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VINE VOICEon 6 July 2015
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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on 5 October 2014
Dispatch within 2 days Arrived nicely. Cheap price.
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on 26 June 2017
'The Hills Have Eyes' is a 1977 horror film which is both written ad directed by Wes Craven. The film follows an American family who's van breaks down near a desert with surrounding hills. But what they don't know is that they are being stalked by a group of mutants who live on those hills. I really liked this film much more than I thought I would have. It is quite old, but it doesn't show it too obviously in it's story or production values (not like 'The Last House on the Left' did, which is also a 70's Wes Craven film). The characters are all good enough and the scenery did look fantastic in parts. I would have liked it to have been more tense or scary but my major criticism is the silly random ending. The film just seems to end without a conclusion making me wonder what happened to the family. But overall, it is a fun enough watch for fans of old-fashioned horrors or Wes Craven.
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on 5 July 2017
Nice atmosphere, ok overall.
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on 28 August 2013
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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on 10 May 2015
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 never let's 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 the best is almost certainly 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 (E.T., Cujo) and the striking Michael Berryman are arguably the 2 biggest standouts but the entire cast do a great job, as are 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 movies that was unfortunately caught up in the video nasty debacle (this was a section 3 title). 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 to shame. 4.5/5
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on 25 July 2005
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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on 16 November 2011
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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 October 2015
After having announced himself to the horror hordes with The Last House on the Left, Craven's next horror pick would be this, The Hills Have Eyes, another slab of grit and grime.

A nuclear family head across the desert in their giant trailer only to break down and find there's beasties in the hills hungry for their blood.

It has become very much a popular cult pic with Craven fans, which is understandable given the brisk pacing, moments of intensity and suspense, while the allegories and messages are smartly inserted. But the low budget does affect the product, it looks cheap and renders much of the violence and sexual aspects (implied or otherwise) as being not very frightening or stomach churning. While some of the acting is very poor, further adding a cartoonish feel to what should have been a nerve shredding experience.

Above average for sure, but not the masterpiece some would have you believe. 6/10
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on 13 July 2013
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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