KBT Presents: THE HITCHER
Well it seems to be Rutger Hauer month for KBT screenings. After his highly intelligent, slightly psychotic (justifiably) turn as Replicant in Blade Runner, here he is as an intelligent, very psychotic (not so justifiably) hitchhiker who torments C. Thomas Howell (Wither are you now?) and a young Jennifer Jason Leigh. Yes boys and girls, it is that often overlooked white knuckler from the eighties, The Hitcher. A film that is soon to be remade, much like every other slightly overlooked horror film from the past 3 decades. I have to admit that a no small portion of KBT Screenings (Infernal Affairs, The Wicker Man, King Kong, Black Christmas and Nine Queens) have the purpose of ‘catch the original before the remake’ raison d’etre; besides, of course, that all of the above are highly original and entertaining cinema.
Because I’ve not managed to rewatch The Hitcher in nearly a decade and to go into narrative detail would be to spoil the movie anyway, I’ll just say that whether or not the plot logic, or character motivation hold, The Hitcher gets full points for blending suspense and brutality without one outweighing the other. Taking the best aspects of Steven Spielberg’s early 1970s made for TV movie Duel and adding a stalker/slasher element (which was very popular at the time due to John Carpenter and Wes Craven, director Robert Harmon never went on to make anything particularly memorable after this. Nonetheless several minor horror/thrillers such as 1997’s Breakdown, 2002’s Joy Ride and the first 45 minutes of 2001’s Jeepers Creepers owe no small debt to this bloody diamond in the rough.