Sunday, August 21, 2011

Road Games - This is No Rear Window

My DVR is quickly approaching its full capacity with a large portion consisting of TCM Underground films. I'm going to write posts on these movies more concisely so I can clear out my backlog without missing a chance to view any of my recordings. To help keep me focused, I'm going to use the following template to review TCM Underground films:
  1. Start with a quick synopsis.
  2. Finish on why I think the film has reached a cult status.
So to start off this new format, I'll begin with a 1981 film directed by Richard Franklin: Road Games. This roadsploitation film follows a trucker (played by Stacy Keach) who picks up a female hitchhiker (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) off the long highways of Australia. As they travel down the road, they hear reports on the radio of women hitchhikers being picked up and strangled by some unknown serial killer. Along their journey, they spot a green van and suspicious driver who appears to be a likely suspect. When the duo decide to spy on the van during their route, the truck driver becomes a suspect himself. While trying to keep a low profile among the authorities and other commuters, can the truck driver and his companion survive a deadly game of cat and mouse?

Throughout this movie, I had a hard time keeping interest. It depicts a trucker lifestyle but is definitely no Smokey and the Bandit. So why might this be a cult classic?
  • It stars Jamie Lee Curtis a few years after some of her big roles in Halloween and The Fog.
  • The truck driver's best friend is a Dingo (and who doesn't like a dingo).
  • This was a large budget Australian film and can be considered Ozploitation.
  • The story was somewhat influenced by Alfred Hitchcock's film Rear Window. Not only is Curtis' character named "Hitch," but the story carries similar voyeurism and stalking elements seen by the helpless Jimmy Stewart.
  • Of all the scenes in the movie, the most memorable is the strangling by wire. It's so memorable because you can see the weapon is clearly a guitar string.
Even though the movie didn't capture me, you can tell it's Exploitation. The story isn't anything spectacular. However, its promotional material, like the poster seen above would have enticed me into the seats of the movie theatre.

So on Death List Five, Road Games ranks #2.

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