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Director: Umberto Lenzi
Cast: Joe Balogh, Josie Bissett, Jason Saucier
Production Company: Filmirage
Runtime: 95 minutes

I was lucky enough to recently come across Shriek Show’s rare DVD release of Hitcher in the Dark (1989). It’s part of The Giallo Collection, though I don’t think this film really fits into that category. Of course, I do believe it’s worth a look…

In the movie, a serial killer (Joe Balogh) travels around in his father’s camper, murdering women he encounters on the road. His obsession with his dead mother soon leads him to Daniela (Josie Bissett), who bares a passing resemblance to her.

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This was Josie Bissett’s first film. You may remember her from Mikey (1992) or The Sky’s on Fire (1999). She also played Jane Mancini on Melrose Place. Her performance in this film required a lot of emotional range, and she handled the role very well.

Joe Balogh should also look familiar to horror fans. He has roles in Monstrosity (1987), Hollywood’s New Blood (1988), Moonstalker (1989), Visions (1989), and Black Demons (1991). That’s a pretty cool body of work!

Director Umberto Lenzi shot this film under the pseudonym of Humphrey Humbert. Lenzi is probably best known for directing Nightmare City (1980), Cannibal Ferox (1981) and Eyeball (1975). This film is a bit of a departure from his former work.

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For the most part, this film takes place within the killer’s recreational vehicle. This induces a feeling of claustrophobia for the viewer, and makes it easier to relate to Daniela’s plight. The tight quarters also help us to better understand why she develops Stockholm Syndrome towards her captor.

There’s a scene at a drive-in that is definitely worth mentioning. The theatre is playing Grunt! (1983) while the patrons roll with laughter. Grunt! is a notoriously cheesy Italian film that was also featured in Claudio Fragasso’s Troll 2 (1990).

Hitcher in the Dark is more of a drama about kidnapping than it is a horror movie. On the other hand, there are a few gory moments and some tense situations in the film. It’s an interesting film that doesn’t follow the usual conventions. Check it out for yourself…

– John Migliore

For more information on the film, check out the links below…

Official Trailer

IMDb Page

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