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eighties horror you might have missed

The Hitcher (1986)

While I might occasionally write about films that I've seen more than once, most of the things featured on this blog I'm seeing for the first time. As with anything else, the most fun comes from discovering something new (and then sharing it, of course). That was definitely the case with The Hitcher.

This lonely, hopeless and fantastic film reminds me a lot of Spielberg's Duel (wherein a mysterious semi attempts to run down a man on his way to work, without provocation). The entire story takes places on the road or at roadside destinations along the way. The titular character is played by Rutger Hauer - a man whose face is always covered in either rain or sweat, no matter which film he appears in. His quiet psychosis is creepy and unpredictable, as he plays a cat-and-mouse game with C. Thomas Howell's and Jennifer Jason Leigh's characters, killing pretty much everyone else that comes along. Most of the violence occurs off-screen, as Howell discovers the abandoned cars of each victim along the highway. Mark Isham delivers an amazing trumpet and synth score for the film, which greatly enhances its downbeat mood and reminds you that things are probably not going to turn out well.

A remake of The Hitcher, starring Sean Bean, was made in 2007, but unfortunately that failed to trigger a blu ray release of the original. For now you'll have to settle for a poor DVD transfer from 1999.