Entertainment » Movies

The Hills Have Eyes 2

by Sam Cohen
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Sep 17, 2019
The Hills Have Eyes 2

Wes Craven was in a bit of creative and financial rut back in 1984. "The Last House on the Left" and "The Hills Have Eyes" may have paved his way to get a proper budget and studio backing on his following projects, but those films weren't anywhere close to the commercial success he needed to still work in Hollywood. Both 1981's "Deadly Blessing" and 1982's "Swamp Thing" released to tepid reviews and made little money. So, he went back to the well and came out with his first sequel, titled "The Hills Have Eyes Part 2." It went direct to video and only played briefly in theaters. It received unanimously negative reviews and was shot so cheaply that production had to cease when they ran out of money.

In a new making-of doc titled "Blood, Sand and Fire: The Making of "The Hills Have Eyes Part 2," multiple cast and crew members aren't afraid to add onto the dogpile of negative critical reactions, but the stories they tell about Craven's approach to the film and clear distaste for the project speaks lengths to why the film truly doesn't work. If "The Hills Have Eyes" was about upsetting the family unit and deploying Craven's own sense of what should be construed as predator vs. prey, "The Hills Have Eyes Part 2" is the fairly maligned sequel with not much on its mind but setting up some nubile teenagers for 86 minutes of bloodletting. Yet, there's still some worth to the proceedings, particularly in how Craven's main heroine is a blind, sexually empowered, and clairvoyant young woman - a hallmark he'll go on to define more in his more popular works.

It's been seven years since a family of cannibals descended upon the Carter family. Bobby Carter (Robert Houston) suffers from severe trauma from the event but is happy with his not-cannibal-but-now-normal wife Rachel, a.k.a. Ruby (Janus Blythe). Bobby has invented a type of motorcross super fuel that will defeat the competition in this year's race. Unfortunately, the race is set to take place in the same desert where his family was brutally murdered. Rachel agrees to travel with their biker team to the destination, only to break down unexpectedly. Now the team of bikers and Rachel must fend off Pluto (Michael Berryman) and The Reaper (John Bloom), the brother of Papa Jupiter from the first film.

"The Hill Have Eyes Part 2" is barely a movie, intercutting flashbacks from the first film to pad the runtime. And when the story is focused on the present, it's really just Pluto and The Reaper chasing kids around for an hour. While that may sound fine to some, there's a rudderless quality here that doesn't aid Craven's usually ingenuity. But for those still interested in the film, this new limited edition Blu-ray from Arrow Video is not only the definitive home release of one of Craven's worst, but it also has plenty of special features to please the most ardent horror fans. The new 2K restoration does look good, even though it does really show off how chintzy the project ending up being. Special features include:

• Audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues
• Stills gallery
• Original theatrical trailer
• 6 postcards
• Reversible fold-out poster
• Limited Edition 40-page booklet with new writing on the film by Amanda Reyes and an archival set visit from Fangoria

"The Hills Have Eyes Part 2"

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