While driving through the New Mexico Desert during a rainy night, the college students Jim Halsey and his girlfriend Grace Andrews give a ride to the hitchhiker John Ryder.
Pretty boy actor C. Thomas Howell stars in this dark, violent suspense film about the strange psychological bond between a traveling serial killer and one of his intended victims. Driving cross-country from Chicago to San Diego, Jim (Howell) narrowly avoids an accident when he falls asleep at the wheel. He picks up a hitchhiker to help stay awake, but within five minutes, the erratic John Ryder (Rutger Hauer) has threatened not only Jim's life, but also his manhood, brandishing a switchblade to the boy's crotch and ordering him to keep driving. Jim manages to escape, but soon Ryder begins a game of cat-and-mouse across the Texas highways, taunting the lad from the windows of passing cars, then leaving the corpses of his victims in their vehicles by the side of the road for Jim to discover. A sympathetic face arrives in the form of Nash (Jennifer Jason Leigh), the waitress at an otherwise deserted truck stop in this bleak, abandoned landscape, but the local police soon arrive, intent on hanging Jim out to dry for the string of grisly murders.
A young man transporting a car to another state is stalked along the road by a cunning and relentless serial killer who eventually frames the driver for a string of murders. Chased by police and shadowed by the killer, the driver's only help comes from a truck stop waitress.
With hype building behind a clutch of successful singles, London quartet Then Jerico made its full-length debut in 1987 with the grandiosely titled First (The Sound of Music). The album, mostly produced by Owen Davies, actually featured a sound common in the mid- to late '80s: massive backbeats married to the big guitars that had come back into vogue. Atop it all sat the impassioned, warbling vocals of Mark Shaw, whose haircut and cheekbones made him a strong contender for the U.K.'s leading pinup of the moment. But the group wanted to be seen as a band – and taken seriously – and First wasn't about to turn into any crass chart cash in…