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HIGHWAY TO HELL (director: Ate de Jong; screenwriter: Brian Helgeland; cinematographer: Robin Vidgeon; editors: Todd Ramsay/Randy Thornton; music: Hidden Faces; cast: Chad Lowe (Charlie Sykes), Adam Storke (Royce), Patrick Bergin (Beezle), Kristy Swanson (Rachel Clark), Gilbert Gottfried (Hitler), Pamela Gidley (Clara), Richard Farnsworth (Sam), Anne Meara (Medea), Jerry Stiller (The Desk Cop), Amy Stiller (Cleopatra), Ben Stiller (Pluto’s Cook), C.J. Graham (Sergeant Bedlam), Jarrett Lennon (Adam); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Mary Ann Page/John Byers; HBO; 1991)
Spoofs the Orpheus legend.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Director Ate de Jong(“Drop Dead Fred”/”Left Luggage”/”Flight of Rainbirds”) gets some laughs as he spoofs the Orpheus legend in this oddball horror comedy pic. It was filmed in Arizona. The screenplay is by Brian Helgeland.

Teenagers Charlie Sykes (Chad Lowe) and Rachel Clark (Kristy Swanson) elope to Las Vegas. While on a back road, with Charlie asleep, a Zombie Hell Cop (C. J. Graham)grabs Rachel and takes her with him in handcuffs. When discovering his loss, Charlie learns from an old-timer gas-station attendant (Richard Farnsworth) that his girl was taken to Hell. The rescue requires that Charlie pursue them in his souped-up coupe on the highway to Hell, and get to her within 24 hours before the Devil (Patrick Bergin) can seduce her into becoming his mistress.

The Steve Johnson FX and the animations are super. The Tangerine Dream music is refreshing. The absurd script is funny, as are the sly in-jokes. The atmosphere created is pleasingly goofy. Even a young Adolph Hitler (Gilbert Gottfried) makes an appearance as a heavy metal guitarist. Which is enough of a jolt to make one go into goose steps.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”