Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Unsung!: The Hidden
Why, of course The Hidden is treasure! (If it were trash, I would have written about it a year ago under the rubric of “Shitting on the Classics.”) If you have never seen The Hidden, rush right out now and see it. Right now! Damn it, that’s an order!
(Idle shuffling of feet and whistling)
(Checking e-mail on my cell phone. Several games of Solitaire.)
Okay, we are back! I was right, was I not? This movie is pretty terrific, especially when you consider its obviously low budget. The Hidden is further proof (if we even needed any more proof) that in the world of movie-making, imagination can trump money. This film has a clever premise, good dialogue, and imagination to spare. Yes! Let’s all remember how Monty Python got around the problem of not paying for horses on Holy Grail.
THE PLOT IN BRIEF: Police Detective Tom Beck (Michael Nouri) investigates a senseless series of murders, apparently committed by a suspect with no prior criminal record. To catch the suspect, the police set up a roadblock, which ends violently. The suspect does not survive the night, and that ends the case. Or DOES IT? The very next day, a similar string of baffling crimes occur. FBI Special Agent Lloyd Gallagher (Kyle MacLachlin) joins Beck to help crack the case. The secret to the bizarre series of interconnected crimes is unique to the annals of criminal science, to say the least.
One scene from The Hidden that has stayed with me over the decades involves one of the mysterious killers, a cardiac patient who suddenly rises from his hospital bed and begins to commit mayhem. The patient is played by William Boyet, an actor who had a forty-year career in Hollywood, usually playing the “second lieutenant” or “other cop.” In The Hidden, Boyet shows his talent for comedy, playing a big, beefy businessman robbing record stores, stealing Corvettes, and listening to punk music on a stolen boombox.
The scene I am referencing in The Hidden gives us a good, clear view of the titular creature only about twenty minutes in. This short special effects sequence is one of the film’s most impressive. Thank you, The Hidden, for not “saving it for later.” Spoiler alert! The creature looks like this:
TANGENT: On the DVD commentary track, director Jack Sholder goes into great detail about how difficult Michael Nouri was on the set. He repeatedly answers the rhetorical question, “Why didn’t Michael Nouri ever become a bigger star?” (Remember, Nouri had co-starred in Flashdance four years earlier.) When I shared this tidbit of information with Patrick, he wondered who on earth had EVER ASKED that question. So I hereby suggest another new glossary entry: “The Nouri Story.” (Definition: When a director on a DVD audio commentary answers a question NO ONE EVER ON EARTH HAS EVER ASKED EVER).
Sholder also adds, "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.” Coming from the director of Runaway Car, Arachnid, and Beeper, that is really saying something!
The Hidden’s IMdB user rating? 6.9! Damn, so close to that elusive SEVEN!
The Hidden is available for purchase on DVD, and to purchase or rent (in HD!) on Amazon Instant Video and the ITunes Store. Or you could just walk into a record store and steal it… if only there were still record stores!