Taken for a ride – Rediscovering ‘Teenage Hitchhikers’ (US 1975 – 74 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - May 21, 2014
Taken for a ride – Rediscovering ‘Teenage Hitchhikers’ (US 1975 – 74 mins)

An enjoyable drive-in flick, with minimal plot, ‘Teenage Hitchhikers’ concerns the misadventures of two lovable hitchhikers; Bird and Mouse, as they try to thumb a ride West, but end up spending most of the film warding off the attention of lecherous drivers and a van load of groupies.

This cross-country road movie is mostly a series of comedic and soft-core sketches, with the girls innocently encountering peeping toms, perverts and sleazy salesmen, while seemingly dropping their clothes at a moments notice. Along the way they help a naïve girl; Jennie, escape the clutches of an escaped rapist. Elsewhere, they use their charms (as well as a little blackmail) to get a free meal or ride, before eventually winding up in an orgy with a group of hippies, where famed porn star Eric Edwards can be spotted.

After all the suffering she went through in ‘The Last House on the Left’ (’72), it was nice to see Sandra Peabody having some fun here. A lovely, brown haired actress, I think Sandra had her best role here as Bird, a feisty and mischievous spirit, with a knack for catching trout in her knickers! Peabody’s career was short-lived, and this movie would be her last, before retiring at 23 to work as a drama teacher. Joe Sarno regular Chris Jordan plays Mouse, the more high-spirited of the two. Jordan had a more prolific career in exploitation than Peabody, who only appeared in a handful of movies. After a five year career though, Jordan too retired, after making Joe Sarno’s Fanny Hill parody ‘Misty’ in 1976. Sadly, Chris Jordan died of cancer in 1990, aged just 43.

In her second and final movie, the classily attractive Clair Wilbur (so memorable in Radley Metzger’s ‘Score’ – ‘74) plays a bored, wealthy lesbian, pulling over to help Mouse and Bird, before seducing them both in the process. As the virginal Jennie, this was Nikki Lynn’s only movie, even though she’s rather good in it.

The only directorial credit of Gerri Sedley, ‘Teenage Hitchhikers’ has decent pacing and is fairly well made. Admittedly, it’s not for all tastes, as it is pure sexploitation, with plenty of graphic (though soft-core), sex scenes and nudity. Although, for a movie filled with such sleazy shenanigans, there is still a lot of charm to the film. Most of the male characters come across as jerks in the movie, with the girls easily outwitting them at every turn.

It may not be politically correct, but as a product of it’s time, ‘Teenage Hitchhikers’ perfectly encapsulates the sexploitation era. With its added screwball style, comic timing and infectious lead performances, the film remains a favourite of mine from that era of countless drive-in quickies. Thumb a lift for this exploitation classic!

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