Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

Director: Wes Craven

Starring: John Steadman, Janus Blythe, Peter Locke, Russ Grieve, Virginia Vincent, Susan Lanier, Dee Wallace, Brenda Marinoff, Robert Houston, Martin Speer, James Whitworth, Michael Berryman

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The lucky ones died first...

Plot: While traveling in a trailer through the desert to California, the retired detective Big Bob Carter stops in an isolated gas station with his family for fueling and rest. Bob is traveling with his wife Ethel, his son Bobby, his daughters Brenda and Lynn and his son-in-law and Lynn's husband Doug and their daughter baby Katy. When they leave the gas station, the owner advises Bob to stay in the main road. However, the stubborn driver takes a shortcut through a nuclear testing site and wrecks his station wagon. With the family stranded in the middle of nowhere, Bob and Doug walk on the road trying to find some help. Bob is captured by an insane and sadistic member of a deranged evil family that lives nearby the spot. Doug returns to the trailer, and along the night the Carter family is attacked by a group of psychotic cannibal criminals. Absolutely trapped by the murderers, they have to fight to survive.

My raging: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Sure.

#215 on Drive-In Delirium Volume 1 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

I saw this a few years ago for the first time and I really liked it then. Now, after a second viewing, it’s diminished a bit. I really dig this flick except for one thing – the freaks that live in the hills. I’m sick and fucking tired of these types of killers movies. Thankfully in this picture they’re not full retards but only partial. Maybe that’s too strong of a word. They’re probably in a state of arrested development. I’m certainly not going to spend any time trying to analyze it. I don’t like the way they look, either, with their animal pelts (over regular clothes, mind you, which would be perfectly fine except nothing says ‘crazy recluse people’ like wearing dead animals) and bone/teeth necklaces. I know this movie tones it down more than most but it still aggravates me.

I REALLY dig how the characters on both sides are dispensed with. That and the setup and atmosphere are the main draw for me. It’s good enough to put up with the freakazoids more than I normally would. And how about that ending, huh? It’s got to be one of the most abrupt closes ever. It reminded me of so many of the chop socky flicks out of Hong Kong in the 1970s, the ones that did a freeze frame on the final blow to the bad guy. I’ve heard good things about 2006 remake and I am interested in seeing Craven’s own 1985 sequel despite the poor rep it has. Regardless, I'm sure they have ridiculously dressed idiotic, childish killers.

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