ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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The Hills Have Eyes (1978)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Wes Craven

Starring:
Susan Lanier/Brenda
Robert Houston/Bobby
Martin Speer/Doug
Dee Wallace-Stone/Lynne
5 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A bunny rabbit in the middle of the road interrupts a badly dressed family’s trip to California. They swerve the car to avoid the rabbit and crash their car/RV. Stranded in the middle of nowhere they now have to deal with a bunch of cannibal yo-yos who wants them for lunch. Should’ve thought of your family instead of some dumb rabbit.
THE LOWDOWN
Wes Craven’s second movie. It’s in the same league as Last House On The Left and Texas Chainsaw Massacre but without the balls. The flick is effective in where you have no idea which family member is gonna live or die. A few of the deaths actually disturbed me and that’s quite a feat. Apart from that the film plays out like a run of the mill thriller. Lots of running around, a few explosions, nothing really special. Craven goes the booby trap way again. He did it in Last House, did it in the first Nightmare and does it here too. It works.

I liked the way Craven incorporated one of the dogs into the mix. The dog is an active participant in the hunt for the cannibals and he’s pissed off.

What I had problems with was: Bobby’s reluctance to tell the rest of the family what’s going one. He sees something that kind of confirms that the family is in danger but he keeps it to himself for way too long. The other thing is the cannibal family. They tested my nerves many times, I just wanted them to die horrible deaths and fast. I’ve never been a big fan of dumb cannibals in movies. Seeing them dressed like crap, acting like savages, jumping around just pissed me off.

Craven also misses an opportunity to up the disturbing quotient of the film. At a certain point its obvious that Brenda is gonna get raped by one of those stinking cannibals. Well the scene goes on and it’s not really clear if she gets raped or not. All I saw was a lot of dry humping. A real rape scene would have shocked me, upped the anti on the characters motivation and unstable state of mind.

In the end this flick is an ok little thriller, a very simple one that delivers some goods. The ending is very abrupt and the scare factor is low but I’m sure you’ll find at least one thing to like…I did…
GORE
A gutted dog, a bird getting his head bit off, gun blasts…some.
ACTING
Susan Lanier (Brenda) is hot and the best dressed of the gang. She cries on Q but her scream is the most piercing thing this side of my mothers. I had to turn down the volume a bit…Robert Houston (Bobby) plays the back flipping brother well and at a certain point he carries the film. He does a good job. Martin Speer (Doug) looks like Sonny Bono and didn’t bring enough emotion to the part considering what happens to him. Dee Wallace-Stone (Lynne) does fine with what she has to do …not much but she radiates as always. Michael Berryman (Pluto) is just plain ugly here and it works…I hear in real life he’s a real nice guy. Special mention to Janus Blythe (Ruby) who played the only cannibal member that didn’t rub me the wrong way.
T & A
I was hoping Susan Lanier would drop her top…my prayers were not answered.
DIRECTING
I had trouble with the pacing of the film. It sometimes drags. The action sequences are well handled, some POV shots, some kool angles, a nice sunset but overall nothing great.
SOUNDTRACK
At first, the score is very subtle but then it blasts in full 70’s splendor…groovy…
BOTTOM LINE
See it cause its Craven’s second film, for some gnarly moments but don’t expect to be shocked or too disturbed. Maybe in those days it worked, but today the film’s rep doesn’t hold up. This is a watered down version of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I like more rum in my rum and coke.
BULL'S EYE
Based on the true story of the Sawney Bean family who cannibalized transients in 17th century Scotland.
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4:57PM on 02/01/2012

I enjoyed it.

I first seen this movie on BETA, when i was 13. I always seen covers of this movie in my local video store but always in french. I finally track it down in English and on BETA. I thought this was a creepy, well made, darkly humourous B movie.

I did have the original Anchor Bay DVD and now i have the new Blu-ray from Entertainment One from Canada. Sure, the video transfer wasn't great early on the movie but it improves. It includes all the special features from Anchor Bay 2-Disc Set including
I first seen this movie on BETA, when i was 13. I always seen covers of this movie in my local video store but always in french. I finally track it down in English and on BETA. I thought this was a creepy, well made, darkly humourous B movie.

I did have the original Anchor Bay DVD and now i have the new Blu-ray from Entertainment One from Canada. Sure, the video transfer wasn't great early on the movie but it improves. It includes all the special features from Anchor Bay 2-Disc Set including the very humourous commentary by Director Craven and Producer Peter Locke and the excellent documentary of the movie.

The movie still holds well today, thanks some solid shocks and some very memorable moments of black comedy. Alexandre Aja's remake might be better for most audiences today. Since his remake was good also but lacked humour.

Depending on your point of view. I enjoyed both the original and remake. For the original, i enjoyed it for the black comedy and a few good shock moments and Aja's remake is enjoyable for its visual style, music score, make-up effects and solid acting.
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