One Good Movie - Nightmare Logic
A weekly newsletter for movie lovers with taste but not much time.
We live in a wonderful era of streaming. So many films are at our fingertips that I find it difficult to choose what to watch.
Currently, I have access to Netflix, HBO Max (not renamed Max in Spain yet), Amazon Prime, Apple, Disney Plus, and FilmIn.
Plus there are free movies available on YouTube and various ad-supported services.
FilmIn is a Spanish streamer with a vast catalog of independent and foreign films. I do miss the curation offered by the Criterion Channel and the horror-centric Shudder, but both are unavailable in Spain.
That’s why I write this newsletter, to force a viewing decision.
This week’s movie completes our Road Nightmare Trilogy started with Detour and Unhinged.
It’s from a first-time screenwriter, Eric Red.
While I love many films from the 1980s, American cinema was decidedly safe and a huge letdown from the artistic highpoints of 1970s American cinema.
Red’s script is not safe.
Unfortunately, the director pulls a few punches, but the source material remains strong. The script moves at a rapid pace and quickly takes you from a plausible setup to a nightmarish vision.
The dream logic is supported by cinematographer John Seale’s expert framing and smoke-filled lighting design. Seale started in Australia and would go on to photograph Dead Poets Society and Mad Max: Fury Road. Even his snow photography in the delightful car-wreck-of-a-movie, Dreamcatcher, is stunning.
Rewatching The Hitcher I was reminded that movies don’t look and feel like this film anymore. The imagery and score are peak Eighties.
A young man picks up a hitchhiker.
The hitchhiker is evil.
If you’ve seen the film, revisit it for Rutger Hauer’s performance. His utter joy in depicting wickedness is contagious.
Hauer was tired of playing bad guys, but when he read the script, he had to take the part.
Roger Ebert awarded the film a rare “zero stars” calling the film “diseased and corrupt.”
I don’t disagree with his assessment.
That’s why I love it.
I’ve only hitchhiked in Mexico.
But I have picked up a few hitchhikers over the years. Usually, they were folks that looked down on their luck or were inebriated.
Just this March, we gave a ride to a smelly and drunk French woman in the Pyrenees.
My mom was visiting, so she got to sit next to her for the duration of the ride.
Have you picked up hitchhikers and lived to tell the tale?
Email me your best hitcher story.