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Review: HHE The Beginning

07.06.2007by: Ammon Gilbert

In 2006, director Alexandre Aja gave us a ride like no other with his remake of Wes Craven’s 1978 ‘classic’ THE HILLS HAVE EYES. I say ‘classic’ because, while it came from Craven, it had plenty of issues and honestly, was one of the few flicks in recent years that actually warranted a remake. Aja’s HILLS HAVE EYES was a brutally grotesque adventure into horror and torture, giving us a cast of baddies like we haven’t seen before. Cannibalistic mutated freaks with a hunger for tourists and babies. Just thinking about them gives me the creeps.

It’s no surprise that a HILLS HAVE EYES 2 was cranked out a year later, and while it was nothing compared to Aja’s vision, it did give us more of those creepy freaks who call the atomic hills of New Mexico home. In comes Fox Atomic (who released part 2) with their brand new line of comic book movie tie-ins, as their latest comic adventure takes what we fell in love with in THE HILLS HAVE EYES, and attempts to show us where these freaks came from and why they’re the crazy bastards that we know today. Behold… THE HILLS HAVE EYES: THE BEGINNING!

The Beginning

HHE: THE BEGINNING, as the title suggests, really does take it from the beginning, when the sleepy little town was ordered to clear out by the U.S. government so they could test their atomic bombs. Least to say the townsfolk weren’t just going to leave, but after attacks from the U.S. soldiers after dark, they’re forced to leave… heading to the hills for refuge.

A few years (and atomic blasts) later, the government leaves and the townsfolk return to their sleepy little town, a town that hardly changed… except that it’s filled with radiation. The first round of townies seem unaffected, but when the town’s leader becomes pregnant and births a severely deformed baby, they begin to suspect something’s wrong. Human paranoia and unbiased hatred sets in against the deformed baby and mom, forcing them – and others born after – to the hills to live the rest of their days. After a few years, a community of mutated freaks is formed, all out for vengeance against the U.S. military that initially forced they out of town, and the ‘regular’ townsfolk who turned their backs and banished their own kind away like garbage.

In comes the mayhem, the nice little ‘tourist trap’ they have going, the onslaught of military interference and the mutated freaks being pissed off at the world and taking it out on everyone… except themselves. To me, this was the perfect sort of ‘beginning’ tale, as it not only told the story from the very beginning, but it brought it up into the events of the two films, then beyond and into the future. It also managed to do something that the films were unable to accomplish: evoked sympathy towards the mutants, and made me realize they weren’t that bad after all- just angry and misunderstood. Is that a good thing? Probably not in the movie contexts, but as the comic is told from the mutant point of view, it totally works here!

The artwork by John Higgins reminded me of the TALES FROM THE CRYPT comics of the 1960s, as they’re well drawn and normal on one end, and totally disgusting on the other. I wouldn’t want to have seen their world any other way! The end of the comic has a section of ‘Sketches’ from Higgins, as he talks about the step by step process of doing the artwork for a piece like this- pretty cool section, especially if you’re into art, comics, or both! The final section is on ‘Promotional Art’, featuring a few pieces of art from a variety of artists that were up for either the cover or the advertising. Like the realistic cover that was chosen, the selections of art here were quite impressive, and basically tied the whole BEGINNING together.

The Outcome

If you’re a fan of THE HILLS HAVE EYES, then THE BEGINNING is for you! With its stylistic artwork and killer storyline documenting them crazed cannibalistic mutants from… well, the very beginning, it gave a whole new dimension to the HILLS universe that the films just haven’t touched on. While I don’t think another movie would do the series any good, more entries like this in the future would definitely be welcome. While it wasn’t perfect, it accomplished what it was going for and in the end, I enjoyed the hell out of it. Lots of action, revenge, gory retribution and yes… even a bit of heart- add that all up, and you have yourselves one wild ride, and a comic worthy enough to be called THE BEGINNING.

Rating: 3 Out of 4 Stars

Click Here to Order THE BEGINNING

Source: AITH

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