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THING (plus ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS and DESTI- NATION INNER SPACE) tipped- in to make it a composite rather than a specific rip-off.

William Talman embodies the menace of the back seat driver in Ida Lupino’s THE HITCH-HIKER.

situations, including the increas- ingly panicked grasping of its title character for some means of resolution or escape. Regular joes Roy and Gil (Edmond O’Brien and Frank Lovejoy) make the mistake of pick- ing up psycho drifter Emmett Myers (PERRY MASON’s William Talman) and quickly find them- selves at his mercy. Talman is spectacular as Myers, a sweating bundle of twitchy desperation who attracts a certain amount of sym- pathy, as the viewer begins to appreciate the tight ball of fear and anger that grinds in the belly of this psychopath. O’Brien and Lovejoy provide equally nuanced counterpoint as comparatively sane guys with their own moral failings. They’ve lied to their wives about where they are. Roy likes to party a little too much, but Gil keeps him anchored. The film’s central dynamic, the interplay be- tween Myers and his captives, works well because we can believe that all these people are real. Kino Classics’ latest edition of THE HITCH-HIKER was trans- ferred from a new 1080p master generated from an archival 35mm


print in partnership with the Li- brary of Congress. With the film looking as good as it likely ever will, it is now easier than ever to appreciate the challenges pre- sented to cinematographer Nicho- las Musuraca (THE SEVENTH VICTIM, THE SPIRAL STAIR- CASE), who had to visually main- tain the story’s tense mood through daytime desert exteriors, campfire scenes and shadow- dappled car interiors. Extras are limited to a gallery of poster im- ages and trailers for other Kino releases.


1989, Shout! Factory, $24.97, 98m, BD-A By Kim Newman

The credits for George Pan Cosmatos’ Cinecittà-shot monster movie claim the script by David Webb Peoples (BLADE RUNNER) and Jeb Stuart (DIE HARD) is based on a story by Peoples— which takes bare-faced cheek, since it’s practically a scene-for- scene, character-for-character transposition of ALIEN into a deep-sea base with traces of THE

A deep-sea mining crew work- ing for an evil corporation—rep- resented by a purring, cold-eyed suit (Meg Foster) at the end of a video link—discover the scuttled Soviet vessel Leviathan. Obnox- ious cut-up Sixpack (Daniel Stern), in the Kane role, sneaks a flask of vodka contaminated with a genetic mutagen back to the sea-bed facility and shares it with Bowman (Lisa Eilbacher). Both die of a rash and their bodies com- bine to become a lantern-jawed, tentacled, toothsome creature. Williams (Amanda Pays) showers in her underwear but is edged out of the heroic Ripley lone survivor role by traditionally macho lead- ing man Beck (Peter Weller). Doc (Richard Crenna) acts shiftily, which might be a feint consider- ing he doesn’t turn out to be the Ash analogue. The cast is filled out by ethnically diverse cannon fodder (Ernie Hudson, Michael Carmine, Hector Elizondo). ALIEN concept artist Ron Cobb is pro- duction designer and ALIEN com- poser Jerry Goldsmith provides an excellent score, and the ALIENS Stan Winston team provide catch- all monster effects (Tom Woodruff is the main suit artist).

Like the similar (but cheaper) DEEPSTAR SIX, this was made during the brief glub-glub under- water science fiction boom initi- ated by THE ABYSS and seems proud of its status as identikit schlock. For all its familiarity, it’s entertaining nonsense for most of its running time—thanks to the talented cast (mostly coast- ing after then-recent hits), the reliable DOCTOR WHO format of folks trapped in confined space with a metamorphosing monster and occasional decent shocks. It loses grip in a messy, compromised

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