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A derelict dump in a dismal, dusty desert. An old timer is planning to leave, hurriedly harbouring a feral girl who also seeks escape. A family of tourists - big car, bigger caravan - arrive in search of fuel and directions to a old silver mine. Despite the old timer's protestations that they go back to civilisation and stick to the main road, you know there's something out there and it might be crazed and demonic, but it's got more sense than they have. They're doomed, all doomed. This is a nuclear testing site and Air Force bombing range, and nobody is going to come looking for them. Did I say nobody? What follows is a siege of the broken down car and caravan, the tourists slowly being picked off by a family of feral cannibals who watch from the hills then come looking for excitement and food. Although marred by the cliché of the women doing a lot of emotional screaming while the men try to remain taciturn and phlegmatic, this is a superior horror movie. It's reminiscent of the Sawney Bean tradition famous in my part of Scotland. The horror gets a touch sentimental in places, and the bad guys are really just ugly nasties - there's little attempt to explain or elaborate their characters. The good guys, meanwhile, are probably just a touch too clean cut and stereotypical - and, I repeat, the women scream a lot. "The Hills Have Eyes" builds on the tensions created by isolation and environment. This is civilised man confronted with the gradual stripping away of the trappings of civilisation - loss of wheels and mobility, loss of contact with the outside world, loss of food, loss of firepower, loss of life, loss of innocence. Surely anyone in this environment would return to the wild, become red in tooth and claw. It's the old Hobbesian paradigm of the veneer of civilisation being paper thin and fragile. This is, nevertheless, an exciting, entertaining horror film which is well worth watching and which does create moments of real tension. I'd advocate buying it as part of "The Wes Craven Collection", where it is packaged with three other films and a number of extras. You get a real sense of how much Craven had developed comparing this to his first film, "Last House on the Left". The comparison emphasises the sophistication of this film and will enhance your enjoyment of it.Read more ›
By far Wes Craven's best film. The Hills Have Eyes is grindhouse horror whacked up to the max.
A slow burner with characters and dialogue that keep you interested until the halfway mark where the mess hits the fan. Michael Berryman ever so delighful and a big softy in real life, is terrifying here.
The Hills Have Eyes is swamped in 70s nostalgia- a wonderful film that has not been bettered by the recent poor souless remakes.
Not much for me to say about this film that has not already been said. It has not been bettered even though others have tried. It has certainly been imitated many times. Wrong turn, is one that springs to mind. Wes Craven even tried to better this movie, but he failed also. In my opinion. The film is a bit dated, but if you like this type of film. Worth watching.
From the master of the macabre (Wes Craven) comes this sometimes brutal and really scary film. There's nothing like the original film where this one is concerned. Good storyline and excellent production from a decade of marvellous movies for the cinemagoers. 'Stay on the road, dont go through the desert...because the hills, still have 'eyes'.
Wes Craven began his film career in 1971 co-directing Together, a soft core documentary with Sean S. Cunningham. Cunningham would later go on to produce and direct the original Friday The 13th in 1980. Craven made his feature film debut with the gruesome Last House On The Left, beginning a lasting affair with the horror genre. Craven then gained some morbid inspiration for his next film, The Hills Have Eyes. Made in 1977 on a budget of around $250,000, this is one of the most influential horror films made. The story is about a family the Carters, that decides to celebrate Mom and Dad's Silver Anniversary by driving cross country and camping in a trailer along the way. Well, actually it's the father that decides that this a good idea and everyone else must go along with it.
As they trek along a "shortcut" through New Mexico they have serious car trouble, and are stranded in the middle of nowhere. This situation is made much worse by the fact that there are people living in the isolated desert hills... A deranged family of cannibals that terrorize the typical American family for different reasons: surviving, and the pleasure of torturing. The family, now, must try to survive in their tiny little dot of civilization stuck right in the middle of an unforgiving, big and bad primitive world. This is no contest Cravens best in my mind, he delivers a real, gritty, intense horror movie that in my mind is one of the best of the 70's.
The themes in The Hills Have Eyes can be interpreted as very deep, or merely as a scenario that leaves a family vulnerable to attack and terror. It's brutal and makes you wonder if it could happen to you and your family. Craven improved a lot and created a suspenseful, violent, raw movie. Those elements are covered perfectly by decent acting, an effective score and a perfect, diabolical direction. The acting is not the best especially by the blond kid who is quite obviously being played by a much older actor but it's comprehensive as it's a low budget movie. The characters are displayed in a manner that you can say there isn't acting at all. That way you can relate to them and later feel sorry for their fates. The film also introduced to us a young actress by the name of Dee Wallace who became a scream queen who later starred in The Howling and Cujo as well as other horror roles.
The villains are not likable, we get the creepy looking Pluto played by genre actor Micheal Berryman in one of his best and most memorable roles but the others were just alright. The actors just did a regular portrayal of serial killers but lacked of a heart to do it. In some parts the movie looked like a spoof but thanks to Craven's direction it stayed as a Horror movie. The movie wasn't as shocking as it's reputation and most of the violence was shown offscreen, kind of like Texas Chainsaw Massacre which was it's main influence. However the film still manages to be a great creepy cult classic that's worth checking out for horror fans, the remake was also brilliant and is one of the rare occasions where it manages to even surpass the original. Highly recommended.Read more ›
Michael Berryman takes horror to a new level with his oscar worthy portrayal of a deranged cannibal punk. Laugh as Berryman spots the rabbbit, cry when big Bob Carter gets nailed up. A rollercoaster of a horror flick. Great extras on the dvd set too!