DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Irv Berwick
Robert Gribbin, Russell Johnson, John Harmon
Writing Credits:
John Buckley

Beneath a mild exterior, Howard hides a dark side that leads him to rape and murder.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
English DTS-HD MA 1.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 88 min.
Price: $39.95
Release Date: 11/19/2019

• “Of Monsters and Morality” Featurette
• “Road to Nowhere” Featurette
• “Nancy Adams on the Road” Featurette
• Trailer
• Original Song
• Original Song with Opening Credits


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Hitch Hike to Hell [Blu-Ray] (1977)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 14, 2019)

Whereas nowadays cheap schlock goes straight to video or cable, that option didn’t exist 40 years ago. Z-grade thrillers hit the drive-in circuit, and that’s the kind of fare we find with 1977’s Hitch Hike to Hell.

Mild-mannered Howard Martin (Robert Gribbin) seems like an innocent boy-next-door sort. However, Howard hides a secret.

During his job as a delivery boy, Howard often picks up attractive female hitchhikers. If these girls don’t like their mothers, Howard goes into a psychotic rage and rapes/murders the young women.

As the body count amasses, police pursue the culprit. Led by Captain JW Shaw (Russell Johnson), the authorities race against time to find Howard before he kills again.

Given that I was only 10 in 1977, I was too young for “R”-rated fare like Hell. As a kid, I largely avoided bargain basement schlock – not that all kiddie flicks boasted great production values, but it seems like the “Z”-grade movies opted for “R”-rated tales like this.

I can’t claim that I missed anything, at least not with Hell as an example. Utterly awful and devoid of entertainment value, this movie comes with no positives.

Where does one begin to assess the atrocities on display? Virtually every aspect of Hell flops, so it seems tough to narrow down the focus.

Actually, I’ll give Johnson credit for professionalism. Best known as Gilligan’s Island’s Professor, he doesn’t turn in a genuinely good performance, but at least he displays some form of talent.

Compared to the rest, Johnson comes across as Laurence Freakin’ Olivier. Each actor either wildly overplays their roles or they underdo their parts to the point of brain death.

Even with better acting, Hell suffers from a plethora of other flaws. The script comes with awkward dialogue and it lacks any narrative flow.

At no point does Hell attempt a complex story, but even so, it muddles matters to an extreme. The plot sputters and meanders without much sign of purpose.

Shots either cut abruptly or last longer than they should, and we get weird gaps between the end of one line and the start of the next. Entire scenes feel like filler just to expand the movie to feature length.

Indeed, the whole enterprise feels pointless and disjointed. Someone out there must take entertainment from this crap, but I can’t figure out why.

The Disc Grades: Picture D/ Audio C/ Bonus C+

Hitch Hike to Hell appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Shot Super 16mm, the 1.85:1 edition simply cropped the original 1.33:1 source, so I viewed that as the “correct version”.

Whatever the ratio, this became a pretty awful presentation. Sharpness became an issue, as most of the movie offered mediocre delineation. At best, the film showed passable clarity, but the majority of the film seemed on the fuzzy side.

I saw no jaggies or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws turned into a massive issue, though, as the film came packed with specks, debris, lines, spots, scratches and more. The print looked like someone ran a truck over it.

Colors appeared acceptable. Though they never seemed better than average, the natural hues managed passable fidelity, albeit on the pale side.

Blacks were somewhat inky, while shadows appeared dense and thick. With some cleanup work, this would’ve been a passable image, but given the dominance of the source defects, it became a mess.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack, it also showed its age, with quality that remained mediocre at best. Speech was intelligible but tended to sound distant given poor recording techniques.

Music and effects followed suit. Neither demonstrated much range, and they could seem somewhat rough. Again, given the vintage and limitations of the source, the audio seemed adequate, but that’s the best I can say for the mix.

A few extras appear here, and a featurette called Of Monsters and Morality runs 29 minutes, one second. Film historian Stephen Thrower discusses the career of director Irvin Berwick as well as aspects of Hell.

Thrower gives us a good overview of the subject matter. He makes this a useful discussion.

A video essay called Road to Nowhere fills 21 minutes, 27 seconds with comments from film historian Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. She discusses the history of hitchhiking and its depiction in movies.

“Nowhere” fares best as an examination of sibling hitchhiking films. That side of the piece makes it worthwhile.

Singer Nancy Adams chats during the 24-minute, 52-second Nancy Adams on the Road. She covers her career and the song used in the film in this reasonably engaging program.

In addition to the film’s trailer - presented both 1.33:1 and 1.85:1 – we find the original version of Adams’ theme song “Lovin’ On My Mind”. We also can watch the opening credits with this version as accompaniment. The tune’s love-oriented lyrics make a weird fit with the film.

Perhaps some viewers derive a “so bad it’s good” pleasure from Hitch Hike to Hell, but I can’t find any value in this disaster. Wholly inept and idiotic, nothing good comes from this stinker. The Blu-ray offers ugly visuals, mediocre audio and a smattering of bonus materials. Avoid this dud like the plague.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Main