Michael Moriarty as Jim Wheeler

Michael Moriarty as Jim Wheeler

Warren Kole as Walker

Warren Kole as Walker

Directed by Larry Cohen

Teleplay by David J. Schow, based on his short story

Sit back and relax and I will tell you a story. It’s a story about three people. Oh, now there are a lot more people in the story; but the focus is mainly on three people in particular. First there is Stacia (Fairuza Balk, American History X, Almost Famous); however to say she is first is kind of misleading. Stacia is more like that song by Stealer’s Wheel; she’s stuck in the middle. The bookends holding her in place are Walker (Warren Kole, Mother’s Day, The Avengers), a hitchhiker; and Wheeler (Michael Moriarty, Pale Rider, Hitler Meets Christ), a trucker. I would say they both have a pair of apropos names, wouldn’t you? That’s not all they have in common. Walker and Wheeler are both serial killers. Stacia walked away from a broke down bus in the middle of nowhere that the two of them made into their own little game board. Now, every game has to have a winner, right? So, until one of them can get to Stacia, we got ourselves a tie.

Although it’s not a perfect episode by any means, Pick Me Up is still one of the better episodes of the first season of Masters of Horror. Michael Moriarty is fantastic as Wheeler. In fact, I think it would be very safe to say that Moriarty is one of the best character actors in the business. There is such an air of reliability to him that you just know that if he’s in something you just know it’s going to be at least decent. Moriarty has worked with director Larry Cohen before on at least three occasions; Q, The Winged Serpent, It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive and A Return to Salem’s Lot. They seem to play off of one another’s strengths; although I think Moriarty raises Cohen’s work to a higher level, and not the other way around. Cohen has never really struck me as someone you would call a Master of Horror. I wasn’t impressed with It’s Alive even though I know a lot of people hold it in high regard. I’ve always felt that Cohen’s strength was as a screenwriter. However, with all that having been said, I will give credit where credit is due; Pick Me Up is not only a good episode of Masters of Horror, it is also a good entry on the cinematic resume of Mister Larry Cohen.


Laurene Landon not only plays a small role in this episode, but also wrote the lyrics to the ending credits theme song.

The van in which Walker hitches a ride with Stoney and Lilly has Wyoming license plates. The first digit before the Wyoming Bucking Bronco denotes the county in which the vehicle is registered. In this case, county #1, which would be Natrona County.


I feel very odd listing all these links back to previous articles of mine. So, I’m going to list a few sites that would love a visit from you. Give them a shot and know what I’ve known for a long time; they’re all awesome.

Official Site of Alex Laybourne-Author


Head In A Vice

Andy Watches Movies


Rhino’s Horror

The Tashtoo Parlour

Badasses Boobs and Body Counts

Tim’s Film Reviews


About jmount43

I was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina on March 4, 1962. I guess that makes me old, but I certainly don't feel that way. I still play video games and listen to rock and roll music. I love movies, especially horror films. I have a beautiful wife who is my all time best friend. She supports me in everything I do. More importantly, she calls me out on my bullshit. This blog is dedicated to her for everything she's done for me.
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  1. Tyson Carter says:

    Nice write up as always John. And thanks for the little site shout out there! Much appreciated :)

  2. …before you go go haha :D

  3. Dawning says:

    This and Cigarette Burns were my two favourites in this series. Good stuff.

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