|The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
| Umbrella Entertainment (Australia). All Regions, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DD 2.0. 89 minutes
Director Wes Craven's The Hills
Have Eyes is loosely based on the legend
of the Sawney Beane family, a group of incestuous
cannibals who attacked those traveling through Scotland's
East Lothian County in the 1400s. They were so vicious
they would completely consume everything living
in any road party: driver, passengers, women, and
children, even dogs and horses, pickling and drying
any meat they could not finish. Their actions became
so notorious that King James I of Scotland ordered
them to be hunted down, and when finally captured,
they were deemed insane, and executed without trial.
The men of the family, of which there were nine,
including Sawney himself, had their hands and legs
amputated, and were then left to bleed to death,
and the women and children, now numbering 39, were
burnt alive in several large fires. Craven took
the idea of a wild family of cannibals and adapted
it to a modern setting (the seventies anyway) and
moved the family from the Scottish coast to an abandoned
road running through a desert. This story is an
exploration of just how much pressure it takes for
a civilized person to be reduced to a violent primitive
state in self defense.
|Director: Wes Craven
Starring: Susan Lanier,
Robert Houston, Martin Speer, Dee Wallace, Russ
Grieve, Janus Blythe, Michael Berryman
The Hills Have Eyes tells the
story of a good old American extended family,
the Carters (Susan Lanier, Robert Houston, Russ
Grieve and Virginia Vincent) and the Woods (Martin
Speer and Dee Wallace) who are making their way
to California. On the way they have an accident
in the desert, and as night falls are descended
upon by a group of inbred cannibals (Michael Berryman,
Lance Gordon, James Whitworth, Janus Blythe, Cordy
Clarke and Arthur King aka Peter Locke, producer).
Slowly the family members are picked off until
finally, they decide to fight back…
In region 4, Umbrella entertainment is probably
the horror fans best friend. With cult classics
like this, The Hills Have Eyes and the rest of their catalogue, Umbrella keep
showing they respect the genre and seem to be
committed to getting previously unreleased or
banned, or even just unedited cuts of films available
for the R4 consumer. This film has been treated
with the respect it deserves and this 2 disc set
in wonderful, with a great array of extras, some
of which were lifted from the Anchor Bay release.
The Hills Have Eyes was nominated for a Saturn
Award for Best Horror Actor (Michael Berryman)
in 1978 by the Academy for Science Fiction, Fantasy
and Horror Films USA and Wes Craven was nominated
and won the 1978 Prize of International Critics'
Jury at the Catalonian International Film Festival
|The picture quality is pretty good, but is obviously
a film of the seventies. The Hills Have Eyes is
presented in a 16:9 widescreen transfer.
|There is the option of watching this film in either
5.1 or 2.0, both of which are perfectly clear.
|Disc 1: The Audio Commentary is with Wes Craven
and Peter Locke. There are some really great recollections
by the two, who more than once appear to be surprised
at what they can remember. Some of the stories
are repeated in the Looking Back at the Hills
Have Eyes documentary, but are great anyway.
There are the US and German trailers for the
There are also trailers for other Umbrella releases:
The American Nightmare, Zombie Holocaust, Zombie
Flesh Eaters and Eaten Alive
Disc 2: Looking Back on the Hills Have Eyes is
an excellent new documentary with interviews with
many associated with the film. Filmed in 2003,
this doco has brand new interviews with writer/
director Wes Craven, producer Peter Locke, actors
Michael Berryman (Pluto), Dee Wallace (Lynne Wood),
Janus Blythe (Ruby), Robert Houston (Bobby Carter),
Susan Lanier (Brenda Carter) and DP Eric Saarinen.
Any fans of Hills Have Eyes will really enjoy
this retrospective documentary.
Alternate Ending is just that, taking place in
the final moments of the film.
TV Spots has four advertisements for The Hills
Stills and Poster Gallery are a series of behind
the scenes photos and posters for the movie.
Storyboard Art is a series of storyboards for
the Hills Have Eyes, although on in this feature
the original title of Blood Relations is shown..
Horror Trailers contains for other Umbrella releases:
Dawn of the Dead, Suspiria, Last House on the
Left and Maniac.
|Most directors have one film that defines them,
but there are a few who are defined by several.
Wes Craven is one of these. The Hills Have
Eyes, along with Last House on
the Left and A Nightmare on Elm
Street have left such a powerful stain
on the movie experience that all of them are necessary
viewing, not just by the horror fan, but the cinema
lover in general. This two disc set of The
Hills Have Eyes is an indispensable element
in any horror collection. Next time you leave your
house, make sure you return with this film.