(aka 'Autostop rosso sangue' or 'Death Drive' or 'Hitchhike: Last House on the Left' or 'The Naked Prey')

Directed by Pasquale Festa Campanile
Italy 1977


Tight, tense Italian thriller that contains all you'd hope for in 1970s Euro-exploitica, and a great deal more besides.

Italian director Campanile was responsible for dozens of cheap but innovative exploitica treats, but this psycho-thriller is among his best. Built around a brutal performance by David Hess (Last House On The Left), it's a lurid mix of sex 'n violence, but Campanile also pays close attention to atmosphere, and keeps the tension at boiling point throughout.

The story follows alcoholic Italian journalist Walter Mancini (Nero) and his unhappy wife Eve (Clery) as they drive across America. Hitching a ride on a lonely road is Adam Konitz (Hess). The couple pick him up and sexual tension simmers between Adam and Eve. Then Adam reveals he's a wanted man, that he's got two million bucks on him, and that if the couple don't drive him to the border he's going to fill them with lead.

Though the budget's low, Campanile's direction is inventive, and the menacing presence of Adam opens up deep fissures in the Mancini's relationship. The dialogue too is intriguing, and if there's a subtext it's to do with male anger. The real pleasures lie in the claustrophobic atmosphere, the rising tension, and the oddly edgy quality of the characters.

Excerpt from Channel Four located HERE


Theatrical Release: October, 1977 - Turkey

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DVD Review: Blue Underground - Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution Blue Underground - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:43:52
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.92 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) - partial DUBBING
Subtitles None

Release Information:
Studio: Blue Underground

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Featurette: "The Devil Thumbs a Ride" (17:38)
• Trailer (2:58)

DVD Release Date: April 29th, 200
Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 25



Undoubtedly a direct duplicate of the Anchor Bay/Starz release from July 2002 (HERE). It's getting a re-issue under the Blue Underground label. The image is fairly clean, progressive, anamorphic and transferred onto a dual-layered disc. Detail and colors are strong - in fact I have no prominent issues with the way this disc looks. Audio offers a 'partial' DUB (into English) as some of the original was already in English. This is obviously not perfect and probably very unsatisfactorily for some. We've come to expect this from some Italian films with mismatched language audio so subtitles would have been a decent addition to augment the dialogue. In a strange way it adds to the films Euro-trashy appeal and I wasn't overly deterred.  

Supplements include a trailer and a 17 minute featurette - "The Devil Thumbs a Ride" with an initial warning that it includes spoilers to the film (which should be watched first). David Hess, Franco Nero, and Corinne Clery give input into the production and it can be a bit amusing.

The film? -  Franco Nero is one good-looking dude has immense appeal with genre fans for his work, be it Spaghetti westerns (Django) or semi-exploitation films like this. He is pretty much the perfect actor for these roles (and he can act!). Yes, this film has some strange attraction and although obvious at times - it is still entertaining with a very good ending. As long as you aren't expecting something more - this has enough appeal to recommend.  

Gary W. Tooze


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Distribution Blue Underground - Region 0 - NTSC


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