Monstervision's Joe Bob Briggs Looks At

The Hitcher (1986)

(From Joe Bob's Ultimate B Movie Guide)

movie poster Siskel the Simp and Ebert the Wimp have been mouthin off again about "senseless violence" and dumpin on a flick called "The Hitcher." I was gonna pass it up, cause I thought it was an art flick like Poltergeist, but ever since they made I Spit On Your Grave famous by declaring it the scummiest movie ever made, I've depended on their recommendations. And once again, they've sniffed out a drive-in classic.

This is the finest movie ever made about why it's definitely not a good idea to pick up a hitchhiking Dutch actor on a Texas highway at night in the middle of a rainstorm, specially if he carries a switchblade, smells bad, and says stuff like, "First I cut off his legs. And his arms. And his head." But this kid DOES pick up Rutger Hauer, and pretty soon the hitcher is following him everywhere, rammin him with a pickup, blowin up gas stations, icing every cop in sight and framing the kid for it. Then, after they've wasted every cop vehicle in three Texas counties and had some really disgusting cheeseburgers, Hauer decides to tie the legs of the kid's girlfriend to a pole, tie her hands to the bumper of a sem-eye, and make a wish. At this point the kid gets p.o.ed and we have one of the all-time great Heinz-Ketchup-on-the-windshield shootout finales.
We're talking zero breasts, but:
Twenty dead bodies.
Seven motor vehicle chases, with five crash-and-burns.
Six quarts blood.
Jennifer Jason Leigh taffy pull.
Gratuitous vomit, but a 62 on the Vomit Meter.
Exploding gas station.
Finger disguised as a French fry.
Exploding attack copter.
Texas State Trooper Fu.
Range Rover Fu.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Rutger Hauer, as the hitcher, for stickin pennies on the kid's eyes and saying, "I want you to stop me";
C. Thomas Howell, as the kid, for killing Rutger Hauer five or six times; and Robert Harmon, the director, for making Ebert & Siskel so durn mad. Three and a half stars 3 and a half stars. Joe Bob says check it out.


Joe Bob:
I just wanna
Sit down
And shut up
Have nobody bother me
I just wanna
Sit down
And shut up
Then maybe I'll see
What life is all about
What life is all about
Somebody tell me
What is the meaning of life
George Paez
Austin, TEX.

Dear George:
Rhyming. Rhyming is the meaning of life, George.

Dear Joe Bob:
My wife says your last concert drew a "definately yuppy crowd."
Please, JB, say it isn't so.
M.B. Chuck

Dear M.B.:
Yeah, but then we threw your wife out and it was fine.

2000 Joe Bob Briggs. All Rights Reserved. Not an AOL Time-Warner Company in this lifetime.

"The Hitcher" availability on video and on DVD

For this and other movie reviews by the artist formerly known as the host of MonsterVision, go to Joe Bob

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Trivia (courtesy of the Internet Movie Database)

* Eric Red (the writer), said that the film was inspired by the Doors song, "Riders on the Storm"

* C. Thomas Howell admitted that he was actually afraid of Rutger Hauer on and off the set because of the actor's general intensity.

* The original cut of the film ran three hours long.
* In an appearance on "Late Night with David Letterman" (1982), Rutger Hauer stated that the film originally ended with Jim Halsey shooting John Ryder as Ryder lay prone on the highway. The filmmakers shot the ending now in the film (with Ryder getting to his feet, showing he is still a threat and giving Jim at least partial justification for shooting him) to avoid an X rating.

* Followed in 2002 by a direct-to-video sequel, remade in 2007.

The Hitcher (2007 remake)

"The next stop on this ride is the cemetery. A homicidal hitchhiker thumbs his way across the American Southwest leaving a bloody trail of human roadkill in his wake in this harrowing remake. While tormenting a young couple with his crimes, mild-mannered maniac John Ryder (Sean Bean) litters the desert landscape with corpses and lays waste to local law enforcement. Can the plucky teens put a stop to the rampage? Sophia Bush, Zachary Knighton and Neal McDonough co-star. Directed by Dave Meyers; screenplay by Eric Red and Jake Wade Wall and Eric Bernt; based on the film written by Eric Red." - HBO/Cinemax

Leonard Maltin says of it, "...Some good car stunts and a credible performance from Bean as the evildoer aren't enough to justify revisiting this material. Apparently the most original change filmmakers could think of was switching the gender in the notorious body "stretching" scene we first saw 20 years earlier. One and a half stars (rated R)
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Bud Lite ad spoofing The Hitcher

If you like The Hitcher, recommends Duel (as does Joe Bob)

Elvis has left the building, and he took Joe Bob with him.