Schlocktoberfest X – Day 9: The Hitcher

The Hitcher (1986)


*Spoilers Throughout*

What’s This About:
Rutger Hauer just needs a ride to his sister’s house in Poughkeepsie but when he gets in a car with C. Thomas Howell he goes nuts hearing him drone on about being in The Outsiders even though he was the worst part about it.

Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:

  • Hitcher? It nearly killed her!
  • I’m watching this on HBO Max but it’s the weirdest aspect ratio I’ve ever seen. It’s like 16:9 but inside a letter box. Like 6.9:4.20.
  • Now it’s back to 4:3. I guess any movie starring C. Thomas Howell doesn’t deserve a decent HD transfer. Except Soul Man.
  • Howell (Jim) just picked up Rutger Hauer (John) with his car as John was walking on the side of the road. I believe that makes him “The” Hitcher that the movie title mentions.
  • Few people know that hitching was named after Alfred Hitchcock, who famously would force his way into moving cars with a chainsaw through the roof.
  • Jim stops at a construction site but John warns him not to speak up by holding a switchblade to his dick. But how would the construction guy not notice that? That’s all they do is stare at crotches.
  • Jim pushed John out of the car. That was the shortest movie ever.
  • So after Jim dumps John out, he’s driving along all pleased with himself and a family truckster hauling a boat passes him with John in the back. How in the holy living armadillo fuck did they pass this kid who was speeding away from a killer while in a station wagon full of kids and towing a speedboat?
  • Well, I guess John killed them all. For speeding. And they deserved it in my book. Which is a LAW book.
  • I’m sitting here trying to think of who would have been better cast in the Jim role in 1986. Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen, Sean Penn, Matthew Broderick, Michael J. Fox, Timothy Hutton, anthony Michael Hall, Billy Zabka, hell any other young actor from the mid-80s aside from C. Thomas Howell. Not a fan.

  • So John leaves Jim behind at an abandoned gas station after hitching in a truck, which is what he does best, but then in the next scene he ends up behind him. None of the vehicular action in this movie makes sense.
  • John blows up a gas station and Jim narrowly escapes. There has to be an easier way to kill him, right John?
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh! She’s gonna be somebody’s baby tonight.
  • Remember how she was primed for a big career resurgence after The Hateful Eight? What happened? Probably Annihilation. so, fitting title.
  • She also reminds me that Mark “Rat” Ratner or Mike Damone or Nicolas Cage or Eric Stoltz or Anthony Edwards or Forest Whitaker would have been better than C. Thomas Howell.

  • Jim is eating some steak fries and one of them happens to be a finger. Still better than eating at Applebee’s.
  • The cops arrest Jim. So John’s not there? But how did the finger in up in the food?
  • I actually hope this turns out that there is no John and Jim has been doing all this and he’s crazier than a shithouse rat.
  • This movie was going about 9 miles an hour but with this whole Jim in jail sequence it slammed on the brakes so hard it flew out the windshield and around the circumference of the. Earth and back through the rear windshield.
  • John killed everyone in the police station? Is he the fucking Terminator or something?     
  • A bunch more cops swarm the place but Jim escapes out the back. You’d think they’d have it covered.
  • I guess this is more thriller than horror. Oh well. Erotic thriller depending on your feelings toward C. Thomas Howell.
  • Ok, I just thought of the perfect casting for Jim: Eddie Deezen.

  • Also, of course, The Honky Tonk Man.
  • This is another one of those movies where the main character apparently has a homing device embedded in his asshole and the villain can teleport.
  • John comes by in a truck and shoots the two cops Jim is riding with. Then Jim puts a gun under his own chin but he’s too chicken to pull the trigger. It takes a real man to have the willpower and strength to blow your brains out. Remember that.
  • It’s actually kind of funny that Jim keeps wanting to turn himself in but it keeps going wrong. This would be a slapstick comedy if the music were different.
  • Jennifer Jason Lee saves Jim from some cops that were going to 2020 him. Now they’re on the run and this movie is basically The Chase now, but not nearly as much of a classic.

  • There’s a helicopter now. I really hope John is the pilot.
  • Jim is struggling to get this police car up past 60 mph. I was just thinking today how much more smoothly cars operate now than they used to when I was going 85 but it felt like 35. That’s the power of my wife’s Honda Accord. My first car, a 1986 Oldsmobile Calais, would have shaken apart at 55. It did have a calculator in the dashboard though.
  • John comes up again in the truck and shoots the helicopter down with a revolver. Sure. There are more police vehicles destroyed in this than the Blues Brothers. Speaking of Soul Man.
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh just asked Jim why John didn’t kill them. There goes my Fight Club theory along with any interest I had in the outcome of this story.
  • Hoo boy is this movie uninteresting. Maybe if we knew anything about Jim other than his name I’d give two microscopic mouse shits about what happens to him?
  • John has JJL tied between two trucks. I hope he pulls this off (pun intended) because I don’t care if she lives and I would just like to see some limbs severed.
  • YES! It happened!!! But dang, they didn’t show anything. I was drawn in, and they quartered me.

  • Somehow John escapes his confinement in the back of a guarded police bus and jumps through the windshield of the cop car Jim took right behind the bus. I guess he is the Terminator.
  • Jim shoots John with a giant police riot shotgun that doesn’t kick at all, which leads me to believe this was all in his head.

Was it Entertaining:

Any Good Gore: NO! Don’t tease me with dismemberment and not come through! I don’t know how many times I’ve told my wife the same thing.

Any Nudity: The Hitcher didn’t just stick his thumb out if you know what I mean…

Best Quote:  John: “You wanna know what happens to an eyeball when it gets punctured? Do you got any idea how much blood jets out of a guy’s neck when his throat’s been slit?”


Best Scene: The scene near the end with JJL tied to the trucks. There’s actually some really good tension and an impossible situation plus an unexpected outcome.

Worst Scene: When Jim gets arrested and tossed in the cooler. First of all, I despise wrongfully accused plots 99.9% of the time. And second of all… eh who cares.

Final Thoughts: There’s a decent premise here but it just didn’t work for me. I guess John is a good villain and Rutger Hauer gives a good performance, but I really had a hard time caring about most of what happened, it just wasn’t all that interesting to me. I would have vastly preferred that C. Thomas Howell and Jennifer Jason Leigh switched roles. At least C. Thomas Howell wasn’t in blackface this time. Apparently there’s a remake of this where there are two dumb teens and Sean Bean is John, but one dumb teen is already two too many. And there’s also a Netflix reboot series called The Witcher, which is John in wizards’ times.

Score: 4.5 Finger Fries (out of 10)

4 thoughts on “Schlocktoberfest X – Day 9: The Hitcher

  1. I laughed quite a few times reading this.

    I re-watched this one recently and felt that Rutger Hauer was absolutely mesmerising in this. Cynical, menacing, a force of nature that just keeps coming back.


  2. Pingback: Schlocktoberfest X: The Final Recap | Hard Ticket to Home Video

  3. Pingback: The Schlocktoberfest – Day 3: The Hitcher | Hard Ticket to Home Video

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