The Hitchhiker

Posted In Short Films

A parody of original The Twilight Zone, satirizing the tropes of 1960s science fiction from a modern day perspective. In 1959, Nancy Adams, “twenty-something,” drives cross-country to Hollywood, pursued by an unrelenting stranger.

In 1941, Orson Wells produced one of many live radio broadcasts for the Mercury Theater. It was a spine-tingler in which a young man driving cross-country from Brooklyn to California, is terrorized by a hitch-hiker waiting for him at every turn. The radio play was written by Lucille Fletcher, whose husband, composer Bernard Hermann, created the score for the play, as well as for the television adaptation nearly twenty years later.

Enter Rod Serling, who, in 1959, premiered a new science fiction anthology television show called, The Twilight Zone. Using Fletcher’s ghost story as a template, he re-imaged the protagonist as an aspiring actress on her way to make it big in Hollywood. He expanded the set pieces, updated the narrative to suit the times, and bookended the story with his signature introduction and summation. It was the sixteenth episode of season one.

Over half a century later, in the summer of 2012, playwright David Gallic produced a collection of one-act plays, lampooning a handful of episodes from Serling’s iconic series. One of these episodes was — you guessed it — The Hitchhiker. Gallic injected his sarcastic wit and childlike sense of wonder to the material, drawing attention to the conventions of the genre, then turning them on their head. For some reason, still unbeknownst to me, he let me film an adaptation of his adaptation of Serling’s adaptation of Fletcher’s adaptation. Everybody got that?

To translate the story back from stage to screen, my approach was heavily inspired by works of Mel Brooks and the early Abrahams-Zucker spoofs, “Young Frankenstein” and “Airplane!” being direct influences. To a lesser extent, I also drew on imagery from Psycho and Looney Tunes to fill in the gaps, but the endgame was always to create a stand-alone parody-homage.

Shot with the Ari AR3 on black & white Kodak Eastman Double-X Negative 7222 super 16mm film.
Runtime: 19min 12sec
Sound: 5.1 DTS
Format: 1:78:1



  • Director: Alexander Harrison Jacobs
  • Writer: David Gallic
  • Cinematographer: Jonathan Barenboim
  • Producer: Adam Carver
  • Producer: Melissa Panzer
  • Cast: Nora Zehetner
  • Cast: Barry Corbin
  • Cast: Jerry Mathers
  • Cast: Beau Knapp
  • Cast: Mike C Nelson
  • Cast: Kyle Overstreet
  • Cast: Helen Wilson
  • Cast: Adam Lustick
  • Cast: Jessica Howell


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