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"The Hitchhiker" Shattered Vows (1983)

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Nifty pilot episode for the enjoyably trashy cable TV anthology series

Author: Woodyanders ( from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
4 November 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Handsome and ambitious young man Jeff Boder (a solid and likable performance by Bruce Greenwood) marries the wealthy and much older Jackie Winslow (attractive fortysomethingish cougar supreme Alexandra Stewart) for her considerable fortune. Jeff falls under the enticing and corrupting spell of Jackie's bitchy and cynical stepdaughter Pamela (nicely essayed with lip-smacking sultry and wicked relish by lovely brunette Aleisa Shirley). Jeff uses a mysterious statuette given to him by his grandmother to bump off Jackie so he and Pamela can inherit all her money. However, things don't ultimately work out so well in the long run. Director Ivan Nagy, working from a tight and absorbing script by Lewis Chesler, relates the involving story at a steady pace, ably milks the cool supernatural elements for maximum low-grade thrills, and really pulls out all the stops at the gloriously gruesome and outrageous conclusion. This episode firmly establishes the basic formula for the entire series during its mid 80s pay cable TV years: simple, often seamy, but engrossing plots that explore the darker aspects of human nature (in this case greed and the ruthless impulses it triggers in people), a little nasty gore, a handy helping of tasty gratuitous female nudity (the deliciously lissome Shirley in particular looks smoking hot sans clothes), a dab of sizzling soft-core sex, and a grim surprise ending in which the protagonists get their just brutal desserts for their evil actions. Francois Protat's slick cinematography gives the episode a pleasing polished look. A good start for this show.

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