Rutger Hauer in The Hitcher (dir. Robert Harmon, 1986).
Do. Not. Pick. Up. Hitch. Hikers. Ever. What part of that is so hard to understand? Is it "hikers"?
Rutger Hauer is scarier than a plateful of wiggling teeth, and it's because you know that as evil and horrible as the stuff he does to people in this movie is, whatever hopeless crucible of self-loathing and universal disgust is going on behind those cyborgy blue eyes of his is far worse.
The movie was, screenwriter Eric Red has acknowledged, inspired by the Doors song "Riders on the Storm" (which is not on the soundtrack, however). Grim, nasty, unsettling--but ultimately very much in the classical narrative tradition of cinematic horror. The major gore is implied rather than shown, other than the occasional severed finger in a plate of french fries, and the moments when the camera turns away or goes dark are the ones that fill up with more nihilistic dread than you would think could be contained by a formulaic made-for-HBO thriller from the eighties.
Labels: Robert Harmon