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— W.C.U.N — Pittsburgh!!

THE HITCHER (1986) Dir. Robert Harmon. Written by Eric Red. Starring: Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Jeffrey DeMunn.

The terror starts when he stops!

If ever a movie could lay claim to illustrating the perils of picking up strangers in the middle of the night to Generation X it's the first ten minutes of this movie. Penned by Eric Red in the midst of a run of ridiculous but excellent genre scripts, The Hitcher is 80's Horror-Action at it's finest. Pony Boy is believable as a dumb shit kid and Rutger Hauer is definitely believable as a handsome guy who will cut your legs off. Jennifer Jason Leigh is as ubiquitous and essential as ever, somehow the secret sauce to every movie she is in and always, always 100% authentic. But enough about Leigh. This is a movie about dudes and the open road and killing ordinary fucking people. You know, red-blooded American shit. Director Robert Harmon shoots the action well and from a quick IMDB search, it appears that besides a Van Damme film of little mention he became Tom Selleck's go-to guy for an unending parade of made for TV detective stories. Too bad, he has a good eye and builds the tension well. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have Rutger Hauer in his prime playing full psycho. When I was younger, I loved this movie and then in my late teens, early twenties upon revisiting it, I loved the first and last halves but thought the unstoppable killing machine of the 2nd act laughable and enough to kill the movie. Now, older and apparently wiser, I can't take any of it seriously and that 2nd Act that used to stick in my craw goes down like a fine wine again. It's a gloriously dumb movie, but that doesn't mean it's not chilling when it needs to be and downright mean in spots. All glory be to The Hitcher. I think I'm going to go watch it again right now. Stay Gold, Pony Boy!     

 

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