The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2 (1985) *

Wes Craven returned eight years later to direct this sequel to his 1977 classic. It’s only 85 minutes long, but if you subtracted the time for flashbacks, credits and the opening narration, it would only be about 75. Even then it would be too damn long. This thing is padded with more flashbacks than you can shake a stick at. Even Beast, the dog from the first movie has a flashback. Yes a DOG has a flashback. I’m sorry but once you’ve seen the sight of a canine having a flashback, you can’t possibly be expected to buy what happens in the next hour.

Bobby Houston briefly returns from the first film to relate a flashback to his psychiatrist and set up the plot. He’s invented some sort of “super formula fuel” for motorcycles so a group of his dirt bike riding friends head out cross country to a bike race to sell it. (We almost get to see Houston cash his paycheck and leave.) Of course the teens take a shortcut through the desert and get stalked by more mutant cannibals.

The biggest problem with the movie is that whereas the first film was effective in it’s portrayal of a family coming together under dire circumstances; the sequel features the usual assortment of annoying teens and stereotypical black characters. (Even the 2006 remake was smart enough to maintain the family dynamic of the original.) You may have seen irritating kids in horror movies before, but these kids will grate on your damn nerves. If it isn’t the idiotic dirt bike riding kids that will drive you nuts, the blind chick with supernatural hearing (Honestly this chick could give Daredevil a run for his money.) will. All the teens are dumbfucks whose only purpose is to get killed. They aren’t even convincing doing that. The ones that do survive have to rely on Beast to save them, and considering this is 8 years after the first movie, Beast has aged 56 years in dog years and is probably getting too little old for this shit. Oh and if you thought that Bobby’s “super formula fuel” will somehow figure into the climax and blow somebody up, you guessed right.

This was a big comedown from the original and coming off the heels of arguably Craven’s greatest picture, A Nightmare on Elm Street, it’s even more disappointing and started off his post Nightmare slide that continued next with Deadly Friend. The movie reeks of someone trying to make a fast buck and seems more in line with a Dimension Studios direct to DVD sequel than an honest to goodness sequel from a master of horror.

Michael Berryman once again plays Pluto the bald headed mutant who now leads the family. (He miraculously survived his Achilles being ripped out by Beast in the first film.) In the original, his bald bulking stature was scary and intense. In this one, all bets are off as soon as he opens his mouth and tries to speak dialogue. Also the mutants attacks in the original were well organized assaults that left the family (and the audience) reeling. This time the killers just kinda pick everyone off one by one or rely on booby traps. The scene where Pluto steals a motorbike and the teens give chase on their bikes using the super fuel is hilarious. The new member of the family “Reaper” is an unintentionally goofy lumbering lug who isn’t scary in the least. Janus Blythe also returns as the reformed member of the cannibal tribe who’s now stalked by her mutated siblings and co-star Kevin Blair was later in Friday the 13th Part VII. Speaking of Friday, this whole movie owes more to a bad Friday rip-off than a sequel to The Hills Have Eyes. And composer Harry Manfredini’s music sounds exactly like his score from Friday the 13th. I’m not kidding.

Houston also edited/directed the American version of Shogun Assassin.
Tags: craven, h, horror, sequel
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