40. The Hitchhiker

Air Dates: 1983 - 1991
Network: HBO, USA
Best Episode: "Last Scene" (March 25, 1986)

Before HBO got into the Tales From The Crypt business, the cable network cut its horror anthology teeth, so to speak, with The Hitchhiker, which was essentially the series Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling would have made if he'd worked with a cable network and had a narrative obsession with blood and tits. We've got your attention now, huh? Thought we would.

Bookended by an admittedly uber-lame, bootleg Serling (hitchhiker Page Fletcher), HBO's sordid exercise in genre storytelling threw morality out the window in every episode. Boobies flashed consistently, the violence reached extreme levels, and pleasantries were non-existent by the half-hour's end.

“Man's Best Friend,” one of the gorier episodes, has a disgruntled man send his mean-spirited dog off to kill his ex-wife's friends; a hot blonde actress tries to evade an actual killer on the set of a cheesy slasher flick in “Last Scene”; and, accentuating the show's perverse morbidity, “Cruelest Cut” watches a horny dude fall for a prostitute he suspects could be also be a serial killer. Haven't we all been there?

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