(director/writer: Pasquale Festa Campanile; screenwriter: from the novel by Peter Kane/Aldo Crudo/Ottavio Jemma; cinematographers: Franco Di Giacomo /Giuseppe Ruzzolini ; editor: Antonio Siciliano; music: Ennio Morricone; cast: Franco Nero (Walter Mancini), Corinne Cléry (Eve Mancini), David Hess (Adam Konitz), Joshua Sinclair (Oaks), Carlo Puri (Hawk), Leon Lenor (Mendoza), Monica Zanchi (Girl at Camp Site); Runtime: 104; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Bruno Turchetto /Mario Montan; Raro Video; 1977-Italy-in Italian/English, with English subtitles)

Despite its shortcomings it has some solid thrills.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Italian filmmaker Pasquale Festa Campanile(“Bingo Bongo”/”Rich and Poor”/”Secret Fantasy”) does a good job directing this trashy but mesmerizing cult flick, and gets better results than expected. Some critics say it’s an unfairly neglected classic in road movie horror. It’s based on the novel by Peter Kane and is co-written by the director, Ottavio Jemm, and Aldo Crudo.

The film was shot entirely in Central Italy’s Gran Sasso region.

The nasty Italian journalist Walter Mancini (Franco Nero) and his abused American wife, Eve (Corinne Clery, French actress), whose father is hubby’s boss, are a bickering couple on a camping vacation to Nevada, who are returning home to Los Angeles. Eve, forced to drive because of hubby’s injured hand, picks up a sleazeball hitch hiker, Adam (David Hess), who tells them he’s part of a trio (Joshua Sinclair, Carlo Puri) that held up a bank for $2 million and killed a cop. Adam reveals he has the dough, and his double-crossed crime partners and the police are after him. To get by the police road blocks and find sanctuary in Mexico, he orders the couple to stay off the busy roads. The ride goes creepily sadistic, with Eve raped and tortured along the way.

Pic did well in Europe, but had a limited release in America and did poorly. Despite its shortcomings it has some solid thrills, was well-acted, the score by Ennio Morricone could be his best ever and it finished strong with a creative Twilight Zone finale.

REVIEWED ON 2/8/2016 GRADE: B+  https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/