1988. In August 1997, New Line Home Video re-released the film on VHS.

In 2000, New Line Home Entertainment released the film on special edition DVD. The film was re-released in a set including the sequel The Hidden II in 2005.


  • Jack Sholder won the Grand Prize at the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival in 1988.
  • Jack Sholder won Best Director at Fantasporto in 1988. It was also nominated for Best Film at that festival.
  • Michael Nouri won Best Actor at the Catalonian International Film Festival in 1987. Jack Sholder took Prize of the International Critics’ Jury at the same festival.
  • At the 1988 Saturn Awards, Michael Nouri was nominated for Best Actor, Jack Sholder was nominated for Best Director, Jim Kouf was nominated for best writing, and The Hidden was nominated for Best Science Fiction Film.


  1. ^ "The Hidden". Retrieved 2011-03-29. 

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