Hitch Hike To Hell (1977)

Director: Irvin Berwick.
Writer: John Buckley. Starring. Robert Gribbin, Russell Johnson, John Harmon, Randy Echols, Dorothy Bennett, Mary Ellen Christie USA. 1h 27m.

This is a strange concoction between Hitchcock’s Psycho and any generic sleazy 1970’s exploitation with hints of real life serial killer shenanigans, what a perfection mix of madness and murder! Most of the movie is as obsessed with Howard (Gribbin) as he is with his prey. For the most part Howard us a pleasant clean cut young man, he’s polite and dedicated to his mother and his job, which involves driving around picking up and dropping off people’s laundry but he’s a good Samaritan and will pick up lonely single women who are trying to hitch a ride. Depending on their reasoning for hitching, they might make it to their destination or they become the next victim of a one of his violent sexual tension and murderous rage.

This unflashy thriller gets its point across in a heady pace if it applied more blood and gore it could easily be an extreme video nasty, but it refuses to really give the juicy blood splatters and crazy trippy gore scenes or even a dotted background story as to why Howard is this twisted but you can read between the lines and see that he’s suffering from the loss of a sister and some kind of PTSD which he’s expressing through violence, which is an interesting mix itself and maybe tha’ts enough, do we always need to see the blow by blow to really appreciate what’s happening on the screen already.

The heady summer of ’77 becomes a different world when we see the extent of Howard’s home life, childlike he’s dominated by a stern mother, she’s not the most complicated of characters and her control is through babying her grown son but she’s easily up there with some of the other classic Hollywood overbearing mothers, no doubt she’ll end up as a skeleton in the attic.

Supposedly influenced by the serial killer Edmund Kemper and his Co-Ed killings, you can just about make out the connection but you’ll need a broad imagination and maybe very little knowledge of the case. Overall it’s messy and if movies can be described this way, unattractive, but it’s really easy to get into, not much stylistically but it has enough humor and violence to keep most retro horror fans happy.

Rating 6/10

RHitcher (1986), High Hike (1977), Psycho (1960), Trip with Teacher (1975)
L – Killer Road Movies, Mild Mannered Maniacs,
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