With Wes Craven Weeks in full force like a loony locomotive, it’s time to look at the fourth best film in the Craven canon: 1977’s ‘The Hills Have Eyes’. Welcome back to Wes Craven Week.
When we lost Wes Craven, a filmmaker responsible for some of the best horror films of all-time, it was tough on our genre. A man of many talents, with arguably his huge heart being the biggest, he was taken from us too early.
So, instead of focusing on the bad of Craven’s passing, let’s celebrate the gifts he gave us. And today’s film is one of his greatest gifts of all.
1977’s The Hills Have Eyes (#4)
Wes Craven’s ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ One-Sheet-Courtesy of Blood Relations Co.
A nice American family. They didn’t want to kill. But they didn’t want to die.
After Wes Craven unleashed The Last House on the Left to the early ’70s masses, the director again found himself at a crossroads. The mainstream made the assumption Last House’s creator must be sick and sadistic himself; nothing is further from the truth. This would be a huge factor in the director not working for five years.
With downtime, Craven found himself writing a family tale of mayhem; It was here where Wes Craven would create The Hills Have Eyes. Originally tittle Blood Relations, Eye’s script was a much sharper product than 1972’s The Last House on the Left; The Hills Have Eye is truly the moment Wesley Earl Craven began transitioning into the icon, Director Wes Craven, we know today.
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If you’ve seen The Hills Have Eyes, you’ll no doubt remember the story. Eyes’ tale of a family bounties, broken bonds, and questing for protection and bold redemption is a perfect mix of macabre. Set on the backdrop of California’s dusty hills, The Hills Have Eyes is a delicious concoction of dread and dreamy landscapes.
Moreover, The Hills Have Eyes, Craven’s sophomore effort, is besting Last House in every conceivable way. The direction is miles sharper, the script more focused, and the characters more realized. In The Last House on the Left, Craven told a story about the darkness of humanity. In his follow-up feature, Craven told a story about what it takes to fight it.
Starring Robert Houston, Dee Wallace and Michael Berryman, The Hills Have Eyes isn’t just one Wes Craven’s best films, but one of the best horror film ever. Period. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget. The film celebrates the sliver of light in a world of dark. It’s a tale people can learn from, because at the end of that day, nothing is more important than family.
Join me tomorrow as 1428 Elm looks back on on Craven’s third best film. Scratching your head? Don’t scratch too hard if you have a claw hand.
Miss Craven? Love The Hills Have Eyes? Let the other Craven Cravers know how you feel in the comment section below. A new Blu-ray full of supplements, from Arrow Video US, is available for per-order now on Amazon.