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JOSIE BISSETT FINDING HER PLACE WITH 'HITCHER IN THE DARK'

Josie Bissett tries and tries to survive as the lovely hitcher YEAR: 1989
Before what would become an intensely popular super-bad horror phenomenon, TROLL 2, featuring a group of teenage boys traveling in a recreation vehicle, Italian producer Joe D'Amato and his synth-composing Carlo Maria Cordio used just one young man, a kind of misleadingly boy-next-door Ted Bundy type, who kidnaps, tortures, rapes and kills female hitchhikers in HITCHER IN THE DARK, where the title is also misleading, sounding as if THE HITCHER were the villain...

Instead it's Winnebago-driving rich kid Mark (Joe Balogh), who picks up a girl he saw fight with her muscular, two-timing boyfriend, and she's one of the cutest blonde starlets in the history of cheap horror exploitation. Although MELROSE PLACE fans may not recognize a slightly younger Josie Bissett in her literal career beginnings with long locks. But soon enough, like put-upon wife Jane Mancini, it's cut short and dyed (actually a wig)... which wasn't her idea...

Josie Bissett in Hitcher in the Dark SCORE: ***1/2
The preppy-dressed Norman Bates has mother issues, and wants Bissett's Daniela to look exactly like a nostalgic photo. Also a modern retelling of THE COLLECTOR, most of this Kidnapped Damsel venture has plenty of those frustrating moments when the victim almost escapes, but at the last minute, fails: Stretched to a long 90-minutes of the good girl and bad boy trading off the upper-hand as most of the picture takes place inside the RV...

Josie Bissett is very cute
But not without lovely exterior shots of both the city and rural surroundings of Virginia Beach, providing both the lonely and naked highway aesthetic as well as the usual tree-shrouded forest locale famous in slasher/horror flicks earlier in the decade, making this a kind of circular-road movie...

The nervous monotony is sporadically broken by b-story stud Jason Saucier's Kevin, her boyfriend, sometimes only a few oblivious seconds behind, searching for the girl that literally got away in this obscure, low-budget thriller that, for better or worst, takes its time to torture both the ingenue and audience. Meanwhile, composer Cordio's creepy (and familiar) score, and one scene featuring a flying headless gorilla from a movie shown at a drive-in, will make rabid TROLL 2 fans dizzily nostalgic. But more conventional horror fans may want to skip this bizarre and exploitative ride.
Josie Bissett as Daniela Foster from HITCHER IN THE DARK
Josie Bissett and Joe Balogh in HITCHER IN THE DARK
Josie Bissett and Joe Balogh in HITCHER IN THE DARK
Josie Bissett as Daniela Foster from HITCHER IN THE DARK
Josie Bissett as Daniela Foster from HITCHER IN THE DARK
A young Patricia Arquette-looking Josie Bissett from HITCHER IN THE DARK
Josie Bissett as Daniela Foster from HITCHER IN THE DARK
Jason Sacier and Joe Balogh in HITCHER IN THE DARK
Josie Bissett and Joe Balogh in HITCHER IN THE DARK
Josie Bissett and Joe Balogh in HITCHER IN THE DARK
 Poster half from HITCHER IN THE DARK aka Paura nel buio
Oralee Sanders and Joe Balogh in HITCHER IN THE DARK
Josie Bissett and Joe Balogh in HITCHER IN THE DARK
Josie Bissett and Joe Balogh in HITCHER IN THE DARK
Josie Bissett in HITCHER IN THE DARK
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