Roadgames

Character: Pamela "Hitch" Rushworth

Directed by: Richard Franklin

Written by: Everett De Roche

Produced by: Richard Franklin

Cast Members: Stacy Keach, Marion Edward, Grant Page, Thaddeus Smith, Stephen Millichamp

Released date: February 27, 1981

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A laid-back American truck driver in south Australia starts to suspect a man driving a green van of killing young women along his route, and proceeds to play a cat-and-mouse game in order to catch him red-handed.

 

Jamie Lee Curtis Jamie Lee Curtis Jamie Lee Curtis

 

Synopsis

Truck driver Patrick Quid pulls into a motel for the night where he notices a man in a green van checking in with a female hitchhiker. Quid had passed the hitchhiker earlier because the trucking company policy forbid him from picking her up. In the motel room, the hitchhiker strums a guitar, while the man unpacks a new guitar string. The man winds the string around his gloved hands and uses it to strangle the woman.

Quid wakes the next morning in his truck. His pet dingo sniffs relentlessly at the garbage outside the motel, and Quid notices the van driver watching the dingo from the window of the motel room. Quid picks up a load of pigs from Universal Meats. He sets off for Perth with his load and passes various characters on the road: a nagging wife and her family, a cautious man hauling a sailboat, and a station wagon crammed full of toy balls. He repeatedly passes by another female hitchhiker.

The wife creates a roadblock by streaming pink paper across the highway. When Quid stops at the sight of it, she climbs into his cab and orders Quid to catch up with her husband who left her at the side of the road. They play What’s My Line? to pass the time. The wife informs Quid about the grisly murder of a woman and his nonchalant answers start to disturb her. She suspects that he might be the serial killer from the news. Quid stops the truck when he sees the green van parked along the road. Its driver has several trash bags and an esky (cooler). He appears to be burying the bags. When the van driver notices Quid watching him through binoculars, he abandons his work and drives away.

At a roadhouse, the van driver assaults Quid’s dingo. Quid gives chase, but he encounters the slow-driving boat owner, who refuses to let Quid pass. Eventually, Quid destroys the boat, but the green van is too far off to catch.

Quid picks up the second female hitchhiker, Pamela Rushworth, that he has passed before. She gradually reveals that she is the daughter of a powerful American diplomat. Quid urges Pamela to let her father know that she is alright. The duo discuss the serial killer. At a service station, they notice the green van parked near the restroom. Quid sees a pair of feet in the toilet stall and he thinks he has the killer cornered. Pamela investigates the green van while Quid tries to get the man to exit the stall. As Pamela reaches for the esky inside the van, she realizes that the driver is sleeping on the floor. In the restroom, a biker emerges from the stall. Quid rushes outside to see that the green van is gone.

When Quid catches up to the van, it appears that Pamela is happily in the passenger seat. Later that night, Quid notices the van parked off the side of the road and pulls over to investigate. He hears people giggling in the bushes nearby and assumes that Pamela and the van driver are engaged in sexual intercourse. When he breaks into the van to investigate he finds that the esky only contains food.

Quid arrives at the outskirts of Perth and, while reporting to the weigh station, sees the green van. He follows the van through the streets of Perth, trailed by the police. Eventually the van reaches a dead end and Quid’s truck becomes stuck in the narrow alleys.

The van driver approaches Quid’s truck and attempts to strangle Quid with a garrotte, but Quid manages to disarm him. When Quid starts to strangle the van driver with the same weapon, the police arrive and assume that Quid is the killer. Upon freeing a gagged and bound Pamela from the van, the police learn that Quid is innocent, and Pamela’s actual captor is caught whilst trying to escape through the crowd.

When Quid finally delivers the meat shipment, he relates to Pamela that after he had found his trailer door open and discovered the load weight a few kilos over, he had presumed that the van driver had killed her and disposed of her inside his trailer. Back at the meat facility, a woman cleaning out the back of the trailer is brushed by a guitar string hanging from the ceiling and, on pulling it, gets a nasty surprise as a human head falls from above and lands in her soap bucket.

 

Taglines

• The truck driver plays games… The hitchhiker plays games. And the killer is playing the deadliest game of all!
• One game kills time – The other kills people!
• Animal . . . . . . Vegetable . . .?
• A new thriller from the director of Patrick.
• Animal . . . . . . Vegetable . . . or MURDER?
• On a 1600 mile stretch of desert highway someone is playing a deadly game of sex, violence and sudden death!
• Hitch-hiking is her game but this time it could be the end of the road.
• A state of suspense.
• On the world’s loneliest highway it’s not a game – it’s murder!

 

Trivia

→ Jamie Lee Curtis said she felt a certain amount of hostility and prejudice while on set, being one of the two “token Americans”. One of the crew members even approached her and asked, “What is it like putting Australians out of work?”

 

Trailer

Script developed by Never Enough Design