If you're Chad Lowe, this must be the highway to Hell...
Yes- Chad Lowe here – no no- Rob’s brother. His agent lets me take his call forwarding runoff when’s he’s at the gym. What’s that? A project? A supernatural thriller with Kristy Swanson as my girlfriend? Four-day shoot with full craft tables? I’m in. Such a conversation must have preceded the making of HIGHWAY TO HELL, a cheap queasy fever-dream of a movie that fumbles its intended quirky/scary ratio so badly that it pulls off a rare trick – it simultaneously sucks and blows. If I told you every member of the Stiller family made cameos, and that Gilbert Gottfried played Hitler, would you watch this shit? Go ahead, but you’ll still need a hot cleansing shower immediately after.
From the opening scene, the audience must suspend disbelief, as nice guy Lowe and Swanson play a naughty couple on their way to Vegas to elope, going at it hot-and-heavy in the back seat along a side a of a dark desert highway. She reveals that she’s still a virgin (yup), saving it for their big night. But soon they wind up in a bad (in fact, evil) stretch of highway guarded by a cop from hell (C.J. Graham as Sgt. Bedlam). They seek refuge at a deserted service station run by old codger Richard Farnsworth (The Straight Story), who coaches them on the only way to beat the demon-cop – racing him through a wormhole into hell or something. (He also wants them to find his Amelia Earhardt-looking sweetheart) They even take his souped-up cherry white antique roadster for luck.
So they follow his advice, punching the car straight into ‘Hell,’ and taking the movie with it. Some of the characters they pointlessly meet there are supposed to be famously ‘bad’ (like Medea, Hitler) while others are randomly stupid and evil. The aforementioned Stiller cameos fly by in a diner scene – Ben Stiller fries an egg on the sidewalk (cause it’s Hell). The couple has some car trouble, so they take it to a mechanic who later turns out to be Satan (bland Patrick Bergin, a poor man’s Kevin Kline) So Swanson gets kidnapped (Satan luvs virgins) and replaced with monster saggy-breasted succubus.
Lowe must get her back, traveling across the River Styx (guarded by three-headed dog Cerberus). Then the Devil challenges them to one last race back to their dimension. They win somehow.
As I said, in trying to mix quirky REPO MAN-esque moments into its GHOULIES-esque scare-story, the movie just comes across a wtf mashup you can’t wash off quicky enough. But if you’re a Stiller completist, you had this coming.