->''Once you pick up The Hitcher, you'll '''never''' pick up another!''
->-- '''The original 1986 trailer's slogan'''

'''''The Hitcher''''' is a 1986 road thriller.

The story is about a young man named Jim Halsey, played by none other than C. Thomas Howell, who's driving a car through the US of A. He decides to go against his mother's warnings and pick up a hitchhiker, [[AxCrazy John Ryder]] played by Creator/RutgerHauer, who will then turn his next few days into a wide awake nightmare.

It was [[TheRemake remade]] in 2007 by Platinum Dunes, with Sophia Bush, Zachary Knighton and Creator/SeanBean. See also ''Film/{{Highwaymen}}'', its SpiritualSuccessor by the same director.

!! ''The Hitcher'' contains examples of:

* AxCrazy: John Ryder.
* BlondGuysAreEvil: Also sadist and psychopath.
* BookEnds: The original begins and ends with Jim lighting a match, although photographed in different ways.
* CarFu: In the remake, coupled with an odd variant of ImprobableAimingSkills.
* BadassLongcoat: In a villanous example, John Ryder wears one.
* BreakTheCutie: In the original. John succeeds.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: [[spoiler: Nash]].
* DaylightHorror: Much of the blood and gore happens during the day.
* DeathByAdaptation: [[spoiler: Jim and Lt. Esteridge]] are BOTH killed in the remake.
* DeathSeeker: John Ryder. As the plot uncovers, he repeatedly asks Jim Halsey to kill him in cold blood (after their first encounter when Jim picked up Ryder as an unsuspecting hitchhiker). When Jim fails to do so, John proceeds to go on a path of carnage.
* TheEndOrIsIt: [[spoiler:Subverted. John does get up at the end of the original, but Jim shoots him dead on the spot.]]
* FauxAffablyEvil: Ryder.
* FinalGirl: Jim Halsey (to an extent) and Grace in the remake.
* FingerInTheMail: The protagonist stops at a roadside diner to call the cops on the serial killer who's been pursuing him. The killer slips a human finger into a plate of fries the waitress brings him.
* {{Fingore}}: One of the most infamous scenes involves Jim finding a severed finger in his french fries.
* ForTheEvulz: Seems like Ryder's only reason d'etre.
* {{Gorn}}: The remake. The scene of a German Shepherd licking blood off a slit neck in the original can also count.
* GoryDiscretionShot: What happens to [[spoiler: Nash]]. Subverted but badly done ([[SpecialEffectFailure the body BOUNCES after being cut in half]]) in the remake. Also, the fate of the family in the station wagon.
* HalfTheManHeUsedToBe: [[spoiler: Nash]] in the original, [[spoiler: Jim]] in the remake.
* ICannotSelfTerminate: Ryder repeatedly gives Jim the opportunity to kill him, goading him to do so. [[spoiler: Possibly a subversion, as it's unclear if Ryder truly wants to end his own rampage, or if he wants to turn ''Jim'' into a killer who'll carry on after him.]]
* ImprobableAimingSkills: Ryder takes out several squad cars and a frickin' helicopter with no more than a handgun ''while driving''...all to the strains of [[SoundtrackDissonance Nine]] [[Music/NineInchNails Inch Nails]] (in the remake). See also the CarFu entry above.
* LoveInterest: Nash in the original, Jim in the remake.
* NotSoDifferent: [[spoiler: The movie seems to imply a psuedo-sadomasochistic relationship between Jim and Ryder, and that this relation ship is more father/son or between lovers than hunter/prey.]]
* PoliceAreUseless: At least in the remake. The police officers act idiotically and unmethodically.
* SoundOnlyDeath: The murders in the police station, when you only hear two gunshots.
* StalkerWithoutACrush: Ryder.
* SuddenSequelDeathSyndrome: [[spoiler: Jim and Lt. Esteridge]] in ''both'' the sequel and the remake.
* VillainousValour: Exagerrated to the fact that Ryder can take down an helicopter with just one single gun.
* VomitIndiscretionShot: Lots of these in the original.
* WouldHurtAChild: Ryder massacres an entire famile. Children included.