For me there are really only three real holidays. Starting Dec. 26th I start looking at deals for fireworks (there are usually lots of good sales just before New Years). On Nov. 1st I’m in full Christmas mode. But here we are, pre-Christmas and post-4th. We are dead in the midst of Halloween season! I plan to review travel books and movies to help add related posts to this blog. For my first movie reviews I’m combining my love of travel with my love of horror. I recently watched the apropos Joy Ride and Joy Ride 2.
The movie synopses according to Wikipedia is “University students Lewis Thomas (Paul Walker) and Venna Wilcox (Leelee Sobieski), Lewis’ childhood friend and crush, prepare to go home for the summer holiday. Lewis offers to come by Venna’s campus (they go to different universities) to drive her home instead of both of them flying back; Venna happily agrees. After refunding his plane ticket to buy a 1971 Chrysler Newport, Lewis calls his parents to announce the change of plan and learns that his older brother Fuller (Steve Zahn), the family’s black sheep, has been arrested once again. Lewis drives to Salt Lake City and bails out Fuller, who then tags along for the trip.”
After installing a CB radio, the bored brothers begin teasing truckers on their route. At the prodding of his brother, Lewis pretends to be a woman with the handle Candy Cane. A trucker named Rusty Nail takes the bait and begins a socially inept flirting with “Candy.” Eventually the brothers end the day at a cheap motel and radio Rusty Nail (as Candy Cane) to invite him to come visit. They give him the number for the room next to theirs, currently inhabited by some rude traveler. That’s when the fun begins. They listen that night to a confrontation between rude guy and Rusty Nail. The next day they wake to find police all around investigating the death of the guy in the next room.
Fast forward through the movie, after the brothers confess their joke to Rusty, we watch as a vengeful trucker preys on our heroes. Needless to say, he didn’t find their prank humorous. He chases them down in his big rig, kidnaps Venna, and sets up sophisticated traps the entire time terrorizing them over the CB radio. The important part of each movie or book I’ll review is what I can take away from it for my trip.
Lesson learned: Don’t screw with truckers. Pulling pranks on transient men who wield large, motorized killing machines is not a smart idea for anyone. A prank, no matter how funny, isn’t worth being run down by a semi.
Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead returns our favorite truck driving psycho, Rusty Nail, to us for more horrific entertainment. This time he’s chasing down a group of kids who stole his beautiful muscle car right off his Texas Chainsaw Massacre-esque farm. While I found the characters much more annoying, I think their transgression is slightly less offensive. I know it seems like stealing a car is much worse than a silly prank but the theft wasn’t malicious, it was a move for survival.
The obnoxious kids, on the way to a wedding, break down in the desert. Miles from anywhere and with no phone signal they proceed to hike down the road where they find the aforementioned farm. Any place that looks like Leather Face’s natural habitat should not and will not have a working phone. It’s just a rule of life. The group has no idea how close they are to civilization or a way of contacting a tow truck or mechanic for their broke down beater. Since the place seems kind of abandoned they steal the car they find and head off down the road.
Now the car is beautiful and in great shape so there is no way someone abandoned it. They seemed too eager to steal a car and weren’t too careful in their driving but I’m giving them a pass. First they are stranded in the desert. Being out in the hot sun with no water is deadly. They couldn’t just stay on a dirt road hoping for someone to pass by. Second the house, while obviously not abandoned, looked as if it hadn’t been used in a while. There’s the slightest chance the place could have been someones vacation house and that person might not return for days or weeks. Third anyone who lives on or vacations at a farm like that in the desert is not someone you want to wait for. A remote cabin in the woods to get away is one thing, but a farm in the middle of a hostile, desert environment screams “leave me alone.” You don’t want to bother them and they don’t want to be bothered. The only reason a car like that would be left at that place is that cultists, serial killers, or drug lords would need it as an escape pod when the ATF comes knocking on the door.
- While staying on main roads and highways isn’t fun or necessary, at least try to stay on paved roads. I will only drive down dirt roads that show some signs of regular use.
- Carry backup communication. I plan to get a CB radio for my trip which will hopefully help if I run into areas without cell service. The idea of being taunted by Rusty Nail is terrifying but being able to call out for more help trumps that fear.
- If I find myself at a house that makes me think I might be raped, skinned, and/or eaten (possibly not in that order) I should trust my instincts and get out of there.
- If I absolutely have to steal a car for survival do my best to take care of it and drive straight to a police station to turn it in and explain what happened. Also send the owner an edible arrangement as a thank you and apology.
- If a crazed trucker begins to trail me, make sure to kill myself before being taken captive. A quick death is better than a slow torture session that will eventually end up with my skin being tanned and turned into lampshades.
- If I manage to disable a murderous ne’er do well with a shovel, don’t assume he’s out for the count, throw away my shovel, and turn my back to him. Keep the spade and hit him a few more times to make sure he’s not getting up.
Hopefully more horror travel movie reviews to come!