After a woman is found butchered in her New York apartment, suspicion falls on her estranged husband, an ad executive who has suddenly left town on a cross-country road trip. He takes along... See full summary »
After a woman is found butchered in her New York apartment, suspicion falls on her estranged husband, an ad executive who has suddenly left town on a cross-country road trip. He takes along a beautiful girl he met in a bar and a drifter he picked up along the way. A cop sets out after the husband, but he's more interested in shaking him down than bringing him back. Written by
Canadian-made entry into the American road-trip/thriller genre
Although set entirely in America (a violent road trip from Philadelphia to Arizona), this is very obviously a Canadian film directed by Paul Lynch, the hoser who did "Prom Night" and "Humongous", and featuring a whole roster of Canadian character actors. It starts with the bloody murder of a prostitute in Philly. The main suspect, a local businessman (Richard Beymer) suddenly leaves town for Arizona. Along the way he meets a stripper (Nina Axelrod) and later picks up her and a male friend (Brent Carver) hitchhiking. The relationship between the stripper and the male friend is a little ambiguous, but it doesn't take long for Beymer's character to start schtupping Axelrod's. A romantic triangle develops for awhile (and a suspicious Beymer roughs up the other male at one point). They later stop at a bar on the Mississipi River and Carver's character tries to add a fourth member to the party, a woman of easy virtue played by Robert Weiss. Meanwhile, the main trio is being pursued by such Canadian character actor/heavies as Michael Ironside and Arthur Schellenberger.
This is one of those offbeat thrillers where pretty much EVERYONE acts suspicious, and it's hard to figure out until the very end exactly what the hell is really going. Still, while it's perhaps not a high compliment, this is generally a more successful film than Paul Lynch's two more famous ones. The American star Richard Beymer is perhaps best known today for his work with another Lynch, David Lynch, in his seminal TV series "Twin Peaks" (he was also earlier in this thing called "West Side Story"). Nina Axelrod had a brief career in 80's low-budget/genre fare, but I still always manage to get her confused with 80's MTV "VJ" Nina Blackwood or 80's porn star Nina Hartley. Although she was always a supporting actress, nubile Canadian cutie Roberta Weiss was always pretty memorable--as a victim of the Castle Rock Killer in David Cronenberg's "The Dead Zone", as a reform-school girl who gets a spanking in "Autumn Born", and as teen witch who seduces her teacher in an episode of the Canadian-lensed anthology series "The Hitchhiker". (Just for the record, Weiss spends about half her screen time here lolling around topless on a bed as Carver tries to induce her into a three-way with Axelrod while Beymer looks on). The most famous actor today, however, is no doubt Michael Ironside, but he has a relativey small role here.
At the moment this film seems relegated to the VHS graveyard with a DVD release anytime soon looking pretty unlikely. Still as 80's-era Canadian tax shelter products go, this isn't too bad, and it certainly deserves at least a LITTLE better of a fate.
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