While browsing Amazon for some decently priced Blu-ray titles the other day, I came across the recent remake of The Hitcher starring Sean Bean. I have yet to see the film, but the tepid reaction to its release does not make it one for my must-see list. Regardless, it got me interested in seeing if I could find the original on Blu instead, and I was surprised to learn that while the remake is indeed available, the original was never ever released on the format.
Uh, excuse me?
A quick search on Blu-ray.com revealed little info of any kind about a pending future release, which is a damn shame as The Hitcher is one of the most visceral horror films ever committed to film. Rutger Hauer’s iconic, terrifying performance alone should be enough to get this disc into horror fans’ players. But so far … nothing. I tweeted out my frustrations, hoping to attain some sort of clarification from either Ponyboy Curtis himself, Mr. C. Thomas Howell, or the writer of the film, Eric Red, as to why the film has never been brought to Blu. To my delight, Red responded:
So, obviously, I’m not the only one that feels strongly about this. I know very little about what it takes to get movies out on any particular format, but it always seems to come back to particular titles being mired in a rights dispute, legal blah-blah-blah or some other form of cinematic red tape. Some see the light of day while others wallow in the void, left behind in dimensions of formats past. Red confirms this as well in a response:
The film is available on DVD, so that’s something. but, damn it, I want a new release boasting a proper transfer of both audio and video on a premium format! You’d think Scream Factory would be chomping at the bit for a chance to get on this, what with their growing library of horror Blus, which has been getting a load of attention in the industry. Twilight Time is another candidate, as they specializing in limited-amount pressings of niche films, like the Chuck Russell-directed Blob remake from 1988 that was put out for preorder just last week.
What I’d personally like to see is a 1080p transfer from the best quality print available, coupled with a nice lossless audio track, whether it be PCM, Dolby TrueHD or DTS-MA HD. Some retrospective featurettes and even some classic ones, if those exist, would be great. The writer/director commentary from the UK special edition 2-disc DVD could be ported over along with the other extras from that release, as well, if new ones can’t be produced. In the end, it’s important that if this were to happen, it shouldn’t be a quick cash-in with little effort made on it. The Hitcher deserves more and should be introduced to new audiences (and reintroduced to old ones) properly.
It would be a shame for The Hitcher to fall on the pile of titles that should have gotten a proper re-release but ultimately didn’t. If you’re out there reading this and you know what’s going on with The Hitcher and what the status of it is, please let us know in the comments below. I’m sure there are others out there wondering why we haven’t yet seen a severed finger hiding in french fries at 1080p.