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This review originally appeared in issue 14 of THE CINEMA LASER.


THE HIDDEN ($70) was one of the best science fiction films of the eighties- a true sleeper that has retained its cult following thanks to home video. Unfortunately, video editions of THE HIDDEN never looked like much. Now, the folks at Lumivision bring fans a collector's edition Laserdisc which is finally worthy of the film.

For the uninitiated, the plot of THE HIDDEN concerns a violent, remorseless alien life form which has a penchant for instantaneous gratification and is able to inhabit a human host until the body is totally burnt out or destroyed by its wild, violent cravings for Ferraris, rock music and power. Michael Nouri portrays the police officer assigned to the investigation of ordinary citizens who go off the deep end, and onto murderous sprees which usually involve the theft of Ferraris. Kyle MacLachlan appears as the mysterious FBI agent who seems to know more about what's going on than he is willing to admit. In the hands of director Jack Sholder, THE HIDDEN is a non-stop Rollercoaster ride of car chases and gun battles. Thanks to Sholder's assured direction, THE HIDDEN appears a lot more expensive and is more exciting than its modest budget would indicate. The cast of THE HIDDEN also includes Claudia Christian (BABYLON 5) in a very memorable performance, Clarence Felder, Clu Gulager and Ed O'Ross.

Lumivision has given THE HIDDEN a very good Letterboxed transfer which was personally supervised by Jack Sholder. The transfer restores the film's 1.85:1 aspect ratio, with the compositions looking right for the first time on home video. The image is clear and well detailed, but the colors have a somewhat antiseptic quality to them. I don't know if this was the result of cinematographer Jacques Haitkin trying to create documentary feeling by filming THE HIDDEN in real locations without film lighting, or if the quality of the original film stock is to blame. The digitally encoded monaural soundtrack is quite good, and at times it gives one the impression of stereo, so you will want to play it loud. The Pioneer pressing had only a modest number of speckles. THE HIDDEN is presented in CLV on the first two sides of the discs, and the supplements on side three in CAV. Supplements include an audio commentary with director Jack Sholder and Tim Hunter on one analog track and music and effects on the other. The audio commentary is informative and peppered with entertaining anecdotes, unfortunately one of them reveals how Claudia Christians performance was artificially enhanced. Additionally, there are theatrical trailers for THE HIDDEN and THE HIDDEN 2 as well as a television trailer for the first film, original screenplay excerpts, director's shooting script excerpts, storyboards, special effects footage, production photos and filmographies.

Lumivision has delivered a package that sci-fi fans are certain to enjoy, and fans of THE HIDDEN will want to add to their Laserdisc collections.


Laserdisc reviews are Copyright 1996 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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