BLOODRAGE aka NEVER PICK UP A STRANGER (1979) Reviews and overview
Mean-spirited US poster artwork

Bloodrage (also known as Never Pick up a Stranger) is a 1979 psycho thriller exploitation film directed by Joseph Zito (under the pseudonym Joseph Bigwood) from a screenplay by Robert Jahn. It stars Ian Scott, Judith-Marie Bergan, James Johnston, Betsy Ramlow and Lawrence Tierney (The Kirlian Witness; Silver Bullet; The Horror Show).

Director Zito previously directed Abduction (1975) and went on to helm two slashers, The Prowler and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, before focusing on reactionary action movies.

Bloodrage hooker victim

A young man named Richard visits Beverly, a local prostitute, and runs into her boyfriend, a police officer named Ryan, on the way into Beverly’s home. Richard and Beverly get into an argument, which ends with Richard accidentally shoving Beverly through a window, killing her. Richard cleans up the scene, evades Ryan when he returns from running errands, and hitchhikes to New York City after disposing of Beverly’s body.

Bloodrage 1

Richard acquires a room in a dingy motel, gets a job at a bottling company, befriends a neighboring drug dealer named Candice, and voyeuristically spies on Nancy, a prostitute who lives across from Candice. Intoxicated by what he felt during Beverly’s death, Richard murders a woman named Lucy, torturing and humiliating her beforehand. Ryan, suspicious of Beverly’s disappearance, heads to New York in search of her, enlisting the aid of the local police, and passing photographs of her around at strip clubs and bars.


During the course of his investigation, Ryan spots Richard in a restaurant, and hears a broadcast announcing that Beverly’s remains were uncovered. Concluding that Richard probably killed Beverly, Ryan finds out where he is staying, and heads there…

Bloodrage 1979 Ian Scott as Richard

Reviews [click links to read more]:

” …oozes the atmosphere of the sleazy 70’s and is bound to upset even the steadiest of stomachs, not because it is overly bloody (it’s not) but because of the matter-of-fact way that director Joseph Bigwood (actually Joseph Zito using a pseudonym) treats the material and characters. While the storyline is of the basic ‘serial killer murders prostitutes’ formula, the acting and situations seem so natural and unhampered by not having a big budget (this is an extremely low budget effort) that it makes the killings all the more horrendous”. Fred Adelman, Critical Condition

Bloodrage 1979 voyeuristic shot of Betsy Ramlow

“The unpolished acting works, too, giving things a reasonably authentic flavor, with Scott especially hitting all the right notes as Richie. This is a guy who would creep you out if you even bothered to pay attention to him, but is so nondescript and unassuming that you probably wouldn’t. You can already hear his neighbors being interviewed on the news saying “I guess I’m kinda surprised he’d do something like this, he just seemed like one of those guy who was sort of — I dunno, there, ya know? Ya never had much reason to pay attention to him one way or another.” Trash Film Guru

Choice dialogue:

“She was beautiful… she disgusted me.”

bloodrage vhs