As Hallowe’en is coming up, we’ve opted for some horror films and we’re looking to mark the passing of Wes Craven last month.
Released: 22 July 1978 in USA, seemingly never in Ireland.
Awards: Catalonian International Film Festival 1977: Prize of the International Critics’ Jury; Wes Craven
Fun Fact: The dead dog used in the film was an actual dead dog.
As with The Last House on the Left, here Wes Craven tries to illustrate the affect violence can have on a society. Even though unspeakable acts are being carried out on a family, they end up becoming just like the savages.
Here we see a family bound for California who want to check out a silver mine that belongs to them. Warned by the old coot Fred (John Steadman) to stay on the main road, the family of curse pays no heed and disaster ensues when the car breaks down and they’re all left up shit creek.
The men folk go off in search of help, leaving the women types at home to be raped and attacked. They even kill the pet dog. Michael Berryman is who people will associate most with the film and plays Pluto, who be seen in the picture above. Michael suffers from Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia, a rare condition leaving him with no sweat glands, hair, fingernails or teeth. While watching, as with most early Craven films, the term exploitation crosses your mind once or twice.
While only his second film (if we don’t count his porno The Fireworks Woman), Craven has come on leaps and bounds with better shot selection and actors which was also no doubt due to an increase in funds. It still has some dodgy shots and questionable dialogue with little scares. As it doesn’t pack the same slimy and grubby punch as Last House on the Left or have as many novel kills, The Hills Have Eyes has much less impact making it a lesser film – if slightly more palatable.
Further Reading: “The True Story of the Hills Have Eyes”