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The Hills Have Eyes (2006 film)

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Unfinished
The Hills Have Eyes
200px-The Hills Have Eyes film
The lucky ones die first
Directed By
Alexandre Aja
Produced By
  • Wes Craven
  • Peter Locke
  • Mariana Maddalena
  • Cody Zwieg
Written By

Alexandre Aja

Grégory Levasseur
Cast

Aaron Stanford Kathleen Quinton Vinessa Shaw Emillie de Ravin Dan Ryrd Robert Joy

Ted Levine
Music By

Tomandandy

François-Eudes Chanfrault
Cinematography
Maxime Alexandre
Editing By
Baxter

Produced By

Dune Entertainment

Major Studio Partners
Distributed By
Fox Searchlight Industries
Release Date(s)
March 10, 2006
Runtime
106 minutes
Country
United States
Language
English
Budget
$ 15 million
Gross
$ 69,623,713
Preceded By
Followed by

The Hills Have Eyes is the 2006 Remake  of Wes Craven's 1977 film The Hills Have Eyes. This action horror film was written by French filmmaking partners Alex Written by filmmaking partners Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur, known for the French horror film Haute Tension (High Tension in the United States). Aja also took the director's chair. Like the original, the films follows a family on a vacation trip. After being tricked by a gas pump owner, they are trapped by a group of mutants who wants nothing more then kill and eat the men and mate with the women.

The film saw it's theatrical release, in the United States and United Kingdom on March 10, 2006. It made $15.5 million at the box office in the opening weekend, in the U.S. alone. Originally it was rated NC-17, for strong gruesome violence but later edited down to an R-Rated film. The unrated version was later released on DVD, on June 20, 2006. On March 23, 2007, a sequel was released in theatres: The Hills Have Eyes 2.

PlotEdit

The opening scene of a film depicts a group of scientists in the desert. Their lifes is cut short by a mutant named Pluto. A few years later, a family travels from Cleveland, Ohio to San Diego, they drive through the desert. The group consists of Ethel and Bob Carter, their daughters Lynn and Brenda and their son Bobby. They are accompagnonied by Lynn's husband, Doug Bukowski and their baby Catherine. The family also brought the dogs with them for the trip, two German Shepherds, named Beauty and Beast.

During their trip, they visits a petrol station for some gas. The Petrol Station attendant, Fred fills up their tank and tells them about a shortcut. But quickly this turns out to be a terrible decision as the tyres are punctured by hidden barber wire trap on the road. Bob volunteers to get back to the petrol station for a tow truck while Beauty runs outside. As she runs into the hills, Bobby has to chases after her. After searching for a while, he is horrified to find her carcass. In shock, he runs off but ends up slipping and falls, causing him to lose conscious. His unconscious body is found by Ruby, who is intrigued by the boy. Her brother Goggle is more interested in the dog and starts chewing on the remains of the dog. Meanwhile Bob reaches the petrol station that appears to be abandon. He finds Fred, in the outside restroom. Fred is hysterical and cries that he can no longer do it. Before Bob can discover what is going on, Fred commits suicide by shooting himself in the face with a shotgun. This frightens bob who flees from the site only to be attacked by a mutant, Papa Jupiter, the leader of the mutant horde. Jupiter carries Bob to the mining caves, the home of the Mutants. Jupiters is accompagnioned by fellow mutants Lizard and Pluto.

When Bobby awakes, he returns to the car. He lies about Beauty and tells he didn't found the dog, instead of telling the truth about how he found her carcass. At night, Pluto attacks the family and sneaks in the trailer. Inside he tries to rape Brenda. The family is led outside, as Bob is screaming,tied to a tree. Moments later, the tree is set on fire, burning Bob alive. Doug tries to save his father-in-law and unties him but the Bob is already dead by then. As the family is in shock, a second mutant breaks in the trailer. Lizard throws Pluto off and rapes Brenda himself. Lynn flees back inside the trailer, only to be greeted by the mutant duo. The duo holds Brenda and baby Catherine. Lizard attacks Lynn and tears her blouse, removes her bra and starts drinking milk from her breasts. Ethel tries to save her daughter and attempts to pulverize Lizard. This fails as Lizard shoots her. But as he shot Ethel, Lynn fights back and stabs his leg with a screwdriver, causing excrusiating pain. The mutant retaliates and shoots her non-chalantly through the head, killing her. As the gun is out of bullets, Lizard and Pluto have to flee but take the baby with them.

Doug and Bobby eventually return to the trailer, only to discover the bodies of their loved ones. Unbeknownst to them, Goggle is spying on them. Beast finds him and attacks him, ending up with ripping open the throat of the mutant; killing him. The dog tears off his arm, which is still holding Goggle's Walkie-Talkie. Beast brings the arm back to the Carter family, together with the Walkie-Talkie. The next morning, Doug sets out to get his daughter back and take revenge on the mutants. In his pursuit, he finds himself in an abandoned village. He enters a house after he hears the sound of a baby crying. He finds her in the house inhabitated by a female mutant named Big Mama who watching television. He managed to sneak past her but is uncovered with the baby Catherine after the mutant seeing his reflection in the screen of the television Quickly he is knocked out by her, using a frying pan. He wakes up in an icebox, filled with human body parts but without his daughter. Trying to find her once more, after freeing himself, he stumbles upon Big Brain, an immobile mutant who tells him the story of the mutant clans. They were mineworkers living in this very village and forced to leave after the US. government had decided they would do nuclear tests in the area. Some of the town people abandoned the village but some fled to the mines and believed to be saved. The fallout of the nuclear testings, resulted in severe mutations instead. The story is cut short as Pluto attacks him with a fire axe, dismembering two fingers. Doug manages to distract Pluto and stabs his foot with a screwdriver strapped to his belt. As the mutant screams in agony, Doug impales his throat with a U.S. flag before finishing him off with a blow to the head, with the axe.

Big Brain starts screaming and lures other mutants to the scene. Cyst is the first to show up but Doug surprises him outside, killing him with Pluto's axe. Big Brain's yelling is ended after Beast attacked the immobile mutant and killes him. The murder on his siblings, drives Lizard to grab a cleaver and kill the baby. But as he is going to strike he discovers that someone have replaced Catherine with a pig. The culprits turns out to be Ruby who flee to the hills with the child. This act of betrayal is something Lizard can't let pass and he goes after her. Doug chases after them both, to get his child back. At the trailer, Papa Jupiter has taken the body of Ethel into the hills. The remaining Carter children boobytrap the trailer, filling it with propane gas and using the sulfuric strip of a match box and some matches as a makeshift ignition switch. Bobby goes after Papa Jupiter and finds him devouring his mother's heart. He manages to get the attention of Jupiter and he pursues Bobby to the trailer. After a small chase scene through the trailer; Bobby binds Jupiter's hand to a window, trapping him. With the mutant inside, Bobby escapes the trailer and activate the boobytrap, causing the trailer to explode as he and his sister escape the inferno.

In the hills, Doug finally catches up with Ruby and almost convinces her to give him his daughter. Lizard appears and attacks them before Ruby can give Doug the child. The mutant is armed with a spike strip and hits his several times, apparently knocking him out. Believing to be victorious, Lizard goes to the little traitor but is hit by Doug's shotgun who starts beating with the gun and shoots him 3 times. Ruby gives him his child but behind Doug, Lizard stands up. Before Doug can react, Ruby throws herself at Lizard, pushing him over the edge and plunging them over a cliff. In this act of self-sacrifice, she prevents Lizard from shooting Doug and Catherine. In the wreckage of the trailer, Bobby and Brenda discover that Papa Jupiter had survived the explosion, but is impaled. Brenda ends him life with a pickaxe, before spotting Doug with Catherine and Beast. Being cheerful of haveing survived the ordeal, unbeknownst to the foursome, a pair of anonymous binoculars watches from the hills.

CastEdit

  • Aaron Stanford as Doug Bukowski
  • Kathleen Quinlan as Ethel Carter
  • Shaw as Lynn Carter-Bukowski
  • Emilie de Ravin as Brenda Carter
  • Dan Byrd as Bobby Carter
  • Tom Bower as Fred
  • Billy Drago as Papa Jupiter
  • Robert Joy as Lizard
  • Ted Levine as "Big" Bob Carter
  • Desmond Askew as Big Brain
  • Ezra Buzzington as Goggle
  • Michael Bailey Smith as Pluto
  • Laura Ortiz as Ruby
  • Maisie Camilleri Preziosi as Catherine Bukowski
  • Ivana Turchetto as Big Mama
  • Maxime Giffard as First Victim
  • Judith Jane Vallette as Venus
  • Adam Perrell as Mercury

List of DeathsEdit

List of deaths in the film, The Hills Have Eyes

Name Cause of Death Killer On Screen Notes
Beauty (Dog) Disembowlement: having it intestines pulled from the belly. Goggle No Carcass was later found
Fred Severe Head Trauma/Decapitation: shot through the head with a shotgun Fred Yes Suicide
Bob Carter Immolation: Burned alive, while tied to a tree Papa Jupiter Yes
Ethel Carter Shot with a handgun Lizard Yes
Lynn Carter-Bukowski Severe Head Trauma: Shot through the head with a handgun Lizard Yes
Goggle Exsanguination/Mauling: got his throat ripped open by a dog Beast (Dog) Yes
Pluto Impalement/Head Trauma: got his neck impaled with an American flag, before being finished with an axe to the head Doug Bukowski Yes
Cyst Exsanguination: Hit with an axe. Doug Bukowski Yes
Big Brain Mauling: Attacked by a dog Beast (Dog) No
Lizard Falling Ruby Yes
Ruby Falling Ruby Yes Suicide/Self-sacrifice
Papa Jupiter Impalement: got impaled by a pickaxe Brenda Carter Yes Papa Jupiter survived the caravan exploding, and his initial impalement.

ProductionEdit

Wes Craven, director and writer of the original film, considered a remake after he saw the success of other horror remakes such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre  and The Amityville Horror. The search then began for filmmakers to helm the project. Marianne Maddalena, Craven's long time producing partner, came across Alexandre Aja and his art director/collaborator Grégory Levasseur who had previously made the French slasher film Haute Tension. After showing the film to Craven and the rest of the production crew, they were impressed with the pair. Craven comments that they "demonstrated a multi-faceted understanding of what is profoundly terrifying" and "After viewing the film and then meeting the film makers, I knew I wanted to work with them. Aja and Levasseur then began to re-write the story in what is the pair's first American production.

Director Aja and art director Grégory Levasseur chose not to film in the original's filming location of Victorville, California, and instead scouted many locations for filming including Namibia, South Africa, New Mexico and Mexico. The two settled on Ouarzazate in Morocco, which was also known as "the gateway to the Sahara Desert".

The film is set in New Mexico, and strongly implies that a large number of atmospheric nuclear weapon tests were performed in that state. In fact, the only atmospheric nuclear detonation in New Mexico was the Trinity test, the first test of a nuclear device conducted on July 16, 1945. The United States carried out most of its atmospheric nuclear weapons tests at the Nevada Test Site and in the Marshall_Islands at the lagoons of Bikini] and Eniwetok between 1946 and 1962. The theatrical poster shows Vinessa Shaw's character laying down with a mutant hand on her face.

EffectsEdit

Prior to filming, Aja and Levasseur had already conceived an idea for the mutants' appearance. "We based all our descriptions and directions on real documents, pictures and footage that we found on the effects of nuclear fallout in Chernobyl and  Hiroshima", explains Aja. The Hills Have Eyes utilized the K.N.B. EFX Group Inc. who had done previous work on films such as The Chronicles of Narnia (for which an Academy Award was nominated and Sin City]

K.N.B. spent over six months designing the mutants, first using 3D designer tools, such as ZBrush, allowing them to use a computer to generate their sculptures. After prosthetics were made, they could be fitted to the actors before filming. Robert Joy, who plays the mutant Lizard, explained, "Every day, these amazing artists took more than three hours to transform me into something that could only be found in a nightmare."

K.N.B. artist Gregory Nicotero was also made a cameo as Cyst, the mutant with the halo head-gear.

Jamison Goei and his team, who had done previous work on Hellraiser: Hellseeker and Halloween: Resurrection, had done over 130 visual effects for the film. A large part of that was digitally constructing the testing village, which in actuality was only one built street with others digitally added. The team also warped the mutant's faces slightly, which is shown mostly in the character of Ruby.

Papa Jupiter displays no deformities. However, as shown in "The Making Of", Papa Jupiter appears to have a large parasitic twin attached to his upper left torso. The young children of the film had their deformities added by CGI, with the exception of Ruby, who had a combination of CGI and makeup.

CastingEdit

The casting process began with the selection of The Silence of the Lambs Ted Levine as the character Big Bob.Levine was also a fan of the film Haute Tension. Afterwards, Kathleen Quinlan was cast as Ethel in her first role starring in a horror film (despite appearing in Twilight Zone: The Movie and Event Horizon. Next, Aaron Stanford was cast as Doug Bukowski who "undergoes the most radical transformation of anyone in the Carter family". Stanford even asked not to see any of the mutants in make-up before his character's battle in the testing village so, that way, he'd be truly frightened. When casting Lynn, Doug's wife, Aja wanted to cast Vinessa Shaw whom he had wanted to work with since seeing her in Stanley Kubrick's 1999 film Eyes Wide Shut. Shaw was hesitant to play the role, but after watching Haute Tension, she agreed, explaining: "There was such an odd combination of beauty and terror, it felt almost like an art film. So, after meeting with Alex and Greg, I decided to do it." For the role of Brenda, the filmmakers sought a young actress who had relatively little exposure and found it in Emilie de Ravin who was beginning her rise in the television series Lost. After de Ravin, [Dan Byrd] was cast as Bobby. Byrd had previous genre experience starring in Salem's Lot. Aja then had the six actors arrive in the filming location of Morocco early to bond together.

When casting for the mutants, associate producer Cody Zwieg explained: "We needed to find actors who could not only perform the stunt work, handle the extensive makeup and perform in that makeup, but who truly could embody the fierce, primal nature of the mutants' way of life." To play the role of Pluto, Aja looked to Michael Bailey Smith, who had been in A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. For Lizard, the filmmakers cast Robert Joy, who had made previous genre films such as Amityville 3-D and George A. Romero's Land of the Dead. Ezra Buzzington, impressed with the filmmakers, agreed to play the role of Goggle and even watched a documentary about human cultures engaging in cannibalism. To play the mutant leader, Billy Drago was cast. Drago had previously had a role in Brian De Palma's The Untouchables and other horror features. The most difficult mutant to cast was Ruby, who was a "touch of sweetness to the madness of the mutants.Laura Ortiz was ultimately cast, making her film debut.

ReleaseEdit

Box officeEdit

The Hills Have Eyes was a commercial success, playing in total 2,521 theaters and taking in its opening weekend $15,708,512. The film grossed $41,778,863 in the United States Box Office and $69,770,032 worldwide.


Critical receptionEdit

Critical reception was mixed with an average critic "Rotten" rating of 49% on Rotten Tomatoes and a critical consensus stating "Faster paced for today's audiences, this Hills remake ratchets up the gore for the hardcore horror fans, but will turn away casual audiences." The Washington Post said: "this remake of the alleged 1977 Wes Craven classic has one very disturbing quality: It's too damned good.Some have gone on to refer to the film as torture porn.Bloody Disgusting, however, was scathing of those who referred to it as such, saying "some may call it “Torture porn” - these people are idiots". Roger Ebert also gave a negative review, mentioning that the characters in the film are not familiar with horror movie, and went on to cite that the film should have focused more on the characters rather than the violence, saying "The Hills Have Eyes finds an intriguing setting in 'typical' fake towns built by the government [...] But its mutants are simply engines of destruction. There is a misshapen creature who coordinates attacks with a walkie-talkie; I would have liked to know more about him, but no luck."


AwardsEdit

  • Spike TV's Scream Awards
    • Nominated: Ultimate Scream
    • Nominated: Best Horror Movie
    • Nominated: Best Sequel
    • Nominated: Best Remake
    • Nominated: Most Memorable Mutilation (Suicide by Shotgun)


SoundtrackEdit

The soundtrack score was composed by Tomandandy Track listing - US Edition

  1. Leave the Broken Hearts - The Finalist
  2. Blue Eyes Woman - The Go
  3. Highway Kind - Moot Davis
  4. Summers Gonna Be My Girl - The Go
  5. More and More - Webb Pierce
  6. The Walls - Vault
  7. In the Valley of the Sun - Buddy Stuart
  8. Daisy - Wires on Fire
  9. California Dreamin' - The Mamas and the Papas
  10. Forbidden Zone
  11. Gas Haven
  12. Out House
  13. Praying
  14. Beauty
  15. Ravens
  16. Daddy Daddy
  17. Beast Finds Beauty
  18. Trailer
  19. Aftermath
  20. Ethel's Death
  21. Next Morning
  22. Mine
  23. Village Test
  24. Breakfast Time
  25. Play with Us
  26. The Quest I
  27. The Quest II
  28. Sacrifice
  29. It's Over?

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