Review: The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

Posted by Peter Hall - March 14th 2006 @ 12:18 pm

Directed by Wes Craven, 1977

I’ll admit that I hadn’t seen the original before seeing the remake. You’d expect someone who has a horror site to have all the cult classics crossed off their list, but I guess I’m just a failure.

Having seen the remake it is a little redundant for me to praise the original because I’ve already seen a version that is exponentially better. The problems that lay with Craven’s version are almost entirely due to its budget. The make-up effects simply aren’t there, neither was the cinematography. The night shots are too dark, and not in the intense Texas Chainsaw sense either. The hill people themselves are almost too silly, too caveman to be taken seriously. It is a dissapointing result of a production that ultimately just didn’t have the resources to stack behind it.

But the story still works and works excellently. The idea of a family trapped in the desert, being assaulted by a band of inbred cannibals is freightenigly cool enough on its own to still be watchable, but really only if you’re trying to cross it off your horror classics list. I’d never thought I’d say it, but this is one of those rarities in which I’d highly recommend the remake, while completely snubbing the original.

And yes, it pains me to anachronistically review the original of a film negatively – a film that is dubbed by all other horror fans as a true cult classic – after having seen and heavily praised the superior and much more modern remake. I feel like one of those people, but oh well. The Hills Have Eyes was certainly ripe for a revisit. It has a strong heart and good intentions, it just doesn’t have the body to run the distance.

My age is showing…

comments are closed
  1. March 14th, 2006 | 12:39 pm | #1

    Depressing, isn’t it? I too thought it would at least be passable, but couldn’t find much to like at all.

  2. PT
    March 14th, 2006 | 1:33 pm | #2

    Just for a change, remake = better :)

  3. March 14th, 2006 | 2:22 pm | #3

    Yah, I was expecting much more considering how a lot of people really love this, but I found it a strain to really muster much love for it.

  4. March 14th, 2006 | 5:31 pm | #4

    You know there were a lot of people laughing at the new hill people in the remake. Clearly there was some Sloth influence in there somewhere that triggered some initial laughs. The only thing I found funny was hearing the audience change their tune so quickly. They went from laughing at what they thought was going to be yet another shitty movie to gasping at what was presented on the screen next. That or they just left the theater in utter disgust all together. Pussies!

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