DVD REVIEW

"THE HILLS HAVE EYES "



(1977)

Starring:Susan Lanier, Robert Houston, Martin Speer, Dee Wallace, Russ Grieve, John Steadman, Michael Berryman, Virginia Vincent and James Whitworth as jupiter.

Written and Directed By: Wes Craven.

"Just keep telling yourself it's only a film it's only a film..."


DVD Information
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment
Disc 1:
16 x 9 Enhanced of aspect ratio 1:85.1 - Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX - DTS-ES 6.1 Surround - Audio Commentary By Wes Craven and Producer Peter Locke
Disc 2:
Documentary: Looking Back On The Hills Have Eyes - Documentary: The Directors: The Films Of Wes Craven - Alternative Ending - Theatrical Trailers - T.V. Spots - Behind the Scenes Photos - Posters and Advertising Art - Original Story Boards - Wes Craven Bio - DVD-ROM: Original Screenplay - DVD-ROM: Screen Savers.
Ratings: Movie= Picture= Sound=

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The Carters are an all American family who are traveling through the desert to California. When they stop for gas in a small southwestern town, the attendant Jupiter,(Whitworth) warns the couple not to stray from the main road. He cautions the family that it is not safe for them to be traveling through the remote desert alone, very far from civilization. But like in any good horror flick, the family ignores the warning from the strange old man.
While traveling on the abandoned road they find themselves in the mist of a military Air Force testing area. As the large aircrafts pass just overhead Mr.Carter(Houston) panics and crashes the car. Suddenly they find themselves stranded in the burning hot desert, but they are not alone. Watching from the hills is a very odd group of inbred cannibalistic subhumans who acquire a taste for the human flesh.
As the sun sets the family's worst nightmare is about to begin. Strange animal like sounds are first heard which is followed by gruesome attack on this wholesome family. Trapped in this wasteland ruled by monstrous savages, the fight is on. In this bizarre world who will become the most shocking savages of all?

"The Hills Have Eyes", is Wes Cravens follow up to the very disturbing, "The Last House on the Left". This time around Wes Craven relied on less blood and left more to the imagination. The tension quickly builds when the family first become stranded and the victims of this cannibalistic clan. When Pluto(Berryman) picks up the baby and say's "Baby's fat....you fat...fat and juicy."...."We just caught us a young Thanksgiving Turkey", was terrrfiying . Followed by Rape, gunfire, a slaughtered dog and a victim set a blaze, never before did I want the victims to strike back. This cult favorite of mine still remains to be just a terrifying as it was back then. Compared to such fright films such as "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Last House on the Left", "The Hills Have Eyes"remains to be a cult horror favorite of many.
Audio Clip

Now available for the first time ever on DVD by Anchor Bay Home Entertainment, as a 2 DVD Disc set.
Before i get into the all the great extras included in this set let me give you my thoughts on the image. I am a bit disappointed with this films picture quality, though it is very understandable that a film photographed on 16mm would look as presented here, I compare this transfer to MGM's DVD of Craven's "Last House.." DVD which also had been filmed on 16mm.
The image to "Hills.. seems to suffer a great deal of grain but most of all color loss. The "Last House.." DVD also contained understandable grain but looked much more cleaner and colorful than "Hills.." and "Last House.." is an older film.
On the 2nd disc Anchor Bay provides a screen comparison of a before and after of the restoration for "Hills..." and you can see a lot of dirt speckles and wear had been cleaned up. As for the dark and color levels they seem to remain the same. I can say this is the best this film has ever looked on home video, but wish that better film elements were available, but probably this may be the best.
The sound is what I expected it to be, nothing spectacular as in any film re-mastered from 1.0 to 5.1, But it's clear and crisp, with some rear channel activity.
Now the great extras!
included on disc 1 is a fill length running commentary with director Wes Craven and producer Peter Locke.
Disc 2 features 2 very good documentary's. "Looking Back On The Hills Have Eyes" this brand new 60min documentary features interviews with Wes Craven, Peter Locke, cast members: Dee Wallace, Michael Berryman, Susan Lanier, Janus Blythe, Robert Houston and Director of Photography Eric Saarinen. The second documentary "Directors: The Films Of Wes Craven" is older, but very entertaining.
This 60 min feature includes interviews with Wes and the actors that have appeared in his films, including Adrienne Barbeau, Courteney Cox, Neve Campbell, Robert Englund, Mitch Pileggi, Bill Pullman, Meryl Streep, David Arquette, Kristy Swanson and Ray Wise.
Also included on this disc are the film extras:
An Alternative Ending, Theatrical Trailers, Behind the Scenes Photos, Posters and Advertising Art. DVD-ROM features: Full Original Screenplay and 2 different Screen Savers (I liked the 2nd one best).
Anchor Bay has put together a very nice special edition here and if anything the extras alone are worth the retail price.
This is a must have for Craven fans!

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