5 “Killer” Road Trip Films Selected by ‘Wrecker’ Director Micheal Bafaro

XLrator Media will be releasing Wrecker in limited theaters on VOD and iTunes on November 6th.

Directed by Micheal Bafaro, and featuring Anna Hutchison and Drea Whitburn, “Best friends Emily and Lesley go on a road trip to the desert. When Emily decides to get off the highway and take a “short cut,” they become the target of a relentless and psychotic trucker who forces them to play a deadly game of cat and mouse.“

Bloody Disgusting caught up with Bafaro who shares his list of 5 “Killer” road trip films with an explanation behind each selection.

George Sluizer’s The Vanishing (1988)


This is up there with my favourite films of all time. The original Dutch version of The Vanishing is a tight psychological thriller and happens to tell a compelling human drama. From the beginning, the ill-fated couple, Rex and Saskia, are absolutely endearing. When Saskia is abducted during their road trip, Rex spends years obsessively trying to track her down. From the onset, this film has a masterful control over atmosphere, it really gets under your skin. It’s a subtle and creeping feeling that will carry you through to the shocking finale.

Stephen Spielberg’s Duel (1971)


I can’t make this list without acknowledging one of my favourite childhood films. Duel is one of the films that takes a simple premise and kills it with the execution. This is probably the first film I saw where I realized that being pursued by a psychopath can be a lot more dangerous during the day than at night. Some of the best driving scenes period. Great script by Richard Matheson, based off his short story, and energetic direction by young Stephen Spielberg.

Jonathan Mostow’s Breakdown (1997)


The psychopathic truck driver strikes again. Kurt Russell absolutely nails it in this film as the bewildered husband searching for his wife. We understand his character’s motivations behind his actions and never once do they feel forced by the plot. The shots of the long, quiet, New Mexico highways are reason enough to watch this film. This is one of those films where the action never stops, but does so in a way that doesn’t feel forced. This is a smart action thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seats.

Robert Harmon’s The Hitcher (1986)

The Hitcher

What to say about this one? Inspired by the The Doors song ‘Riders on the Storm,’ The Hitchertells the story of a young midwesterner, C. Thomas Howell, driving from Chicago to San Diego. The film starts off with a bang when he picks up a lone hitchhiker standing at the side of the road in a flash storm. The hitchhiker, an unnerving and sinister performance by Rutger Hauer, informs the driver that he’s going to kill him just like he’s killed everyone who picks him up. What happens from there is an unexpected psychological horror film. An amazing script by Eric Red with one of my all time favourite endings.

Quentin Tarantino’s Deathproof (2007)


I’m a child of 70s cinema, and Deathproof is an honest and thrilling homage to those killer car chase films of my youth. It’s a simple enough movie, three young women are being pursued by a psychopathic driver, Kurt Russell is excellent as Stuntman Mike. Very few filmmakers could pull of this type of film, but Tarantino does so with focus and restraint. It’s the perfect homage to the grind house genre and excellent killer road trip film.