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Film / Highway to Hell

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Highway to Hell is a 1992 American horror comedy directed by Ate De Jong. It was released on March 13, 1992 after being finished in 1989.

When a young, eloping couple takes a creepy backroad on the way to their wedding in Vegas, Rachel (Kristy Swanson) is kidnapped by a demon cop, Sgt. Bedlam, who plans to deliver her to Satan to be his bride. Rachel's fiance Charlie (Chad Lowe) travels to hell to rescue her. But it's a long, treacherous road to hell, and along the way he'll run into other demons, historical nasties, mythological creatures like Cerberus, and even Satan himself. The ever-persistent Hellcop, who chases the duo to hell and back, is considered to be one of the highlights of the film.

The movie also stars Patrick Bergin, Jarrett Lennon, Adam Storke, Pamela Gidley, CJ Graham, Anne Meara, Lita Ford, and Richard Farnsworth.

Tropes found in this film:

  • Action Survivor: Even with a magic shotgun to help, Charlie and Rachel are average teenagers who spend much of the movie just surviving the fantastical encounters.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Satan had Rachel kidnapped to become his bride.
  • Anti Anti Christ: While an adopted son, Adam wants nothing to do with Satan and helps the heroes escape.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Hellcop's only weakness is his Cool Shades.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Satan says that many historical nasties like Attila the Hun and Hitler were his (implied to be adopted) sons. Royce was a disappointment, while Adam is the latest who will be sent to Earth when ready.
  • The Big Race: Charlie and Rachel end up racing Hellcop back to Earth in their final escape attempt.
  • Crossover Cosmology: While mostly based on the Christian idea of hell, Cerberus, the River Styx, Medea, and Charon from Greek Mythology all show up, and the roadside diner is named "Pluto's".
  • Damsel in Distress: Rachel is kidnapped early on and spends much of the movie as a prisoner of hell.
  • Damsel out of Distress: The end of the movie has Rachel be the one to kill the Hellcop, saving herself and Charlie.
  • Don't Look Back: Satan pulls a Hades and tells Charlie that he and Rachel can leave as long as he doesn't look back at her. When Charlie does, hundreds of demons swarm them.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The demon cop's name is Sgt. Bedlam, but almost everything, including this very page, simply calls him Hellcop.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Ben barks at any demons and other suspicious characters, including the seemingly-friendly mechanic, Beezle.
  • Fell Asleep Driving: Charlie falling asleep while driving sets the Hellcop on their trail, kickstarting Rachel's kidnapping.
  • The Heavy: While Satan is in charge of hell, the Hellcop is the most persistent force chasing Charlie, and his kidnapping of Rachel drives the plot.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Charlie has a pet dog named Mr. Ben that he cares for and takes on his journey to Hell.
  • Honey Trap: A female demon poses as Rachel and tries to have sex with Charlie as a distraction.
  • Implacable Man: The Hellcop will not stop until his objective is complete, whether kidnapping Rachel or killing Charlie.
  • It May Help You on Your Quest: Sam gives Charlie a magic shotgun built by his ex, Clara, and a car with a hidden turbo boost to help him on his quest.
  • Literal Metaphor: The movie has a scene where the old proverb "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions" is taken very literally; in the scene, the souls of good-intentioned sinners are ground into the pavement by a team of workers who look like Andy Warhol, from the Good Intentions Paving Company. "I was only sleeping with my husband's boss to advance his career", one of them says sadly.
  • Louis Cypher: After Charlie's car is damaged while traveling through Hell, he meets a helpful passing mechanic named "Beezle"...short for "Beelzebub".
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: Charlie realizes "Rachel" isn't herself when he sees the demon's reflection in a mirror.
  • Mundane Afterlife: Hell's accouterments include a roadside diner, paving companies, bars, and a strip club.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: Hellcop shows up one last time to try and kill the heroes after Charlie and Rachel have escaped Hell.
  • Race Against the Clock: If Charlie and Rachel don't escape Hell within 24 hours, they'll be stuck there for eternity.
  • Red Herring: Charon's warning that evil can often be sweet seems to point to Adam as an evil figure, but it's actually his friendly father figure, Beezle, to watch out for.
  • Rescued from the Underworld: Done by Charlie after his girlfriend is kidnapped by the devil. (That's right, kidnapped, while still alive. The Deal with the Devil part is saved for when they try to escape.)
  • The Rival: Royce and his gang are rivals to Hellcop and agree to both turn over Rachel and let Charlie go in exchange for a favor from both parties.
  • Tag Along Kid: Adam, Beezle's adopted son, wants nothing to do with the underworld and helps Charlie and Rachel escape.
  • Thwarted Escape: Rachel uses hot Styx beer from Pluto's bar to melt her handcuffs and escape the Hellcop, but is then captured by Royce's gang and handed back over.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Royce is considered a disappointment by his adoptive father Satan, and is determined to win his respect and get another chance to raise hell on Earth by coming back to life.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: After the final showdown, scrolling text relates where the characters ended up after the film. Charlie and Rachel got married and developed hit video games and pizzerias together, Adam lives with his aunt and uncle with a dog of his own, Sam still warns people about the highway to hell, Mr. Ben starred in a dog food commercial, and for Beezle, life goes on.
  • Wicked Cultured: Satan lives in a high-class mansion and waxes philosophic about mankind and its prospects, telling Charlie that the Hell he's seen is merely a kindergarten compared to the true depth of evil.
  • You Owe Me: When Royce turns Rachel over to the Hellcop, he says that the Hellcop owes him one. Near the end of the movie, Hellcop is pursuing Charlie and Rachel when Royce tries to get in on the action. The Hellcop threatens to shoot him if he interferes, but Royce says "You Owe Me One!"