The Hidden II

Now that I’ve finally caught up with the greatness of THE HIDDEN, it was also important to experience the let down of its six-years-later DTV sequel. None of the same people are involved, except in re-used footage, and it’s cheap and crappy. It does at least give me a little bit of a laugh from its audacious short cuts and the extremely dated choice to set a large portion of it at a rave.

Let me tell you about those shortcuts. The movie starts with 2 minutes of credits over black. Then it says it’s 15 years ago, and there are about 2 minutes of green text representing Kyle MacLachlan’s alien character sending messages back home, asking for backup. Then it goes into the end of the first movie, but not even just the climactic showdown like they do in, for example, some of the FRIDAY THE 13TH sequels. No, you get a whole shootout, then the climax, then the epilogue in the hospital. They add some new stuff in the middle to show a dog pick up a weird egg at the death scene, get implanted by an alien and then go to a warehouse, where slimy eggs crawl out of him. But it’s more than 15 minutes into the movie when it finally gets to the end of part 1 and says “15 years later.” I’m surprised they didn’t include the full end credits.

And the craziness isn’t over yet. The first scene set 15 years later (so 2002, I guess) has part 1’s cop hero Tom Beck looking at his old ID and then at himself in the mirror, muttering “My god. What have I become?” He is supposed to be unnaturally wrinkly, a gimmick we can only assume was supposed to obscure that they’ve recast from Michael Nouri to Michael Welden (THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, UNDER SIEGE).

Now, I seem to have misunderstood the ending of THE HIDDEN and therefore the beginning of THE HIDDEN II. I thought Lloyd Gallagher sacrificed himself by transferring his life force to Beck. But according to this sequel’s Wikipedia page, Beck died and Gallagher took over his body (which I guess explains his daughter’s hesitation to hold his hand). So wrinkly-different-actor-Beck is Lloyd Gallagher, I guess. And it’s a good thing he stayed on Earth, because apparently that warehouse where the dog brought the alien eggs has been left undisturbed for 15 years but now it’s going to be used for a rave and that stirs things up again.

A fast talking streetwise type individual shows the building to some bigshot promoter guys, saying he wants to call the event “Bad to the Max.” An alien the size of a subway sandwich crawls down his throat before they’ve even left, but they’re not observant enough to notice.

The new Beck somehow knows that this happened here and shows up, and I guess the new bad alien is the old bad alien, because he recognizes Beck and taunts him about what happened last time. Then he kills him.

But never fear, remember he texted for backup 15 years ago, so a new good guy alien arrives here at Star System 9859.8, Third Planet. He’s played by Raphael Sbarge (the jerky nerd guy in MY SCIENCE PROJECT) and just to make sure you don’t forget that he’s a good guy like Kyle MacLachlan’s character they actually named him “MacLachlan.” Very imaginative. He finds Thomas Beck’s daughter Juliet, now grown up and played by Kate Hodge (LEATHERFACE: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE III, RAPID FIRE). She had been estranged from her dad, so she didn’t know he looked like a different actor wearing wrinkle makeup, and didn’t even believe the inexplicably rude morgue attendant (Dennis Bertsch) that it was him. When she corrects him for calling him old the guy snottily says, “Look, I just work here.”

The alien goes on a body switching spree again, not as epic this time. Now the music he enjoys is cheesy dance stuff. He gets a boombox again, and then some Black stereotype guys try to steal it from him. You know that thing in movies where if a white guy walks down a certain street he’s a fool because everybody knows he’ll automatically be surrounded and bullied by a group of Black men who stand around waiting to hassle the weak and non-streetwise. BUT THEY DID NOT EXPECT AN EVIL ALIEN!

The rave part is kind of funny. There’s a long shot of a woman’s back tattoos because can you believe it? All over her back. Tattoos! This place is legit. Juliet and MacLachlan go there, but which one is the alien? It’s crowded in there, it could be anyone! Well, as savvy viewers who understand the universal language of cinema we know it must be one of these two the camera is focusing on – a dude in a chair and a woman giving him a lap dance. Sure enough she dry humps him to death and no one notices and in fact the dancers then crowd around to block the view of the dead body from others.

Luckily the music seems to be played very quietly, so they can easily have discussions without yelling, and they manage to corner this Steve Isaacs looking motherfucker who’s possessed by the alien:

They shoot at him in the middle of the dance floor and nobody notices.

Then the movie weirdly slows down, Juliet and MacLachlan are staying in an apartment together, he keeps asking her about earth things, she teaches him how to brush his teeth, they fuck on the floor. The end, pretty much. The only really recommendable part of the movie is that, being made in the days when CG was too expensive for movies like this, it has some good, slimy monster FX by Todd Masters (THE ARRIVAL, MONSTER MAN, SLITHER, AMERICAN MARY).

The choice of writer/director Seth Pinsker is mysterious. According to IMDb he had only directed two shorts, one episode of Eight Is Enough, and three episodes of CBS Library, and all of those credits were more than a decade old at the time. Since THE HIDDEN II he has only directed one short and produced the 2004 TV special America’s Top Dog. But he works in advertising as president of The M Creative Group, Inc. The bio on their websight repeatedly calls him an Academy Award nominee, which turns out to be for Best Live Action Short for his debut Strange Fruit in 1979. (He lost to Taylor Hackford.) Anyway, the point is he brings to the table a keen sensitivity to clients’ needs and a finely honed understanding of how to service clients’ goals. Simply put, he is unsurpassed at exceeding client objectives… and then some.

He has a Twitter account, but only posted a few times in 2009 and 2010, mostly promoting some weird VR glove. Anyway, my point is that there’s just enough of a paper trail on him to believe he’s a real guy who got the gig off of TV commercials or something and not somebody taken over by an alien making a bad DTV sequel to THE HIDDEN just to mess with the humans. But I could be wrong.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 14th, 2020 at 11:47 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

12 Responses to “The Hidden II”

  1. I remember renting this at the local grocery store along with Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. All I remember from The Hidden 2 is that I recall most of it is like two person play and nothing happens. I don’t remember a rave at all.

  2. I’m gonna own my own dumbass-ness here and say I kind of appreciate naming the character MacLachlan. It’s not subtle, but it’s kind of cute, I guess. Maybe I’d feel differently if I’d seen the movie, or known it existed, before ten minutes ago. Much love to the original, in any event.

  3. Hehe — and that’s why old Mr. Kiersey always told me I used too many damned commas. To be clear, I still haven’t seen The Hidden II.

  4. Has there ever been a bigger drop off in quality than there was between the junky genre movies of the 80s and the junky genre movies of the 90s? You still get some good stuff up to maybe ’91 and then action and horror both decide to hold hands and jump off a fucking cliff together, leaving behind a wasteland of Shannon Tweed movies and WITCHCRAFT sequels. No wonder the studios had to step in with SCREAM and SPEED and shit. The independents just could not get their shit together and produce any watchable trash. When fucking Full Moon is the most reliable schlock purveyor in the game, you know shit is dire.

  5. At least part of the problem with 90’s schlock probably had to do with the reactionary ratings the MPAA started handing out as a punishment for the excesses of the 80’s. Something like LEATHERFACE: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE III had to get resubmitted, what, like, 16 times, before it finally got an R rating? So much of schlock filmmaking is about offering transgressive thrills, and when the MPAA took that away from them, I think it was a lot harder to get motivated to make scrappy, low-budget horror.

    Plus, obviously, for some reason at midnight on December 31, 1989, every single living cinematographer simultaneously lost the knowledge of how to shoot cool-looking atmospheric shots where a bunch of dry ice is backlit with an ambiguous blue light, so that hurt too.

  6. I think when Dimension swooped in to take over most theatrical genre schlock was when we were in trouble. The 80s sheen was gone but a lot of the scrum remained.

    I remember my genuine shock at seeing a Dolph Lundgren movie bypass theatrical for video.

    Still miss when schlock got theatrical release even for a week like the one theater by my house that played Leprechaun and American Cyborg the same weekend. Good times. (Same theater i saw Hidden 1 at).

    Anyway I remember my excitement at Hidden 2 airing on Sci-Fi channel around my Christmas break, and I remember watching a lot of stuff happening after they ostensibly killed the alien and wondering “whats going on here?”

  7. I could have sworn there was a third DTV Hidden movie. I vaguely remember the cover was a take on the original theatrical poster with a split image of a man’s face, and they dropped the numbering. It was called THE HIDDEN: GENE WAR or some crap. I can’t find any evidence that one was ever made, though. Maybe I’m conflating The Hidden movies with the Scanners movies or misremembering something from an old Starlog.

  8. Without looking into it particularly, I suspect the drop off in non-big-studio genre movie quality probably had a lot to do with changes in distribution and their ability to actually put their movies in venues where they could make as much money as they did in the 80s. A consequence of those big studios just taking over more and more and more and squeezing out the smaller outfits. Drinking their milkshake, stealing their water. So it got cheaper, got worse, and died off. Kind of what had already happened to Italian genre movies about a decade earlier.

    The 90s got good for more “prestige” indie movies, probably because they could find some room to breathe in the festival circuit.

  9. Where’d you find it? Scarecrow or is it streaming anywhere?

  10. Yeah, Scarecrow has a DVD double feature. One of those ones where they might’ve sold more with only the one movie. I would say it’s not really worth the effort to track down, but then again you are Franchise Fred and I respect that.

  11. That’s actually an incentive. I want to own The Hidden now and if it has both I can do my due diligence.

    Unfortunately Amazon doesn’t carry it so I can’t use your link, but it’s on eBay.

  12. That’s a great point about it being 2002 if it’s 15 years later. It does not seem like it’s 2002 in the movie. It’s 1993. That’s why the rave promoter wears a jacket that looks like an Uno card.

    “Scanners II” (1991) has a similar problem. If David Kellum and Julie Vale are the children of Cameron Vale and Kim Obrist from “Scanners” (1981), and they’re college-aged, that would mean the movie is set in 1999 or later.

    “Terminator 2” (1991) has to take place at least in 1994 for John Connor (born 1984) to be 10 years old, but that’s close enough to 1991 that the world didn’t have to look that different.

    At the time I didn’t think “Alien Nation” (1989) (the TV series) was trying very hard to make the 1995 setting look futuristic. The cop cars are rounded-off 1990s cars, basically. But then as it turns out they were right to do that—the real 1995 wasn’t that futuristic after all.

    The rave dates “Hidden II” but at least I enjoyed the music, which is not a guarantee with rave music. The early electronic dance music was more accessible, with fat wet synth chords and atmosphere, before it all became variations on oontz oontz oontz oontz with different names.

    I asked this in the comments for “The Hidden” but since “The Hidden II” has been reviewed, I’ll ask it here. Does it seem to you like they were saying that Beck had turned evil while waiting for backup and had embarked a series of killings? That would be a pretty big deal, but the movie doesn’t seem to care enough to elaborate.

    Was the nerd in “My Science Project” a jerk? It’s been decades since I saw the movie but I do remember sympathising with him, being pleasantly surprised that he made friends with the cool guys instead of being bullied by them, and loving that his book-learning saves the day. I’ll have to read the linked review.

    Re: Mr. Majestyk: It’s tempting to say that the world lost its innocence the year that I grew up, and that’s why movies went downhill.

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