Hitch Hike to Hell appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Shot Super 16mm, the 1.85:1 edition simply cropped the original 1.33:1 source, so I viewed that as the “correct version”.
Whatever the ratio, this became a pretty awful presentation. Sharpness became an issue, as most of the movie offered mediocre delineation. At best, the film showed passable clarity, but the majority of the film seemed on the fuzzy side.
I saw no jaggies or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws turned into a massive issue, though, as the film came packed with specks, debris, lines, spots, scratches and more. The print looked like someone ran a truck over it.
Colors appeared acceptable. Though they never seemed better than average, the natural hues managed passable fidelity, albeit on the pale side.
Blacks were somewhat inky, while shadows appeared dense and thick. With some cleanup work, this would’ve been a passable image, but given the dominance of the source defects, it became a mess.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack, it also showed its age, with quality that remained mediocre at best. Speech was intelligible but tended to sound distant given poor recording techniques.
Music and effects followed suit. Neither demonstrated much range, and they could seem somewhat rough. Again, given the vintage and limitations of the source, the audio seemed adequate, but that’s the best I can say for the mix.
A few extras appear here, and a featurette called Of Monsters and Morality runs 29 minutes, one second. Film historian Stephen Thrower discusses the career of director Irvin Berwick as well as aspects of Hell.
Thrower gives us a good overview of the subject matter. He makes this a useful discussion.
A video essay called Road to Nowhere fills 21 minutes, 27 seconds with comments from film historian Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. She discusses the history of hitchhiking and its depiction in movies.
“Nowhere” fares best as an examination of sibling hitchhiking films. That side of the piece makes it worthwhile.
Singer Nancy Adams chats during the 24-minute, 52-second Nancy Adams on the Road. She covers her career and the song used in the film in this reasonably engaging program.
In addition to the film’s trailer - presented both 1.33:1 and 1.85:1 – we find the original version of Adams’ theme song “Lovin’ On My Mind”. We also can watch the opening credits with this version as accompaniment. The tune’s love-oriented lyrics make a weird fit with the film.
Perhaps some viewers derive a “so bad it’s good” pleasure from Hitch Hike to Hell, but I can’t find any value in this disaster. Wholly inept and idiotic, nothing good comes from this stinker. The Blu-ray offers ugly visuals, mediocre audio and a smattering of bonus materials. Avoid this dud like the plague.