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Mark Hamill and Eric Roberts Hitch a Ride: A VHS-Era Double Bill

Tom Jolliffe seems again at a few video period movies about nefarious hitchhikers, The Nature of The Beast and Midnight Journey…


‘My mom advised me by no means to do that.’ Phrases of knowledge foolishly ignored by Jim Halsey (C. Thomas Howell) within the 1986 Rutger Hauer basic, The Hitcher. Halsey picked up a hitchhiker and located himself tormented for the remainder of the movie’s run time. The Hitcher wouldn’t be the primary nor actually the final movie to indicate the potential disadvantage to selecting up a thumbing hitchhiker. Hell, even the infamous trash basic Showgirls begins with the movies heroine hitchhiking her approach to Vegas, and robbing the driving force of his automobile (although he deserved it). No, typically, selecting up a hitcher is a foul concept.

So right here, I supply a glance again at two movies which proved well-liked within the video period and have hitchers as much as no good. An excellent double invoice.

The Nature of the Beast


First, take a pair of undoubtedly proficient video period stalwarts. Certain these guys had increased profile movies than this throughout their profession and graced the massive display screen loads of instances, however Eric Roberts and Lance Henriksen quickly turned synonymous with direct to video movies (Roberts significantly). The Nature of the Beast has Henriksen as a seemingly gentle mannered salesman who can’t shake off a hitchhiker performed by Roberts. Each males maintain their playing cards near their chest, while the information is full of reviews a couple of serial killer generally known as The Hatchet Man who appears to strike shut to each neighborhood the pair move by. In the meantime there’s additionally the information {that a} On line casino has been ripped off.

Produced by New Line, direct to video, the movie most likely exceeds expectations for this type of style, however maybe not so when you think about how good the 2 leads are able to being. Henriksen has at all times been a terrific character actor and a very dependable villain. As for Roberts, while he’s discovered himself pounding out roles that appear as if he’s releasing a movie per week, at one time he was an actor gathering loads of hype. It could be straightforward to neglect that he’s an Oscar nominee and three time Golden Globe nominee.


There are sufficient surprises within the movie to maintain it participating as an virtually Hitchcockian tornado crossed with a little bit of B film pulp. The much less stated about notorious director Victor Salva the higher, however there’s a manufacturing line of nice work inside this movie, from its images to its music. It’s an satisfying movie that marks an ideal method for what a DTV thriller needs to be. In the absolute best means it’s a type of 1am specials that retains you up into the small hours. A lot of the movies success although, is undoubtedly all the way down to having Henriksen and Roberts on board and extra importantly, in superb fettle. It’s a poker play between two enigmatic characters that’s at all times participating.

Midnight Journey


Take the American Ninja and pit him in opposition to Luke Skywalker. That’s the bass line that lends this merry tune a strong beat all through. A late period Cannon movie that encapsulated their gradual demise and dive into the video period of their publish Golan and Globus break up kind. Right here, one time new large factor (as launched by Cannon) Michael Dudikoff provides the requisite presence and charisma as our movie’s hero. Dudikoff was at all times just a little underrated, and while his calling card will without end be the American Ninja franchise, the reality is he was truly higher than these movies (however not often received an opportunity to show it). As compared to a couple of the video period motion stars, Dudikoff had extra performing chops and definitely a better charisma.

Midnight Journey actually entertains as a late evening video thriller, the type of factor you’d catch on cable and end up comfortably hooked in. A lot of that rests on the presence of Dudikoff however the movie additionally has one other ace up its sleeve. It’s received Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker himself, because the villain. Hamill would spend the 90’s changing into progressively generally known as an distinctive voiceover villain (not restricted to enjoying The Joker). While Hamill, not too far faraway from his lightsaber wielding days when this got here out, might need anticipated larger issues as a number one gentle, it actually looks like a coup having him in this type of movie. Hamill, as an escaped psychological affected person who hitches a elevate and abducts the driving force, has loads of enjoyable. He unleashes the loopy and lets simply say there’s no hazard of him undercooking this position. He goes all out however it’s satisfying.


It’s not excessive artwork and it actually has one thing of an inconsistent Cannon stamp on, however with environment friendly route (Bob Bralver), a superb tempo and an immediacy that retains us gripped, Midnight Journey proves loads of enjoyable. For Dudikoff and Cannon, there’d be a number of extra collaborations earlier than the corporate fizzled out completely, and solely Rescue Me proved worthwhile as a viewing expertise of their Mk2 kind.

Tom Jolliffe is an award profitable screenwriter and passionate cinephile. He has various movies out on DVD/VOD around the globe and a number of other releases due out in 2021, together with, Renegades (Lee Majors, Danny Trejo, Michael Pare, Tiny Lister, Ian Ogilvy and Billy Murray), Crackdown, When Darkness Falls and Struggle of The Worlds: The Assault (Vincent Regan). Discover extra information at the perfect private web site you’ll ever see…


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