Monday, October 20, 2008
The Hills Have Eyes (1977, Wes Craven)
You've all seen the infamous poster above with Michael Berryman (aka That Scary Ass Bald Dude). Wes Craven's first big hit after the classic Last House on the Left was (like Last House on the Left) way ahead of its time. The fact Craven is now a household name (after Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream) is hardly surprising. At the same time though, it's hard to believe that someone who could make films with as much sadism as Hills Have Eyes and Last House on the Left could become a household name.
The Hills Have Eyes is about a family taking a scenic trip through the desert to get to California. Their car breaks down and they soon realize they are not alone. Turns out a family of mutant cannibals are living in the desert's hills (don't you hate it when that happens?). After being terrorized, the remaining few are forced to kill in order to protect themselves, blurring the line between the civil and the savage.
The Hills Have Eyes is not only brutal and outrageous but also classic. Craven stops at nothing to make you identify with the heroes and what they must go through. He also creates a terrifying atmosphere, with the help of Robert Burns' (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) art direction. The thought of having your car breakdown in the middle of nowhere has crossed through everyone's mind and Craven uses that to heighten the level of fear for the viewers. Overall, a great film...if you can handle it.