The Hitchhiker is a 1980s horror/thriller anthology
series, in this instance incorporating ten stories over two
discs. Topping and tailing each segment is Page Fletcher as
the Hitchhiker himself, a bland deliverer of omens and morals.
get off to a bad start with The Last Scene, directed
by Paul Verhoeven of Robocop and Starship Troopers
fame. But everyone has to start somewhere, I suppose. A first-time
director is attempting to film a low-budget thriller using
a talentless leading lady. Under pressure from the financier,
he refuses to replace her because of his own feelings for
the woman. Instead he rehearses with her. However, events
from the script begin to take place in reality, and the actress
belatedly realises she is being frightened into improving
her scenes. As revenge she turns the tables to prove her ability.
She really shouldn't have bothered, because her genuine acting
is as awful as her 'bad' acting.
Nightshift isn't much better. Margot Kidder of the
Superman films plays a cruel and thieving nightshift
nurse in an old people's home who gets her comeuppance from
an old man who turns out to be a vampire. The Miracle of
Alice Kramer is a definite step up in terms of quality,
although it still borrows heavy from other sources. A charlatan
priest exploits a young woman who bleeds spontaneously from
her palms and feet, with predictable consequences. The other
tales carry on in a similar dreary vein: Ghost-writer;
W.G.O.D.; The Legendary Billy B.; Homebodies; Why Are You
Here?; and In The Name Of Love. Why Are You Here?
is simply a waste of good film, as nothing of real consequence
happens for its duration.
I had been in the producer's or script editor's chair, the
only script I would have considered is Man's Best Friend.
A man thrown out by his wife and down on his luck stays at
a friend's apartment while he is away. One night he hears
a pitiful howling. Venturing outside, he befriends a dog,
bringing it inside. When the dog disappears a few times, returning
dirty and covered in blood, he realises that the dog is killing
his enemies. This he thinks is good, until he begins to hate
himself. This is well told and competently filmed so that
you have no idea what the twist will be until the conclusion.
It's a shame the other scripts weren't replaced with better
ones; not even the likes of Willem Dafoe, Kirstie Alley, Helen
Hunt or Gary Busey could lift them from the slime.
from the stories themselves, this series was in desperate
need of a creepy storyteller with otherworldly qualities.
This narrator has no discernible charisma or personality.
In all, this is mediocre fair, lacking even a fraction of
the class of The Twilight Zone from the fifties or
The Outer Limits from the sixties.
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