Once you pick up The Hitcher, you'll never pick up another!
—The original 1986 trailer's slogan
A 1986 road thriller remade in 2007.
The story is about a young man named Jim Halsey, played by none other than C. Thomas Howell (yeppers, Foyet), who's driving a car through the US of A. He decides to go against his mother's warnings and pick up a hitchhiker, John Ryder, who will then turn his next few days into a wide awake nightmare.
Remade in 2007 by Platinum Dunes, with Sophia Bush, Zachary Knighton and Sean Bean. The remake is widely panned. The original was widely panned too as it happens, though it's since become something of a Cult Classic among horror fans.
- Ax Crazy: John Ryder.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Also sadist and psychopath.
- Book Ends: The original begins and ends with Jim lighting a match, although photographed in different ways.
- Car Fu: In the remake, coupled with an odd variant of Improbable Aiming Skills.
- Badass Longcoat: In a villainous example, John Ryder wears one.
- Break the Cutie: In the original. John succeeds.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Nash.
- Death by Adaptation: Jim and Lt. Esteridge are BOTH killed in the remake.
- The End - or Is It?: Subverted. John does get up at the end of the original, but Jim shoots him dead on the spot.
- Final Girl: Jim Halsey (to an extent) and Grace in the remake.
- Fingore: One of the most infamous scenes involves Jim finding a severed finger in his french fries.
- Foe Yay: And how.
- Gorn: The remake. The scene of a German Shepherd licking blood off a slit neck in the original can also count.
- Gory Discretion Shot: What happens to Nash. Subverted but badly done (the body BOUNCES after being cut in half) in the remake. Also, the fate of the family in the station wagon.
- Half the Man He Used To Be: Nash in the original, Jim in the remake.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: Ryder repeatedly gives Jim the opportunity to kill him, goading him to do so. Possibly a subversion, as it's unclear if Ryder truly wants to end his own rampage, or if he wants to turn Jim into a killer who'll carry on after him.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Ryder takes out several squad cars and a frickin' helicopter with no more than a handgun while driving...all to the strains of Nine Inch Nails (in the remake). See also the Car Fu entry above.
- Love Interest: Nash in the original, Jim in the remake.
- Police Are Useless: At least in the remake. The police officers act idiotically and unmethodically.
- Sound-Only Death: The murders in the police station, when you only hear two gunshots.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Jim and Lt. Esteridge in both the sequel and the remake.
- Villainous Valour: Exagerrated to the fact that Ryder can take down an helicopter with just one single gun.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Lots of these in the original.