As if Caulfield's moralizing weren't enough, we are treated to yet another pan of the film by Michael Wilmington, who takes particular pleasure in giving away most of the film's major plot twists while making irrational criticisms of the film makers' approach ("Thumbs Down," Feb. 23).

Referring to the film's most memorable set-piece, Wilmington chastises the film makers for not "focusing on her (the victim's) suffering." Does Wilmington really want more close-ups of the victim writhing in agony? Would that really make the film less exploitative?

A far less stylish and plausible film like the Dutch thriller "The Lift" received a rave in Calendar's pages, despite its explicit scene of a man being decapitated by an elevator door. Perhaps if Tri-Star had dubbed their film in French and released it as "Le Hitcher," your writers might have been kinder.

Tri-Star advertises their film with an ominous silhouette of the hitcher on a desolate stretch of highway. Your editors touted your article with a cover blurb promising slit throats, a French-fried finger and a woman ripped in two.

Which do you think is more exPloitative?


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