Written by Eric Red
Directed by Robert Harmon
1986 - HBO Home Video
Cast: C. Thomas Howell, Rutger Hauer. Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Eclectic Rating: stars
The Original "The Hitcher" with C. Thomas Howell, Rutger Hauer. Man this is a classic! I loved this film when I first saw it back in the late 80s, and recently purchased a copy to add to my video library. I've been on a quest to collect all of my favorite movies from the 80's on DVD, so you're likely to see some more blasts from the past around here in the future.
Why do I like The Hitcher so much? I'm not sure. It's just a suspenseful, scary, relentless, fast paced action movie with great characters and scenery. It is a well written, acted, directed, and well produced film. Great breakthrough story for screenwriter Eric Red too, who penned the script while driving a taxi in Austin, TX. The story idea was inspired by the Doors song Riders on the Storm, while Red drove from New York City to Texas. Having success gaining some interest in his script Red subsequently moved to LA to work on developing the script with David Bombyk.
Perfectly cast. After reading some of the other potential actors who were considered for these roles, I'm glad they settled on Rutger Hauer and C. Thomas Howell. They just seem perfect for their characters. Hauer plays John Rider, a highway psycho haunting a stretch of desert road killing hapless victims who are nice enough to give him a ride.
C. Thomas Howell plays Jim Halsey, a kid on the way to delivering a "drive away" car to its new owner in California. Halsey happens to pick up John Rider just after a fresh kill. From that point on it's an unpredictable roller-coaster ride of action and suspense. We watch Halsey grow from a scared kid into a tough, determined young man, molded and encouraged by Rider's own twisted destiny which brings us to the final climax.
The Hitcher is an artful story about experience, dealing with trauma, and shedding the innocence of youth, while trying to stay alive in the process. Luckily we don't all have Rutger Hauer on our heals, ready to pounce at every corner, driving us into adulthood.
The Hitcher is a clever thrill ride, and for me it stands the test of time. I enjoyed it just as much this year as I did back in 1986.
Find The Hitcher at Amazon.com (paid link)More about The Hitcher at IMDb.com
Last Update: 10 May, 2019