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Name That Trauma :: RATSAWGOD on Hairy-Handed Hitchhiking Hag

August 15th, 2008 by unkle lancifer · 10 Comments

name that trauma!

I’m looking for a short film that I saw as a teen that was based on the famous urban legend “The Hairy-Handed Hitchhiker.” A woman picks up an seemingly innocent old lady hitchhiker late at night. She is soon unnerved by the old lady’s odd behavior and then the sight of her hairy arms. She tricks the old lady into getting out of the car and then takes off, leaving the old lady behind. She realizes the old lady has left her large purse in the passenger seat. She looks inside and discovers a large, bloody axe or machete.

The short film I saw pretty much follows this to a T. It changes up the ending a bit by having the woman driver call her boyfriend after ditching the old lady hitchhiker, feeling guilty and foolish for having tricked her and leaving her stranded in the middle of nowhere. The boyfriend agrees to get in his car and find her. The woman driver goes into the local sheriff station to report the poor abandoned little old lady so any patrol men might find her and drive her to safety. She hands the sheriff the purse that she left behind. The sheriff opens the purse to search for ID. Out comes the machete. The young woman’s eyes widen.

The film cuts back to the boyfriend in his car pulling up to the old lady at an intersection. He opens the passenger side door and the old lady gets in, clutching another purse in her hairy hands. The light changes from red to green. The car doesn’t move. The little old lady gets out of the car and shuffles off. The light changes from green to yellow to red. The car is still.

I’ve found plenty of info about this urban legend on-line, but NOTHING about this very cool short film made from the mid-to-late 80’s. It was around ten minutes long. Does anyone know what it was titled and where I might find it to see again?

UNK SEZ: RSG, I would absolutely love to see this but like you, I had no luck in finding it on the interwebs. Coincidentally I am very familiar with this tale because as a young teen, my older brother actually had the gall to tell me it happened to HIM! His tale occurred at our local mall, King of Prussia plaza, THE greatest (and apparently most dangerous) mall in the world. In his big fat stinking lie, the old lady pretended to have misplaced her car and asked my brother with a recently acquired driver’s license if he would drive her about the parking lot and aid in her search. Once in the car, my brother noticed that the old lady had very hairy legs and asked her to get out. As she was departing the vehicle (luckily this was the type of psycho who takes orders from 16-year olds) a hatchet that she/he was concealing by clutching it between the legs (!) fell out of her/his dress and onto the parking lot floor…I of course thought this was the most incredible event that had ever taken place and sadly fell for this tranny fish-tale, hook line and sinker. (In my own defense, I never fell for his story about being asked backstage and wooed by JANET JACKSON!) If anyone out there reading this knows either the name of the short film that our beloved RATSAWGOD is speaking of, or even why in the name of God my brother is such a big fat stinking liar please contact either Aunt John or myself via comment or email (

UPDATE!! Mystery trauma solved! (see comments) Thanks to Seethingblue!

Tags: Name That Trauma!

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 powersgirlNo Gravatar // Aug 15, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Errgh!  I’ve seen this one too!  I looked around and the only thing I could find was this.  Pretty sure this is the same thing(maybe had a different title?), but I can’t find squat on it anywhere else.

  • 2 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Aug 15, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    I’m wondering did you guys see this short on television?

  • 3 RATSAWGODNo Gravatar // Aug 15, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Wow, I’m on Kindertrauma! Pure awesome.
    Unkle Lancifer, I did see this short on cable television late at night. It might have been aired on The Movie Channel.
    PowersGirl, thanks for the link. It’s close, but I do remember this short films story elements of the boyfriend and sherrif, so there is probably more than one film version floating around. Grrr… argh.

  • 4 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Aug 15, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    I remember my cousin telling me this one…

    she ended it by saying that she tried to pull the old lady out of her car. ” I started pulling her leg…just like I’m pulling yours!”
    That was not the only trick to befall the gullible young lancifer. Another set of cousins got me to partake in a seance. At one point they said “if the spirits are here ring the church bell 3 times” After a moment the church from across the street of my grandma’s bell rang THREE TIMES!
    Little did I know they had planned this seance to begin at five of three!

  • 5 powersgirlNo Gravatar // Aug 15, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Ditto on RATSAWGOD’s comment.  I saw this diddy on tv a couple years back.  Can’t remember what channel though.  Freaky stuff.  Pretty sure the main woman or her boyfriend was a doctor or worked in a clinic and they were British.  Just wish I could remember what it was.

  • 6 Professor Von WhiskersenNo Gravatar // Aug 15, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    The only thing I love more than urban legends involving driving at night, are my memories of my older sister and her friends telling me urban legends involving driving at night, while we were in the back of a station wagon, driving somewhere at night.

  • 7 aunt johnNo Gravatar // Aug 15, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    So I learned today that searching for “hairy hitchhiker” is not the smartest thing to do at one’s day job. Also, the use of the phrase “hairy arm” while searching leads to a clip of Nancy McKeon (aka Jo from the Facts of Life) on the sexy HBO show THE HITCHHIKER. Sorry Rat…

  • 8 seethingblueNo Gravatar // Aug 18, 2008 at 3:04 am

    There are actually two short films that come to mind after reading this post (although I’m sure there are more renditions of the myth out there in some shape or form). The first is Panic, which used to air on USA’s Saturday Nightmares through out the late 80s etc. The other is Sean Ellis’ Left Turn.

  • 9 RATSAWGODNo Gravatar // Aug 19, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    SeethingBlue, that’s it! You found it!

    I first hunted down Left Turn on YouTube, and watched it a bit puzzled. Yes, the characters were Brits, and there was a boyfriend and a constable- but at nearly twenty minutes divided into two parts, it didn’t feel like the right one. A bit later I also realized I was seeing something that was clearly less than a few years old. Finally, the kill of the boyfriend was somewhat explicit and the final image was different that I recalled. Nope, not the same movie I saw as a teen in 1985 or 86.

    I then turned to Panic. Bingo! Film sites list this as directed by James Deardon (who would later go on to helm Pascal’s Island and A Kiss Before Dying. He also wrote the screenplay for Fatal Attraction.) It was made in 1978 or 1980 (some site differ on the production date of the film.)

    Unfortunately, it’s unavalible to view anywhere on-line or to purchase. I did stumble on several postings from folks looking to see the film again.
    I’m now certain that this is the film I saw. The time-line fits. Other posters claimed to have seen it the same way I did in the 80’s. It’s British, too.

    The odd thing about Left Turn ? It, by all accounts, appears to be an actual  remake of Panic. Some of the scenes are even angled the same way. But it’s been notably fleshed-out and padded. Frankly, I don’t think it’s as atmospheric or creepy as Deardon’s version (at least what I can recall.)

    If I ever find it I will certainly let the fine, fine readers of Kindertrauma know.  SeethingBlue, thank you for solving this! Aunt John  and Unkle Lancifer, thank for sharing with da verld!

  • 10 aunt johnNo Gravatar // Aug 19, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    Another NAME THAT TRAUMA solved! Thanks for the assist seethingblue. I’d do a celebratory cartwheel, but I’d probably end up throwing out my back.

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