The Hitcher is a 1986 American road action-horror film directed by Robert Harmon and written by Eric Red. It stars Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Jeffrey DeMunn. Howell plays Jim, a young man who gives a ride to a hitchhiker, played by Hauer. After narrowly escaping death, Jim repeatedly encounters the hitchhiker, who is revealed to be a serial killer, and the two engage in a game of cat and mouse. When writer Eric Red was 20 years old, he made a short film entitled “Gunman’s Blues” in the hopes of getting the opportunity to direct a feature-length film. When no offers came, he moved from New York City to Austin, Texas, taking a drive-away car cross-country. While driving from one city to another, he got the idea for a film from The Doors song “Riders on the Storm”. He found that the “elements of the song – a killer on the road in a storm plus the cinematic feel of the music – would make a terrific opening for a film”. Red had a lot of time to think about the song and it inspired ideas for the story. During his seven-month stay in Austin, he drove a taxi cab and wrote The Hitcher. In 1983, he sent a letter to several Hollywood producers asking if he could send them a copy of the screenplay for The Hitcher. His letter concluded: “It (the story) grabs you by the guts and does not let up and it does not let go. When you read it, you will not sleep for a week. When the movie is made, the country will not sleep for a week”.