The Hitcher (1986)

Starring Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jeffrey DeMunn, John M. Jackson, Billy Green Bush, Jack Thibeau, Armin Shimerman, Gene Davis

Directed by Robert Harmon

Expectations: High.


Calling The Hitcher a horror film is a stretch, but as it mostly trades in tension and suspense, and it features an ample amount of gore FX, I think it’s horrific enough to qualify. And let’s not forget all the wonderful explosions and car crashes, of which there are many. Yeah, The Hitcher is just as dope as everyone has led me to believe. Some stupid story elements hold it back from being pure gold, but these moments were never enough to quiet my love for the film. It’s a tense ride, and my predominant reaction to the film was, “Oh shit!” Seriously, every time I thought the main character was getting the upper hand there would come a glorious “Oh shit!” moment, and then Rutger Hauer would assert himself as the true badass of the film.

C. Thomas Howell is driving down a desert road late at night and is finding it hard to stay awake. Thinking it will help him remain conscious, he picks up a hitchhiker (Rutger Hauer) who quickly goes from nice to sadistic asshole. When Howell finds an opportunity to ditch Hauer, he takes it, and it starts a movie-long feud between the two that lasts until the bitter end. Hitchhiking fell out of favor a while ago, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this film had something to do with that, much like Jaws deterred people from the ocean waters.

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Arena (1989)

Starring Paul Satterfield, Hamilton Camp, Claudia Christian, Marc Alaimo, Shari Shattuck, Armin Shimerman, Brett Porter, Charles Tabansi, Michael Deak, Jack Carter, William Butler, Grady Clarkson, Dave Thompson, Ken Clark, Diana Rose

Directed by Peter Manoogian

Expectations: Pretty high. Look at that poster!

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
threehalfstar


Like a sci-fi fan’s teenage wet dream, Arena successfully combines two of the universe’s most satisfying things, boxing and aliens. Add in a healthy dose of said aliens getting repeatedly punched and kicked in their foam latex faces and we’ve got ourselves a ridiculously fun slice of 1980s high-brow cinema. I can’t ask for much more than that!

Steve Armstrong just isn’t cut out to be a short order cook, but when an alien causes some trouble in the restaurant where he works, Armstrong gives him the old one-two and then throws him out through the front window. In the grand tradition of tough guy movies, he loses his job and proves just how badass he is in one fell swoop. His co-worker, a four-armed dude named Shorty, takes Armstrong in till he can get back on his feet but others have had their interest piqued by Armstrong’s supreme fighting skill.

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