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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The hills are alive with the sound of ...AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Whilst on a road trip a large family's car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, suddenly they are attacked by the rural savages and must fight for there survival.

Wes Craven's tension filled survival horror is one of his best. Unlike a lot of similarly themed movies (& frankly the remake) this really does maintain a suspenseful feeling throughout, with many...
Published 2 months ago by L.J.F.64

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3.0 out of 5 stars The Hills Had Eyes
I found this film hard to like. It follows the 70's American filmmaker's obsession with fear of the rural poor south (Texas Chainsaw, Deliverance). So I already felt I knew what was coming. Even before any hicks-from-the-sticks make an appearance you have an annoying American family to endure. The cardinal sin of any horror film is making the protaganists so annoying you...
Published 21 days ago by Max


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The hills are alive with the sound of ...AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, 10 May 2015
This review is from: The Hills Have Eyes (2 Disc Special Edition) [1977] [DVD] (DVD)
Whilst on a road trip a large family's car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, suddenly they are attacked by the rural savages and must fight for there survival.

Wes Craven's tension filled survival horror is one of his best. Unlike a lot of similarly themed movies (& frankly the remake) this really does maintain a suspenseful feeling throughout, with many jump scares maintaining a high fear factor. Craven keeps up pace expertly from the opening through to the slightly sudden end, the action really doesn't let up and the writing is very tightly done with the emphasis on story never really wavering off track, all this clearly showing that big things were obviously destined for Craven. There are many strong sequences in the film including, the trailer attack, very well done and scary to boot. Performance wise this doesn't disappoint, soon to be big 80's star Dee Wallace and the striking Michael Berryman are arguably the 2 biggest standouts but the entire cast do a good job, as is the make-up effects which do a convincing job of adding to the overall horrific feel of the picture. The only (very small) negative is the silly dog sequence, pushing someone to their death & helpfully carrying a radio back the trailer, it's a little far fetched but doesn't detract from a hugely enjoyable film.

Definitely one of the most enjoyable and easy to watch of the Section 3 nasty titles. Along with Nightmare On Elm Street & Scream, The Hills Have Eyes is most certainly one of Wes' top 3 pictures, intense and scary that puts many bigger budgeted films o shame.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wes cravens best in my opinion., 9 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Hills Have Eyes [DVD] (DVD)
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.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superior horror movie, 25 July 2005
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Hills Have Eyes (2 Disc Special Edition) [1977] [DVD] (DVD)
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Craven's Best Film, 28 Aug. 2013
This review is from: The Hills Have Eyes [DVD] (DVD)
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.

Easy in my top 20 horrors of all time.

An essential purchase.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A family film, 24 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: The Hills Have Eyes (2 Disc Special Edition) [1977] [DVD] (DVD)
The Hills Have Eyes is a nasty, rattle-and-scream horror tale, which is a cut above the slashers that would follow due to its focus on suspense over simple gore. That said, this is still a sick and horrifying film, full of crucifixion, burning, rape and, no doubt most controversially, a baby in peril (no violence against it happens, thank God). Its plot is the stuff of campfire tales. An all-white, conservative family (mum's a Christian and dad's a casual racist) are driving to California when they stop at a gas station run by a bearded hermit (John Steadman) who warns them against a detour to an abandoned silver mine in the desert. Of course they ignore his warnings and find themselves stranded, surrounded on all sides by ominous hills.
The family consist of Bob (Russ Grieve), a retired cop with heart problems, Ethel (Virginia Vincent), their children Bobby (Robert Houston), Brenda (Susan Lanier) and Lynn (Dee Wallace), Lynn's husband Doug (Martin Speer), their baby Katie, and two dogs, Beauty and Beast. They seem like a normal, close-knit seventies family unit, the kind you'd see on old American sitcoms. When Bob and Doug go to look for help Bobby is given their spare gun and left in charge, despite being younger than Lynn. There's subtext here, especially when we meet our antagonists, a family of grotesque savages. Their patriarch is Papa Jupiter (James Whitworth), who with Mama (Cordy Clark) has four children, Mars (Lance Gordon), Pluto (Michael Berryman), Mercury (Arthur King) and Ruby (Janis Blythe). It's worth noting that only the men in this family are deformed. Mama and Ruby look comparatively normal, and would blend in with civilisation.
Such are the observations one makes while watching The Hills Have Eyes, which has a mind beneath its violence. I'm not one to whine about the good ole' days, but there's a difference between old and new horror films that anyone can notice. Gore is their main selling point today, and storytelling comes second. In The Hills Have Eyes both elements work alongside each other. It doesn't open with a slaying but establishes a scenario which it then builds on. Sadly this approach would be replaced by crap like Friday the 13th, that nowadays we look on as camp. The day may never come when The Hills Have Eyes is seen as camp. It's a dark and terrifying film, which like most great horror stories has a touch of tragedy about it. The destruction of the blameless family is sad, and there's a poignant moment between Ethel and Doug. We end up wanting the savages punished, and punished as horribly as writer/director Wes Craven can imagine. We become sucked into the final orgy of revenge, even if it does leave us cold, which revenge is known to do. For those who can stomach it, The Hills Have Eyes is an odd sort of masterpiece, though I'd like to emphasise the "stomach it" part. This is strong stuff.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Do you always try to stop trespassers by hanging yourself ?", 16 Nov. 2011
This review is from: The Hills Have Eyes (2 Disc Special Edition) [1977] [DVD] (DVD)
The Carter family are traveling on vacation when they stop off at a gas station, the owner seems nice enough and tries to warn the family from straying from the main road. Bob goes off road anyway and he crashes the car, he decides to walk back to the gas station for help while his son in law, Doug, walks in the opposite direction. When Bob arrives at the station, he finds the owner trying to hang himself. Bob stops him from killing himself, then the owner tells Bob about his disfigured son Jupiter who lives in the hills with his deformed cannibalistic family. Jupiter then kills his father and knocks Bob unconscious, a little while later the rest of the family are horrified when they hear Bob screaming in agony, the cannibals are hungry and the Carter's have become their latest prey.

All of the actors perform their roles well, Dee Wallace and Michael Berryman will be the two most recognisable actors in the film as both went on to have successful careers in the horror genre. It adds to the film that Berryman who plays the deformed Pluto actually has hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, a rare genetic condition which prevents him from developing hair, sweat glands or fingernails.

This was Wes Craven's second film after the brutal Last House On The Left, and he directs this in a similar way. He managed to put together a good cast on a budget of just $230,000, and the raw performances they give really make us feel for the characters, especially in the scene where the cannibals get into the trailer. What Craven did with the Hills Have Eyes is to have innocent people attacked by violent maniacs, and then have the potential victims fight back and almost become as animalistic as the killers themselves. I always find it fascinating watching peaceful people being forced into "survivor mode" and fighting back.

Despite the fact the film is set in a desert wilderness, there's still a claustrophobic feel to it, as the family have no way of escape. A lot of the film is also shot in the day time, credit always needs to go to the cast and crew when they manage to put you on edge in bright sunlight. Too many films rely on darkness and jump scares these days instead of building character development and atmosphere. Many of the props in the film were props from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Craven has stated that this film is an homage to it. There's no nudity and very little in the way of blood and gore, but the little we get is done well. The Hills Have Eyes will hit you emotionally instead of making your stomach turn with gratuitous gore.

The 2 disc special edition has decent picture quality, it's quite grainy and has the odd line or speckle appear here and there, but it suits the film nicely and the film wouldn't have the same impact if it looked too clean. The first disc has a commentary by Wes Craven and producer Peter Locke, it's very interesting listening to the two reminisce about the problems they had with the heat and stories about the cast. Disc two has a documentary featuring Wes Craven, Peter Locke, Janus Blythe, Susan Lanier, Dee Wallace, Michael Berryman and cinematographer Eric Saarinen. The brilliant documentary The American Nightmare, which is a 73 minute examination into the nature of 1960s-'70s horror films, the involved artists, and how they reflected contemporary society. George A. Romero, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, David Cronenberg, Tobe Hooper and John Landis are just a few of the directors who were interviewed for it. Stills gallery, tv spots and trailers. The DVD also has no subtitles.

The Hills Have Eyes seems to have almost been forgotten, but I feel it was just as important a horror film as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Exorcist and Halloween. Although it seems slow and tame compared to horror films these days including the very good 2006 remake, it holds up surprisingly well and remains one of my favourites in the genre. A movie every horror fan should have in their collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shockingly amazing!, 26 Oct. 2006
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This review is from: The Hills Have Eyes [DVD] (DVD)
This film has the ingredients of a disaster - shockingly bad scripting, terrible acting, poor quality picture...but what the hell, it's still amazing!

A nice, all-American family are headed for California on the parents' wedding anniversary when they break down on a back road in the desert. Come night time, terror ensues - the dad is burnt alive, the youngest daughter is raped, the eldest daughter is shot, the mother is also shot and the baby taken for dinner. It's up to the survivors to rescue the baby and turn the tables.

It works really well. There is some fairly unpleasent tension, especially in the first half of the film before the family is attacked - you know that something is going to happen, and spend a lot of time anticipating it. It's not actually as shocking and brutal as its made out to be when the violence comes - the rape is, thankfully, played down a bit, and the gore surprisingly minimal. This does not detract from what is going on - it's still unpleasent viewing at times.

The main strength of this film is how Craven has us rooting for the family - they're shown as a nice, normal family, just trying to have a nice vacation, and they suffer so much. Several of the cannibal family members are suitably nasty, especially the rapist one, and you just want the nice family to win!

Brilliant stuff, a classic that has inspired many a modern horror movie. Watch this before you bother with the remake - this is the superior film.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Hills Had Eyes, 6 July 2015
By 
Max (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hills Have Eyes (2 Disc Special Edition) [1977] [DVD] (DVD)
I found this film hard to like. It follows the 70's American filmmaker's obsession with fear of the rural poor south (Texas Chainsaw, Deliverance). So I already felt I knew what was coming. Even before any hicks-from-the-sticks make an appearance you have an annoying American family to endure. The cardinal sin of any horror film is making the protaganists so annoying you don't mind them being killed off.

So as you might expect a family trip into the mountains ends up the a rendezvous with Uncle Earl and his posse and canibal hillbillies. The film manages to create suspence well enough, with the ever lurking presence of danger building slowly. The film isn't especially violent or graphic, but manages to do more with less. The worst part for me really was in not caring what happened. The American family just did nothing for me but become fodder for the crazies. Sad really as a film like this really hinges on you caring about the protaganists.

The picture quality was fine (Anchor Bay release) and sound okay too. Double disk feature has plenty of extras and a nice inside booklet. Unfortunately I just didn't like the film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wes Craven, 13 July 2013
By 
thewatcher (Gloucestershire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hills Have Eyes [DVD] (DVD)
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hills Have Eyes, 7 Jun. 2013
This review is from: The Hills Have Eyes [DVD] (DVD)
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'.
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The Hills Have Eyes (2 Disc Special Edition) [1977] [DVD]
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