Shudder: five films to be thankful for this Thanksgiving

Photo: Haunt/ Brian Douglas.. Image Courtesy Shudder
Photo: Haunt/ Brian Douglas.. Image Courtesy Shudder /
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2. The Hills Have Eyes

One of the most dysfunctional (and inbred) families in horror movie history originated in this 1977 flick, written and directed by the late, great Wes Craven. It was his follow-up to his directorial debut The Last House on the Left and was loosely based on the legend of the Sawney Bean family.

Though Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre) was offered a role, he turned it down. Michael Berryman and Dee Wallace did accept roles, and it seemed to help their careers since The Hills Have Eyes is now considered a legendary film in the horror genre.

It’s a simple enough setup: a family is traveling in Nevada via travel trailer, and become stranded in the desert when they have a vehicle mishap. Making things worse, a cannibalistic group of people starts stalking them.

This is a gritty, dark film, and some of it is so brutal that it’s hard to watch; in particular, there is a harrowing rape scene and a character is burned alive. But, it keeps you riveted to the screen, and afterward, you feel as if you have run a marathon.

The Hills Have Eyes was included as part of the Dinners of Death Marathon in last Thanksgiving’s The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs, and I highly recommend watching that version. Joe Bob is always entertaining, and you get some fun facts, plus a visit from Michael Berryman.