The Hills Have Eyes
The Family That Woke Up Screaming
Peter Locke for Blood Relations
directed by Wes Craven
starring John Steadman, Janus Blythe, Arthur King (= Peter Locke), Russ Grieve, Virginia Vincent, Susan Lanier (= Suze Lanier-Bramlett), Dee Wallace, Brenda Marinoff, Robert Houston, Martin Speer, James Whitworth, Michael Berryman, Lance Gordon, Cordy Clark
written by Wes Craven, music by Don Peake, special effects by Greg Auer, John Frazier, art direction by Robert A. Burns
The Hills Have Eyes
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A typical American family - Father (Russ Grieve),
Mother (Virgina Vincent), Bobby (Robert Houston), Brenda (Suze Lanier-Brtamlett),
Lynne (Dee Wallace), her hubby Doug (Martin Speer), her baby and 2
family dogs - is travelling to California by camping
trailer when their car breaks down in the middle of the desert. So it is
decided to have Father and Doug go off into different directions to
look for help while Bobby stays behind with the women and a gun to
guard them. But soon rather unsettling things start to happen at the
trailer: Someone unseen is definitely watching them, one dog runs off,
Bobby, who goes after the dog, finds it killed, and the other dog soon runs off. Dad has meanwhile arrived at the gasstation
they passed just a few hours back, where an unnerved owner (John
Steadman) tells him about a mutant monsterbaby he and his wife once
had that has been hiding in the desert most of the time but now he might
come back to civilization to kill ... and he might bring his family.
Now this might sound like a wild story but is proven immediately after
telling when the poor man is killed by a monstrous human right before
poor daddy's eyes, but the killer has vanished without a trace before
daddy can get a good shot at him. Runnming back to his family in the
trailer, daddy is brutally stopped and cruzified ... The mutant family
- who are mutant father Jupiter (James Whitworth), mutant Mother (Cordy
Clark), Mars (Lance Gordon), Mercury (Arthur King), Pluto (Michael
Berryman) and Ruby (Janus
Blythe) - device a diabolical plan to get to the others: They now burn
their crucified daddy before their very eyes and while everyone else
is leaving the trailer they brutally rape Brenda who
stayed behind and steal the baby. And when they are actually
surprised by Lynne and her mother, they shoot them both. The rest of
the family are in shambles, but as desperate as their situation might
be, they just fight on ...
Much has been
said of the violent, brutal, macabre nature of this movie, often
(mis-)judging it by only these traits. Fact is, all this aside, The
Hills have Eyes is a great piece of suspense cinema that goes all
the way from abstract menace to concrete assaults to all-out-war in a
straight line, and while doing so gradually introducing us to the
murderous mutant-family of which our good American family (which
in its squareness doesn't need much of an introduction) becomes more and
more of a mirror image, but does that in an entertaining way, and thus not even
some slightly silly plot ideas (first and foremost the dog returning as a Rin Tin Tin-like deus-ex-machina) spoil the picture.
Basically, Wes Craven directs at his tightest here, is supported by a great
cast, and the locations are just stunning.
Definitely a must-see!