Tag Line : The Terror starts, the moment you stop...

The HitcherA cult classic from the 80's. Whilst travelling through the desert on route to San Diego, Jim Halsey (C. Thomas Howell) decides to pick up a hitch-hiker who appears to be stuck out in the rain. Unfortunately, his good-deed turns out to be not such a good idea and soon wishes he'd heeded his mothers advice about picking up strangers.

The mysterious hitch-hiker (played by Rutger Hauer) turns out to be a psychotic killer, who promptly puts a knife against his throat. Although Jim manages to successfully eject the would-be killer from his car, he discovers his troubles are far from over. As what follows is a deadly cat and mouse game through the desert highways as the hitcher returns to wreak murder and mayhem at every turn.

To make matters worse, the police seem to think that Jim is the one responsible for the slew of brutal killings. Hooking up with a young waitress named Nash (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who knows he's innocent, they attempt to make it to the next county so he can turn himself in and sort matters out. But that proves no easy task, as the state police want him behind bars, the local sheriff wants him dead and the mysterious Hitcher continues to stalk him and stir up matters with the police all along the desert highway.

This was, and indeed still is, one of my favourite road movies from the 1980's. Chilling, suspenseful and action packed, Rutger Hauer is aptly cast as the seemingly unstoppable "hitch hiker from hell", as is C Thomas Howell as the unwitting victim who gets dragged into the Hitcher's deadly game. Bloody good stuff all round!!!

Overall Marks : 6/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Alternate tag lines "Out on the desert highway, the rule of thumb has a different meaning", "He came from hell, don't ask him where he wants to go", "Whatever you do, don't stop for The Hitcher", "Never pick up a stranger".

  • Robert Harmon landed the directors job after the producers saw his previous short film he had previously shot entitled "China Lake" about a rogue cop (played by Charles Napier) terrorising people travelling through the desert.

  • Terence Stamp was originally offered the role of the Hitcher, but turned it down. Sam Elliot subsequently took up the role, but backed out at the last minute.

  • Rutger Hauer agreed to step into the lead role after being impressed by the directors short film "China Lake".

  • Writer Eric Red said that the inspiration for the film was the "Doors" song "Riders on the Storm" about a psychotic hitch hiker.

  • Billy Green Bush, who played trooper Donner, also played Sheriff Landis in "Jason Goes to Hell : The Final Friday".

  • Jennifer Jason Leigh also starred with Rutger Hauer in the film "Flesh & Blood". She's probably best known for her role as Bridget Fonda's psychotic room mate in "Single White Female" and as "Tralala" in the controversial "Last Exit to Brooklyn".

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