To Hell in handcuffs

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 September, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 September, 1994, 12:00am

THERE are two films showing this evening of great mediocrity. But with Midnight Express to look forward to tomorrow evening, tonight would be a good night to spend in the pub anyway.

You can tell before watching it that Highway To Hell (World, 9.30pm) will be silly, not just because it has a silly title, but because it stars someone called Chad.

Chad Lowe plays Charlie Sykes and Kristy Swanson plays his true love Rachel. Both are navy brats whose lives have too often been disrupted by their parents' military base transfers.

But now they have found one another and fallen in love. And when that happens, in all good B-movies, things start to go wrong. The couple's domestic bliss is threatened when they set out for a secret wedding in Las Vegas and are pulled over, not by a cop, but by Hellcop (C.J. Graham). He is a demon from Hell who seizes Rachel with the intention of delivering her into the depths as a prize for his master, presumably chief inspector Hellcop.

This is all ridiculous, but it gets even more so. Sykes follows his damsel in distress into hell, where he finds people cooking eggs on the sidewalks and Hitler (an unfunny cameo by comedian Gilbert Gottfried) arguing with Cleopatra over shoe polish. There is Jimmy Hoffa's bar, where the dead eternally disco.

Patrick Bergin, much to his shame, although it all helps pay the bills, pops up as an underworld service station operator to help the couple out of their predicament.

The plot of Eye Of The Tiger (Pearl, 9.30pm) will sound familiar. A group of Hell's Angels invade a peace-lovin' town and sadistically murder an ex-con's wife. He goes after revenge and what follows is the same thing that has followed in 1,001 other films of this kind.

The ex-con is played by Gary Busey and his loving wife (who gets topped almost before you have had time to open your popcorn) is Denise Galik. They have an eight-year-old daughter who is left by the bikers in a catatonic state, the same state you will be in if you watch Eye Of The Tiger. It was directed by Richard Sarafian.

TELEVISION continues its morbid obsession with animals that can kill us in National Geographic Special (World, 8.30pm). This particular episode is called Animals You Love To Hate and is, as the title implies, about animals we love to hate - black widow spiders, rattlesnakes and other beasts whose nip means excruciating pain at the best and an unpleasant death at the worst.

And if you ever wondered - as we have all done - why it is that cockroaches are impervious to every form of weapon short of a telephone directory dropped from the top of a ladder, the answer is here. The programme features Dr Austin Frishman, better known to his friends - if he has any - as Dr Cockroach. 'Everybody has access to the same pesticides,' he says. 'The difference is that the person who is applying them must think like a roach.' Dr Frishman's main nemesis, one of 3,500 varieties of roach, is the German cockroach. It has evolved over 350 million years into a tiny package that can hide in all sorts of cracks and crevices - even in your dentures. BEFORE you rush to the bathroom to check your dentures, spare a thought for Gary, Susannah, Ellyn and Jeffrey, who in Thirtysomething (World, 1.35am) must re-evaluate their relationships.

What, again? It all starts when Jeffrey leaves town for a three-day meeting and Ellyn discovers he only spent one day there. If you care where Jeffrey was for the other two days, by all means tune in. If you want my advice, I'd say get some sleep. IN The Green Hornet (World, 7.30pm), the Hornet appears to shoot an old enemy. But he doesn't really. The gun was fired by remote control by someone else and the Hornet (Van Williams) is the innocent victim of a set-up.

Oriental sidekick Kato (Bruce Lee) must help him prove his innocence. IF you think the best thing about Eye On Hong Kong (Pearl, 7.15pm) is Valerie Chow, you are probably right. Oliver Tan is definitely not the best thing about it. He meets Frank Bruno and the two discuss the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Joint Declaration and its implications for the future of the people of Hong Kong.

Fiona Carver visits a photographic exhibition and Gloria Wu meets Frentel, who won the Best New Band award in Australian Rolling Stone magazine's Reader's Poll. Host John Dykes reviews two films - Short Cuts and Pret-a-Porter. WHICH leaves The X-Files (Pearl, 8.30pm), a series which is famous for replacing NYPD Blue. Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully investigate the strange disappearance of a military test pilot who experienced a psychotic episode and was carted off by the men in white coats.