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"Hydrogen Hotrod" - The Teaser

HYDROGEN HOTROD is a fast, fun, frightening, hip, nostalgic, and timely story that combines all the thrills and excitement, cool songs, and dynamic action expected of any classic “hotrod” movie, with the not-so-science-fictional idea that a device might be possible which could transform water into a totally non-polluting fuel source;   it’s a sometimes psychedelic, high-speed tire-lighting fable, geared toward car culture enthusiasts of all ages, and anyone else who digs an inventive, scenic adventure with a contemporary edge.


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"Hydrogen Hotrod" Synopsis

A young race car driver, KEITH MASON, tries to hold together his fraying
relationship with his girlfriend, CRYSTAL SMITH, a budding pro-environmental activist,
while the culmination of a twenty-year industrial conflict forces them both to help an aging
hippie scientist, PETE CATANO, who’s on the run after stealing back his own
long-suppressed invention – the “Hydrolyzer” – a prototype device that converts gasoline
engines to run on ordinary water.

Betrayed by CLIFFORD HATCHER, a patent-stealing industrialist who was once his
partner back in the late 60’s, the eccentric fugitive scientist Catano hides his hijacked
Prototype vehicle at his late friend’s automotive shop, where his friend’s son, Keith
Mason (who’s now running the business, and a vintage racing team), helps Catano swap
the Prototype’s “Hydrolized” engine into an old convertible Shelby Mustang GT500KR.

All hell breaks loose after dark when Hatcher’s right-hand-man, LOU GRIMES,
arrives with a strong-arm gang and attempts to steal the Prototype back -- even as a
separate pair of mysterious hit men, KANE AND FELLMAN, make their own grab for the

Crystal arrives at the shop intending to break-up with Mason over differences
arising from her growing involvement with “Greenscene” (a pro-environmental group),
but she suddenly finds herself caught in the middle of the terrifying midnight shootout!
Catano suffers a glancing gunshot wound, and Mason hurries to get him into the modified
musclecar (now a “hydrogen hotrod”). Fearful of leaving her behind, he persuades
Crystal to climb into the car as well, where she reluctantly administers uncertain first aid
to Catano as Mason peels-out into the night. They head for the highway, with Mason
determined to take Catano to a long-time friend he mentioned in San Francisco, and
Crystal now an unwilling accomplice, trapped by the whirl of events that kick off a
super-high-speed chase out of L.A.!

Duped into thinking that they’ve captured the real thing, the industrialist Hatcher
and his henchmen Grimes quickly discover that the old Prototype’s engine has been
swapped -- just as a shady oil company operative, “SLICK” BILL SCHOLLS (also
double-crossed by Hatcher back in the old days), springs an ambush and steals the stolen
vehicle for himself! Hatcher lets him have it, knowing it’s a fake, and he and Grimes
pounce on the trail of another cryptic character, THE DRIVER of a red Land Rover, who
they observe in pursuit of the escaping hydrogen hotrod...

As the breakneck chase unspools, Mason discovers the hidden power of Catano’s
strange invention (the Hydrolyzer’s reprogrammable ability to act like a rocket booster for
brief shots of mind-bending acceleration!), but with Catano in a semi-conscious delirium
he isn’t sure how to control it. The trio is hotly-pursued by the greedy pack, Kane and
Fellman quickly proving themselves ruthless killers, while Catano’s fevered hallucinations
mesh with Hatcher’s own flashbacks of the stolen Hydrolyzer’s first turbulent theft, once
upon a time over twenty years ago...

Mason and Crystal rapidly reach the boiling point – their break-up hasn’t exactly
gone as Crystal had planned – while they hide out long enough to clean up Catano and the
car. But in a surprising twist they both realize that the “friend” whom Catano intended to
contact in San Francisco is in fact none other than Crystal’s new “boss”, Jerry Maxwell --
the leader of the same pro-environmental group that she’s joined up with! Ironically
Crystal realizes it’s her duty to get Catano and his invention to safety, much to her
“ex-boyfriend” Mason’s grim amusement.

Following a rapid-fire succession of hair-raising road skirmishes and narrow
escapes from everybody trying to stop them at all costs (including now, the Highway
Patrol), Mason, Crystal, and Catano finally arrive at the San Francisco headquarters of the
Greenscene organization, only to find that the man they’re looking for, “Jerry Maxwell”,
isn’t there -- and has instead gone looking for Catano himself! The hasty curbside
meeting suddenly turns into a chilling ambush as Hatcher and Grimes (after following a
separate trail) close-in on the hydrogen hotrod, even as Kane and Fellman simultaneously
blow things wide open by botching yet another shot at the fugitives, this time fatally
wounding the Greenscene worker trying to warn them!

Mason floors it and the hydrogen hotrod streaks across the Golden Gate Bridge
out of the city, northbound toward an uncertain destination, with hit men Kane and
Fellman closing in. Hatcher suddenly learns that Grimes has been feeding him false
reports, and he seizes on a clue left behind beside the dead Greenscene worker, making
a hasty solo exit to jump a chartered jet bound for Eureka. The suddenly-abandoned
Grimes drops further pretense and reveals his own connection with Kane and Fellman
while attempting to contact them as he resumes the pursuit on his own.

A first few chill drops of rain herald an approaching evening storm, and Crystal,
cold and miserable as her companions, persuades Mason to stop long enough to put the
hotrod Shelby’s convertible top up as they race up Pacific Coast Highway. Mason doesn’t
like the idea of turning Catano over to any “tree-spikers”, as he labels Maxwell’s “Mad
River Ecomandos”, and though Crystal swears she didn’t know the notorius radical group
had any link with the Greenscene organization, she also fierely states that with no place
else to run to, she’d much rather choose the tree-spikers than the murderers they’ve got
hot on their tails!

Mason’s been watching the fuel gauge drop, and now, with Kane and Fellman
closing in again along the perilous ocean cliffs, the hydrogen hotrod is running near
empty -- ironically despite the growing rainstorm now drenching the car and the
treacherous highway! Mason knows it’s all over for them the minute they stop to try and
refuel. . .

Hatcher meanwhile has arrived by taxi in the night rain at an odd little roadside
greasy spoon, “Boomer’s Café”, where a couple of stoically-rugged, no-nonsense MAD
RIVER ECOMANDOS approach, and Hatcher, seeking to cut an 11th-hour deal with their
leader Jerry Maxwell, accepts their escort...

The little needle in the modified Shelby’s dash is floundering on “E” as the
desperate chase continues on up the dark, rainy coastline, and with Kane and Fellman
right behind them, it looks like the end is near for Mason, Crystal, and Catano. But Catano
suddenly realizes that they can reach the fuel tank through the trunk, and although Crystal
is at first afraid that he’s gone delirious again, she soon joins him to help pull the back
seat loose -- and they start cannibalizing parts of the moving car to form a
patched-together funnel and hose, filling the tank with falling rainwater on the run . . .!
Crystal quickly relays Catano’s shouted instructions to Mason and he primes and fires the
Hydrolyzer’s back-up “boost” -- !

Mason’s racing skill is the deciding factor in their survival as he manages to keep
the rocketing hydrogen hotrod gripping the dangerous road, as Kane and Fellman
screw-up a final time and plunge to their deaths over the rocky cliffs!

The following day dawns clear and bright at “Boomer’s Café” off the forested
northern California interstate, where a spectacular gathering of vintage 50’s and 60’s
hotrods and musclecars now fills the café parking lot. The sorely-abused hotrod Shelby
Mustang is nestled among them, not likely to win any “People’s Choice” awards... Catano
is reunited with his old friend JERRY MAXWELL (who turns out to have been the
mysterious “Driver” chasing them all along!), and the seasoned environmental activist
gleans an idea from the group around them of a grassroots way to get the Hydrolyzer out
in the open... Crystal gets a sudden shock as Grimes pops into view inside Maxwell’s
Land Rover -- but it’s quickly obvious the Ecomandos have him hog-tied! His heated
exchange with Maxwell reveals that the “Cartel of Interests” which Grimes and Kane and
Fellman were all operating for wasn’t connected with the oil companies at all, but is
instead a clandestine arm of the nuclear industry!

Crystal has to coax the car keys from Mason, and when he sees that she still feels
things are over between them he resolves to bow out of her life, unwilling to relinquish
his passion for racing machines, in spite of his conscience, which the adventure has set
nagging at him. And Crystal, knowing she can’t abandon her own convictions, watches
him walk away...

Back at LAX, Hatcher is hustled out to a waiting cab by the two burly Ecomandos
flanking him, his frantic last-minute offer to sell everybody out and cut an exclusive deal
for the Hydrolyzer’s manufacture with Maxwell alone falling on deaf ears. Catano’s old
nemesis is terminally surprised to find that the environmentalists have set him up with
“Slick” Bill Scholls, the oil man twice duped by Hatcher -- now posing as the cab’s driver
to take his fare with a silenced pistol.

Bone-tired and thumbing home alone, Mason suddenly finds the shot-up,
picked-over, raggedy-ragtop hydrogen hotrod rumbling up beside him, with Crystal and
Catano telling him that Maxwell wants to sponsor a vintage race car with a very unusual
difference -- and with Mason at the wheel. It’s an offer (from a messenger) that Mason
can’t resist, and as he climbs back into the hotrod Shelby, Crystal gives him a taste of his
own technique, flooring the car into a loop across the highway to take him back with them!
Mason glances over his shoulder to spot another Highway Patrol car in hot pursuit and
starts trying to tune-in a weather report on the radio, ruefully suggesting they’d all better
start praying for rain...

When it rains, it pours... FUEL!

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Copyright ã 1998 J.V. Curtis

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