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Scarecrow on Seattle: THE LAST RIDE

In appreciation and recognition of Seattle's long and illustrious film history, we are proud to partner with the Seattle Office of Film + Music to bring you reviews of movies made in the Pacific Northwest with an emphasis on how these films showcase the region's many filmable locations.

The Last Ride (1991)

On his journey to establishing himself as Seattle's premiere avant-garde filmmaker, Karl Krogstad made some interesting stops along the way including this low-budget action film, shot in the Fall City area. The Last Ride was made for the AIP home video label. Not to be confused with American International Pictures, AIP was one of many straight-to-video companies that thrived during the glory days of the mom-and-pop video store when countless films were produced to fill the shelves of the burgeoning marketplace. Typically, the actual cinematic content of the tape was of less importance than eye-catching artwork, a dynamic catch phrase, and an intriguing premise. Stop by Scarecrow sometime and check out the box for The Last Ride and you'll see what I mean. AIP picked up many low-budget films for distribution that were responsible for bringing the locally made New Wave curiosity piece Shredder Orpheus to unsuspecting video stores everywhere. The majority of AIP's "in-house" output involved the Prior brothers. David A. Prior was one of the founders of the company and directed most of their best-known films. Ted Prior acted in many of his brother's films (Deadly Prey is their best known collaboration) but he also wrote screenplays as well. For The Last Ride, AIP hired local boy Krogstad as the film's director and the crew headed out to the Cascade foothills. Ted's script seems to be inspired by The Hitcher, a movie that starred Rutger Hauer (Past Midnight) wherein a psychopathic hitchhiker torments a dude on the highway. The Last Ride turns things around as Michael Smith (Dan Ranger), a man released from prison after being falsely accused of a crime, is hassled by a crazy vengeful trucker named Phillip (Michael Hilow). Phillip relentlessly pursues Michael and is willing to harm any cops, waitresses, or innocent bystanders that get in the way of his target. Ranger is a dull leading man, but Hilow is suitably weird and over-the-top in his villain role. Hilow is an accomplished stuntman and, according to the IMDB, used to own Jimi Hendrix's childhood home.

The locations selected by Krogstad aren't particularly noteworthy, but obviously take place on the back roads around Fall City and made me long for an aimless afternoon drive. The filmmakers borrowed some actual local police cruisers and changed the lettering on the cars to read "Eing County Police." Several scenes occur at a diner called "The Other Place," that I don't think is in business anymore and the beginning of the film takes place inside a prison that may be the Monroe Correctional Complex but, thankfully, I've never been in there so I'm not sure. While The Last Ride isn't particularly original, it is a decent time passer for those of us that have a soft spot for straight-to-home video lowbrow action fodder.

-Spenser Hoyt

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