The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
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Movie InfoWhile on a road trip from Cleveland, the Carter family's car breaks down in the deserts of southern California. They soon become the prey of a bizarre clan of mutant cave-dwellers. Fortunately, the Carters have a very smart dog, and one clan member shows faint glimmerings of human feeling.
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Critic Reviews for The Hills Have Eyes
One of the prime examples of the what was so fascinating about American horror films in the 1970s.
As disgusting as the movie is, the ride is never dull, but there's no need to take on the film to begin with unless there's something a little off inside your head.
Craven paints an interesting and uniquely bloody study of how 'normal' people will descend to the lowest depths in order to save themselves, but you'll have to suffer through a lot of tedium to get there.
Even a dog has his day, and among the few tolerable features helmed by Craven is this early cult item.
As a mirror to the low-fi, sci-fi hero journey of Star Wars, however, The Hills Have Eyes is the far less damaging to its respective genre.
Craven's latent sick streak gets a major workout here, and the rudest shocks seem to center around the "good" family's parental figures.
Inventive story ideas and humorous touches give this horror picture an enduring relevancy and stylistic flourish.
Intensely creepy, but too unpleasant to really like
Craven's best movie that doesn't have the word "Texas" in the title.
Audience Reviews for The Hills Have Eyes
Normally it would be considered treason to remake a 70's "classic" from Wes Craven. In the case of 'The Hills Have Eyes' though, the original is painfully inert and while the runtime is relatively short, the film shambles at a plodding pace. This is a prime example of an underspiced premise that should be plowed further. The transition from day to night is practically instantaneous. The family of soon-to-be-cannibalized victims range from dimwitted (Bobby is deliberately reticent to inform the others that their canine Beauty has been disemboweled and he won't divulge how he bruised his cheek) to hopelessly na´ve (the mother mispronounces "may paw" as a distress call into the radio). As for the inbred hooligans at the center, they look like rejects from 'One Million Years B.C.' with tattered loincloths and Hall-and-Oates bouffant hairstyles. Mama could be a Native-American oracle with the beads around her scalp. In other words, it's Motley Crew tribute band and they are never once frighteningly feral. Even the bald Michael Berryman is more clueless and innocuous than volatile. Just because there is a shameless child-in-danger subplot doesn't mean the audience will be manipulated into paroxysmal terror. It's absolutely mystifying why this calamity is so highly praised among the horror elite.More
Wes Craven's cult classic reeks of lost potential, and it's due to one factor: the actors are unable to sell the gut-wrenching, truly dreadful moments. The happenings of this plot are the types that make me tear up and wonder if hope is just a stupid distraction in this cruel world. What I really ended up thinking was "OH YEAH, YOU GO DOGGY, YOU BITE THAT ANKLE, SUCK IT CANNIBAL MAN, HAHAHA"More
I'll just say right from the start that I am (somewhat) inflating my grade here. I know this film isn't that great, but there's enough stuff here that I liked that I feel warrants a recommendation, especially for genre fans, and those who enjoy old school low budget exploitation schlock.
The plot is a typical one: all American family on a road trip out to an inherited silver mine in the desert is assaulted by a family of vicious mutants. It's basically a war of one family against another where the audience is challenged to decide which family ends up being more monstrous than the other given how the fight progresses.
That's pretty much it. No real backstory, no real reason for the initial attack, but hey, sometimes more mystery is definitely better, and far scarier. In the case of this film, I think backstory might have helped things. This is Craven's follow up to his landmark debut, and this is once again a gritty and raw horror thriller.
Yes, the acting and effects aren't great, but the limitations add to the intensity of the situation. Plus, the music and locales are just downright creepy. The pacing is quite uneven, but once things get going, this is quite a ride. I also have to give props to a film that has one of the most awesome movie dogs ever, as well as a guy being crucified on (of all things) a cactus.
Look, the film's a mess and I admitted I'm being kind, but think of it as a necessary stepping stone in the evolution of horror cinema and it's easier to appreciate.
Wes Craven's 1977 film The Hill's Have Eyes is one of the most depraved and jaw dropping films in the horror genre. Wes Craven directs this awesome film with relish as the characters on screen are brutally stalked and murdered by a family of cannibals. With ever camera shot, Craven makes you feel uneasy as the backdrop of the film is in the open and you end up feeling the same anguish as the characters on screen. The Hill's Have Eyes is a powerful Horror film and this is Wes Craven when he's just warming up. His Horror talents would culminate with 1984's Nightmare On Elm Street and 1989's Shocker. The Hill's Have Eyes is a film of raw, brutal intensity and is a wild ride from start to finish. The cast is pretty good as well, Dee Wallace and Michael Berryman are the best actors in this film and Wes Craven has cooked up an amazing film that you won't forget. What makes The Hill's Have Eyes such an unrelenting horror is the mix of genres that Craven uses for his film. The film tends to touch on the Slasher film genres and psycho killer film with hints of exploitation. The result is an effective film that is a surrealistic nightmare of horror, one that grasps the viewer in a thrilling viewing experience that doesn't let go up until the memorable climax. This is one of Craven's best, and is a fine follow-up to his controversial, but excellent debut feature, The Last House on the Left. This Craven in his prime and it showcases his talents for effective horror perfectly.More
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