We’re finally here. The holy day of Halloween. Like I do every year, I always save an extra special choice for this holy day. This year, I bring to you the 1977 Wes Craven classic, The Hills Have Eyes. Man, Wes Craven must have been going through some major issues in the 70’s, because you don’t just write and direct both Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes if things are going wonderful. These flicks must have taken an extreme toll on him. Either that, or they were scarily cathartic. If it was the latter, then I fear even more what he was going through that led him to these movies. Because these flicks are dread central. For those unaware, The Hills Have Eyes follows a family that is driving cross country toward California and ends up crashing and stranded in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in the barren desert landscape of the southwest. While the father heads one direction looking for help, and the son-in-law heads the other, the rest of the family is left stranded in their camper-trailer. Unlucky for them, the just happen to be stranded smack in the middle of a hunting ground for a family of practically Neanderthalic cannibals that live in the wasteland, scrounging for anything they can. This gang of Mad Max family members know nothing but to kill and eat, and kill and eat they do. This movie is brutal. It’s so utterly visceral, you can smell the filthy and sweaty family through the screen. But there’s one key reason why the stakes of this movie seem higher than other flicks of this ilk — it’s all about family. The killers are all about family. And worse, the victims are all one family. Whenever teenagers or friends are picked off one by one, you feel for them, but they’re not related. Here, when one member of the family is brutally crucified and lit on fire, the reactions of the other family members ring that much truer. This movie is one gut punch after another. There’s even a certain understanding of the ruthlessness of the killer family as well, which makes it that much more conflicting. Then you throw a baby in the mix, and well, the stakes just got that much higher. There’s a reason why this one is a classic. It’s one of a kind, and Wes Craven’s own brand of brutality is definitely on display here. If you haven’t seen it before, do yourself a favor and check it out… if you can handle it.
Well, that does it for 2019’s list. As always it’s been a blast. Although remember, just because October is over, it doesn’t mean your horror movie viewing has to stop. Horror movies are a year round thing. October is just your daily reminder.
Peace out, friends. Until 2020.