The Hills Have Eyes (1977) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Hills Have Eyes (1977)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Hills Have Eyes Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

This horror shocker about a clean-cut American family terrorized by a collection of cannibalistic mutants (based on a true story concerning the cannibalistic Sawney Bean family who terrorized stray travelers in 17th-century Scotland) put horror director Wes Craven on the map. The film begins as the clean-cut Carter family -- Bob (Russ Grieve), a retired cop; his wife Ethel (Virginia Vincent); Lynne (Dee Wallace); her husband Doug (Martin Speer); brother and sister Brenda (Susan Lenier) and Bobby (Robert Houston) -- travel through the barren desert in a mobile home on the way to California. When their mobile home breaks down they discover that they have inadvertently trespassed upon the domain of a family of insane cannibals -- headed by the mutated head of the clan, Jupiter (James Whitworth). His wife (Cordy Clark) was kidnapped by Jupiter and forced to bear him children. Jupiter's sons -- Pluto (Michael Berryman), Mars (Lance Gordon), and Mercury (Arthur King) -- help their Dad keep the interlopers off his land. The daughter (Janus Blythe), in contrast to her brothers, wants no part of the forthcoming fun feast and desires to escape from her horrifying family life. When Jupiter and his progeny discover the Carters, the terror clan begins to rape, pillage, and kill the Carters -- with the survivors of the Carters trying to break free from the hysterical carnage.more
Rating: R
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Horror
Directed By:
Written By: Wes Craven
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 23, 2003
Laser Media


Susan Lanier
as Brenda Carter
Robert Houston
as Bobby Carter
Martin Speer
as Doug Wood
Dee Wallace
as Lynne Wood
Virginia Vincent
as Ethel Carter
Russ Grieve
as Bob Carter
Brenda Marinoff
as Katie Wood
Kirk Stricker
as The Beast
Arthur King
as Mercury
as Beauty
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Hills Have Eyes

Critic Reviews for The Hills Have Eyes

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (2)

A satisfying piece of pulp.

Full Review… | July 22, 2008
Top Critic

A heady mix of ironic allegory and seat-edge tension.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

One of the prime examples of the what was so fascinating about American horror films in the 1970s.

Full Review… | April 8, 2011
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Beware! 70s horror film is ultra violent.

Full Review… | December 15, 2010
Common Sense Media

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.

Full Review… | March 9, 2006
Arizona Daily Star

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.

Full Review… | March 7, 2004

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.

Cory Taylor
Cory Taylor

Super Reviewer


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"

Kevin Cookman
Kevin Cookman

Super Reviewer


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.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

The Hills Have Eyes Quotes

– Submitted by Bria M (3 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Hills Have Eyes on our Movie forum!