When you comin’ back, Red Ryder?

I saw The Hitcher for the first time only a few years ago but it shot straight up my list of favourite films. I’m talking about the Rutger Hauer version, naturally, not the recent Sean Bean remake which I can’t quite bring myself to watch.

However, I’ve just watched When you coming back, Red Ryder? and I’m surprised that I’ve never seen the two titles in the same sentence before. Although the two movies differ in many respects they also have a lot in common.

Instead of The Hitcher’s chase, Red Ryder centres around a diner in which half a dozen people are held hostage by Teddy, a crazed Vietnam veteran with a chip on his shoulder and nowhere else to go. He

He torments his captives (the childish theme being the bad boy revealing the hidden secrets of all the nice people) including one Stephen “Red” Ryder. And what’s the name of Rutger Hauer’s hitcher? John Ryder.

The endings have their similarities too. Just as Jim Halsey decides that he’s going to step up to the plate and gun down John Ryder in the desert the final act of Red Ryder sees the same thing happen between Stephen and Teddy.

There’s even the fact that both leads get other people to kill them rather than committing suicide.

I’ll need to listen to the commentary on The Hitcher and see if the older film is mentioned but I somehow doubt it. Maybe I’m just seeing too much there. Anyone else seen the terrible version of Red Ryder available on the interwebs? Anyone else even heard of it?

Red Ryder poster