6.3/10
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218 user 110 critic

The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

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2:43 | Trailer
On the way to California, a family has the misfortune to have their car break down in an area closed to the public, and inhabited by violent savages ready to attack.

Director:

Wes Craven

Writer:

Wes Craven
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4,740 ( 1,733)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Suze Lanier-Bramlett ... Brenda Carter (as Susan Lanier)
Robert Houston ... Bobby Carter
Martin Speer ... Doug Wood
Dee Wallace ... Lynne Wood
Russ Grieve ... Big Bob Carter
John Steadman ... Fred
James Whitworth ... Jupiter
Virginia Vincent ... Ethel Carter
Lance Gordon ... Mars
Michael Berryman ... Pluto
Janus Blythe ... Ruby
Cordy Clark ... Mama
Brenda Marinoff Brenda Marinoff ... Katy
Peter Locke ... Mercury (as Arthur King)
Flora Flora ... Beauty
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Storyline

A family going to California accidentally goes through an Air Testing range closed to the public. They crash and are stranded in a desert. They are being stalked by a group of people, which have not emerged into modern times. Written by Paul Popiel <marekp@interlog.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Esta tranquila familia no quería matar... pero tampoco quería morir (Mexico) See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 July 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Blood Relations See more »

Filming Locations:

Apple Valley, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$230,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Dolby (Double Tension System) (Japan theatrical release)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer Peter Locke has a memorable cameo as Mercury, the imbecile-sounding gang member with the feathered head-dress who is only spotted twice throughout the film, firstly at Fred's garage and secondly communicating with Mars and Pluto using a USAF radio. See more »

Goofs

(at around 51 mins) After Mars pulls Pluto off of Brenda and throws him onto the trailer floor, Pluto's lips don't move when he says, "You son of a bitch!" See more »

Quotes

Big Bob Carter: Twenty-five years I'm a cop in the worst goddamn precinct in Cleveland. Niggers shoot arrows at me and the hillbillies throw dogs off the roofs at me and I'm even shot at on two separate occasions by my own men, but none of these bastards ever come as close to killing me as my own goddamn wife and her goddamn road maps and her wrong turns and her goddamn hysterical screaming and her...
Ethel Carter: Watch your language. And you watch your heart, too. You know what Dr. Springer said.
Big Bob Carter: Well, Dr. Springer can ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

Some Canadian VHS copies are missing most of the credits at the beginning. See more »

Connections

References Deliverance (1972) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Craven's first good movie is an integral part of the horror/grind-house/exploitation flicks of the 70's
17 March 2006 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

Made in a budget close to 300 to 400 thousand dollars (give or take a dollar), and shot in just several days in the desert with limited crew and actors, The Hills Have Eyes isn't really a stylistic masterpiece under such limitations like its twice removed cousin Texas Chain Saw Massacre (then again Wes Craven didn't have the visionary chops of Tobe Hooper). However watching it, even in the wee hours of 3 AM in the morning on TV, it was still quite the little entertaining good versus evil flick. The remake of it, which will be known to more perhaps than Craven's original (or more seen), has the bucks to claim its lot of gore and expanded production design. But with this film, we get just the bare bones, so to speak, of a mutant cannibal film, where a family of six (with two dogs aptly named Beauty and Beast, ho-ho), get railed off the road in the middle of a desert, and a creeping sense of doom as the night rolls around.

Craven puts together a cast of relative unknowns, but at the same time casts to type extremely well, with all of the family members (particularly the elder naive mother and bitter father) just right, and the mutant family (featuring the welcoming presence of Michael Berryman) with their names akin to planets, quite terrifying as well. There isn't much to their work, but there shouldn't be. This is the kind of film where you want the situation to just do what it can, and Craven doesn't get in the way save for a few tongue-in-cheek moments and some spots of gore. The moments of violence actually become somewhat more graphic than expected just by how fast they go or what isn't shown (apparently there's a X-rated cut that's out of existence). What's interesting too is how there's a little- not much but some- background on these mutant characters, the ties that bind this group of hungry maniacs together, with one perhaps not as twisted and remorseless as the others.

As I said, if you're looking for Craven's masterpiece you might not find it, as there are moments where the story and dialog kind of crack in their place. But I was in a nice grip of excitement as the story unraveled into its last half hour or so, with a few twists that, to me, rival over those in the new Aja remake. It's a gritty, strangely amusing shoe-string production that knows what it is and is just happy to be shown somewhere. At the least, it shows Craven growing a bit from his horrid days of Last House on the Left, pointing to his fresher ground of Nightmare on Elm Street. This is the kind of movie that every horror or 1970's drive-in fan should see once, and has rightfully had a place as a cult film for decades now. 7.5/10


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