1 9 8 3 – 1 9 9 1 (Canada)
85 x 30 minute episodes
Deadly Nightmares – originally titled The Hitchhiker – was an adult anthology series of cautionary tales linked by the recurring character of a hitchhiker (Page Fletcher) who appeared at the opening and close of each story.
Near the beginning of each story, some less-than-admirable individual would happen across a leather-jacketed fellow hitching his way along a highway.
Once they crossed paths with this drifter, it was only a matter of time before they got their comeuppance. Cruel and ironic justice was waiting down the road.
Examples of typical storylines include:
- A broadcast preacher is visited by a higher authority who may be the brother he jealously despises
- A lying womaniser gets his comeuppance from a female video artist who turns his execution into a piece of performance art
- A man is visited by the ghost of a former girlfriend and forced to experience her suicide
- A drug overdose victim fighting to hang on confronts life, death and his Oedipal urges in a bizarre fantasy
Shot in Quebec in Canada with a budget of around $450,000 per episode, this was the first dramatic television series made by HBO (Home Box Office) cable TV network.
Since the series was aired on pay cable television, episodes frequently contained gratuitous nudity, sizzling soft-core sex, and rough language – like a Playboy version of The Twilight Zone – which disappeared when the series was picked up for commercial television in the US.
The producers hired film directors for the series, including Roger Vadim, Paul Verhoeven, Philip Noyce, Mike Hodges, David Wickes and Carl Schenkel.
Artists who appeared in episodes of Deadly Nightmares included Klaus Kinski, Willem Dafoe, Karen Black, Robert Vaughn, Elliott Gould, Darren McGavin, Margot Kidder, Michael Madsen, Helen Hunt, Gary Busey, Timothy Bottoms, Geraldine Page, Lauren Hutton, Bill Paxton, Peggy Lipton, David Soul, Kirstie Alley, Lorenzo Lamas, Barry Bostwick, Candy Clark, Sybil Danning, M. Emmet Walsh, Sandra Bernhard, Greg Evigan, Joe Dallesandro, and Gene Simmons from KISS.