Plot: What’s it about?
Walter Mancini (Franco Nero) is a famous writer from Italy, but he has become bitter and gains little pleasure from his life. His beautiful wife Eve (Corinne Clery) has been tired of his attitude for some time, but stays with him nonetheless. He has started to abuse her in both physical and verbal fashions, but even so, the two remain a couple in the end. As the two travel across the countryside on a long distance trip, they argue a lot and talk about their problems, but little do they know, their problems are about to worsen. After seeing a stranded motorist on the side of the road, Walter pulls over to inform the man that he’d send the next police car to assist him, but Eve insists that they give the motorist a lift. But she has no idea that they’ve just picked up a sadistic madman and of course, by the time the truth is revealed about Adam (David A. Hess), it is too late to avoid the violent outbreaks he loves. Adam begins to assault the couple in physical ways, but then starts to mess with their minds, before turning his attentions to Eve’s body. What will become of this twisted situation, will help arrive for the couple, or will they remain under Adam’s control?
This is a dark and often brutal picture, with an intense atmosphere, horrific events, and no real likable characters involved. This paints an unusual canvas, since we usually have to connect with the endangered characters, but in Hitch-Hike that isn’t the case, though we do prefer them to the sadistic villain, of course. But this is not some slapdash exploitation production, as the characters are well drafted and the material well written, so Hitch-Hike is kind of a dark, unpleasant, and cynical character study of sorts. The storyline is brutal, but remains realistic in most respects until closer to the finale, when things spin out of control somewhat. While not a gore drenched movie, Hitch-Hike has a lot of violence and also features strong sexual content, including scenes of rape and other sadistic actions. In other words, this is not the kind of movie everyone will want to see, but for fans of The Last House on the Left and The House on the Edge of the Park, Hitch-Hike is more than worth a look, especially in this uncut & uncensored edition.
In the kind of role he has become infamous for, David A. Hess puts on his usual eerie, sadistic performance in Hitch-Hike. Hess has a way of being almost too realistic in roles in this, which adds infinite impact to the material, without question. Its one thing to see the horrible events as shown in Hitch-Hike, but when Hess is so believable as the psychopath, the brutal actions seem that much more disturbing. He has some excellent moments in this one, perhaps even as good as his most infamous ones of all time, so fans of Hess shouldn’t miss Hitch-Hike. Other films with Hess include The Last House on the Left, Swamp Thing, The Legend of Boggy Creek, Avalanche Express, and The House on the Edge of the Park. The cast also includes Franco Nero (Django, Companeros), Corinne Clery (Moonraker, The Story of O), and Joshua Sinclair (Django Rides Again, John and Yoko: A Love Story).
Video: How does it look?
Hitch-Hike is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Once again, Anchor Bay is able to wave its magic wand and conjure up an impeccable visual effort, simply stunning work all around. I expected a good condition, but worn print would be used, but the one used here looks almost brand new and should amaze fans. I saw some minor grain at times, but minimal nicks and other flaws, as Anchor Bay has either done some serious restoration work or managed to locate an incredible print. The image is sharp as a tack throughout, with bright colors, natural flesh tones, and well balanced black levels on deck. I was shocked by how good this transfer looks, so I have to once again commend Anchor Bay, another blockbuster visual presentation for a lesser known, cult type motion picture.
Audio: How does it sound?
A mono option is found here and while not overly impressive, it is solid and has no serious drawbacks to mention. The audio is fairly clean, given the film’s age and nature, which means little in terms of hiss, harshness, or the like. The excellent musical score by Ennio Morricone sounds good here also, which is great news since it is such a good soundtrack. No real memorable sound effects can be heard due to the material involved, but dialogue is sharp and never hard to understand in the least. Like I said, not a pristine track nor one to showcase your system with, but a solid effort that seems to cover the bases.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes a brief retrospective featurette titled The Devil Thumbs a Ride, with a selection of interviews with stars Franco Nero, David A. Hess, and Corinne Clery, as well as the film’s theatrical trailer.