The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
Director: Wes Craven
Main Stars: Suze Lanier-Bramlett, Robert Houston, John Steadman, Janus Blythe, Dee Wallace, James Whitworth, Michael Berryman, Robert Houston
Storyline: A family’s car breaks down on the way to Hollywood in the desert back lands. While they walk looking for help they get terrorizes by desert savages.
Review (Spoils): Before there was Wrong Turn there was The Hills Have Eyes which became a cult favourite and classic for horror. Wes Craven takes an American family on a journey in the desert that leads to death, torture and some redneck fun! We have the Carter family which the father is a retired cop and his wife is bit loony. Their children are a mixed bag Lynne (Dee Wallace)is married to a loser with a baby, Bobby (Robert Houston) is too attached to his dogs and has a weird relationship with his sister Brenda (Suze Lanier-Bramlett) who is cute but man her screaming can be massively annoying after a hour. After typical warnings from locals they still head into the off roads and lord behold they wreck the car (which is actually funny….really a map in the face?) and now they are stranded and lunch meat for the rednecks. The fun part about this film which is different and leads into a Texas Chainsaw Massacre type feel is the rednecks have some character background and are interesting. Lead by an axed faced madman named Jupiter (James Whitworth) and Mamma. Other main characters are the classic bald headed Pluto (Michael Berryman) and the cute but nasty teeth Ruby (Janus Blythe) who just wants to escape the savages and live a normal life. The film leads to some nasty dog bites, burnings, explosions and some good ol’ fashion knives and hatchets.
Rating: Similar feel as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre it does not sit on the gore side really it instead deals with the subject in hand, which a lot of films in this day in age in horror lack. Yes The Hills Have Eyes have some pretty painful parts (Bobby and Lynne’s husband are piss poor characters) but it was unique for it time and Wes Craven opened a lot of door for horror with this film. Plus it has Michael Berryman what’s not to love?