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Video Rewind: Hitchhiking

Updated on November 7, 2014
Rutger Hauer waits in the rain for an unsuspecting driver (C. Thomas Howell) to pick him up in The Hitcher
Rutger Hauer waits in the rain for an unsuspecting driver (C. Thomas Howell) to pick him up in The Hitcher

You know how when you were younger you were told never to accept a ride with a stranger? Well some people just don't get it. They'd rather hitchhike than spend the necessary money for a bus ticket.

And hitchhiking can be deadly when it comes to the movies.

I guess the demonic driver in 1977's The Car didn't like John Rubenstein's musical ability so that's why he was run down. It didn't matter that he was propped up outside a house in the morning (even though the owner told him to get away and to stop playing his music) he didn't listen. But for poor John thinking he had a ride and then getting plowed down by whatever was driving the car it was an end of life lesson learned. You'd think someone would have paid attention.

Had Melanie Griffith paid attention then she wouldn't have gotten whacked in the back of her head in Body Double, in which she played an adult film star. Because she was roaming the street looking for a ride, she could have gotten herself killed when the two cars were drag racing down Torreyson Drive (but to me it looks like it might be Mulholland).

It's a good thing our hero (Craig Wasson) was running after her. He witnessed the head klunking and in any mystery the police wouldn't believe him so where did he find her? Laying in a mound of dirt while our killer was digging a grave for her.

And the same goes for Cherie Currie for accepting a ride with a kinky married couple in Foxes. While the poor girl is strung out on whatever her drug choice was that day, the couple want to take her back to their place for an "intimate" party.

They try to ply her with alcohol and while they're drinking in the front seat they obviously don't see what's in front of them. Let's just say this hitchhiking experience ends in a deadly way.

Even though John, Melanie and Cherie had their share of hitchhiking problems, C. Thomas Howell had it even worse in The Hitcher.

He at least acknowledged when he picked Rutger Hauer up that it was a wrong thing to do. We know he had a decent upbringing since he mentioned his mother at the onslaught and how wrong it was to be picking up a hitchhiker.

Maybe he felt sorry for the poor guy since he was standing at the side of the road, pouring rain with thumb extended. Or maybe it was because he wanted company on his ride cross country and he was bored.

Whatever the reason (than what the story implies) it wasn't a good idea to pick up a hitchhiker. The one you pick up could be just as deadly.

If you didn't know there was a sequel made in 2003, called The Hitcher 2: I've Been Waiting, in which Howell reprises his 1986 role as Jim Halsey. This time he takes his girlfriend and guess who's waiting on the side of the road? Not Rutger Hauer but Jake Busey. It's basically The Hitcher rehashed but this time with Kari Wuhrer in Howell's role.

And if you're an up and coming actress don't take a ride to Las Vegas like Elizabeth Berkley did in Showgirls. You know what happened to her career, but in the end after appearing in one of the worst movies ever, Berkley was smart in accepting a ride out of town.


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