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Hitch Hike to Hell
Killer on the Loose / Highway zur Hölle

USA 1977
produced by
Irvin Berwick, Frances Adair (executive), Joseph Agnello (executive) for A.B.A. Film Corporation
directed by Irvin Berwick
starring Robert Gribbin, Russell Johnson, John Harmon, Randy Echols, Dorothy Bennett, Mary Ellen Christie, Kippi Bell, Sheryl Lynn, John Yates, Jacqueline Poseley, Beth Reis, Jane Ratliff, Don Lewis, Gail Bowman, Vincent Lucchesi, Ginny Morrel, Melanie Sutherland, Petra Michelle, Gary Frischer, Jackie Miller, Jayme Feinstein, Diane Hirshberg, Debra Draper
written by John Buckley, music by Perry Daniels

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Howard (Robert Gribbin) is a good boy. Sure, he's a bit slow, and sometimes drives his boss (John Harmon) at the dry cleaners he works as a delivery boy at a little bit crazy, but there's no ill will in it. And in town, everybody loves him, and he loves them back. But on top of everything, he truly loves his mum (Dorothy Bennett), even if she might be slighty overbearing. He's also the proper nice guy who always gives hitchhikers a ride, and there are plenty of hitchhikers in and around the small town he lives in, as multiple highways cross there. There's just one thing he doesn't like, and that's teenage runaways, since they're bound to break their mothers' hearts. And there are plenty of teenage runaways among the girls he picks up on the road - and when they start to rant about their mums, Howard just loses it, and he kills the girls, often not without raping them first. He usually forgets about these episodes straight afterwards, but is plagued by glimpses of their demises. Police Captain Shaw (Russell Johnson) and Lt. Davis (Randy Echols) are baffled by these murders for sure, not only because Howard seems harmless as can be and has no previous criminal record, thus no fingerprints on file, but also because he hides out in the open - after all his dry cleaners van is cruising the streets all hours of the day because of business, so much so that it has become invisible. Things only heat up when an 11 year old girl (Sheryl Lynn) goes missing, and the police get a report about her running away before she's found dead - but while Howard isn't very good a delivery boy, as psycho killer he's very efficient ...

 

That Hitch Hike to Hell was inspired by Hitchcock's Psycho is rather obvious (up to the final, asylum-set scene), what with a mild-mannered, reasonably attractive, mother-obsessed psycho-killer at the center of both movies who manages to evade capture for the longest time due to pure luck rather than design. But quality-wise this here film doesn't even play in the same league as Hitchcock's masterpiece. That's not to say Hitch Hike to Hell is a bad movie in its own right though, it's an effective if a bit run-of-the-mill psycho thriller with shocks, suspense and bits of nudity in all the right places, with a mounting feel of unease the longer it goes on. And it's carried by strong enough performances to make this work for sure. And of course, from today's point of view, it's an almost irresistible trip down memory lane for all genre lovers out there, and thus well worth a look!

 

 

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD