(A.k.a. AUTOSTOP ROSSO SANGUE)
Italian journalist Walter (Franco Nero) is a chauvinistic pig. He's travelling cross-country to Los Angeles with his wife, rich daddy's girl Eve (Corrine Clery). Along the way he drinks heavily and rapes her whenever it takes his fancy.
After causing a ruckus on their last night of staying at a caravan park, they resume their journey with sore heads from the night before. While driving along a quiet road, they happen upon a broken-down car. Upon Eve's insistence, they offer to give its driver - Adam (David Hess) - a lift to the next town.
Within five minutes, Walter has described Eve as a "whore" and Adam has asked her "How'd you like to suck my cock?". This last outburst provokes violence, as Walter drags Adam from the vehicle and proceeds to give him a good thrashing. At this point Adam produces a gun and reveals that he's a robber, on the run with $2 million in cash following a botched bank job.
From here on in, Adam insists that Walter and Eve drive him to the Mexican border. If they get him there safely, he promises he won't kill them. But, he warns, he may just have his wicked way with Eve at some point during the journey.
The usual things happen: the car is pulled over by traffic cops; a tense stop at a gas station to refuel; psychological battles between Adam and Walter; attempts by the married couple to outwit their captor, etc. Adam even attempts to bond with Walter over a bottle of whiskey, suggesting that the reporter write a book on his murderous exploits.
Oh, and of course, Adam does eventually get amorous with Eve - on more than one occasion - much to Walter's chagrin.
There are a few twists in the tale as events progress, but it would remiss of me to divulge of them here.
Stick around though, to see if Walter and Eve survive their ordeal ... and whether their relationship suffers if they do.
Based on Peter Kane's novel "The Violence and the Fury", HITCH-HIKE was directed with great style by Pasquale Festa Campanile in 1977.
The three leads each turn in charismatic performances. Blue-eyed Nero is, of course, an eminently watchable main man - even at his most brutish, it's difficult not to warm to him. Hess essentially reprises his role of Krug from THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, as he would do again a couple of years later in HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK. It's a persona he played out very convincingly on each outing. Clery, naturally, is drop-dead gorgeous and frequently naked.
The fourth character in the film is Ennio Morricone's beautiful, evocative score. It's used sparingly which gives it greater impact when it does kick in. The fifth character is the luscious scenery - Italy's countryside standing in for the American highways - stunningly captured by cinematographers Franco Di Giacomo and Giuseppe Ruzzolini.
Nicely paced and frequently sleazy, HITCH-HIKE is an easy watch that holds up well to repeat viewings. The tension in the car between the three leads is often palpable, though it's hard not to draw comparisons with Mario Bava's similar RABID DOGS. Admittedly, Bava's film is the better of the two.
Even so, HITCH-HIKE should appeal to anyone with a penchant for good old-fashioned exploitation cinema fuelled by fever-pitch performances and oodles of political incorrectness. The ending is quite delicious, too.
HITCH-HIKE comes to UK blu-ray uncut (103 minutes and 42 seconds), courtesy of 88 Films.
The film is proffered as an MPEG4-AVC file on this BD-25 disc, which is locked to region B. The original 1.85:1 aspect ratio is respected, in a 1080p HD transfer from a nice print. Images are well-defined and natural-looking, a fine layer of grain ensuring an authentic filmic look and feel throughout. Colours are strong, blacks are solid and flesh tones are true. This is a marked step-up from previous DVD incarnations. The onscreen title is AUTOSTOP ROSSO SANGUE.
LPCM 1.0 mono audio is provided in both English and Italian. Both are dependable tracks; the latter is equipped with well-written and easily readable English subtitles.
The only extra material on the disc are trailers for CHILDREN OF THE CORN, HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS, DON'T GO IN THE WOODS ... ALONE, LIVE LIKE A COP DIE LIKE A MAN, MOTHER'S DAY, TRANCERS, SLAUGHTERHOUSE and SPLATTER UNIVERSITY.
This release also comes with a poster "art card" inlay, and double-sided cover artwork. The reverse cover is the same design as shown above, but with the Italian title AUTOSTOP ROSSO SANGUE.
HITCH-HIKE is great fun with a to-die-for cast. It looks fabulous on 88 Films' blu-ray.
Review By Stuart Willis
|Released by 88 Films|
|see main review|