The Hills Have Eyes (2006 film)
|The Hills Have Eyes|
2006 Theatrical Release Poster
|Directed by||Alexandre Aja|
|Produced by||Wes Craven
|Screenplay by||Alexandre Aja
|Based on||The Hills Have Eyes
by Wes Craven
Emilie de Ravin
Major Studio Partners
|Distributed by||Fox Searchlight Pictures|
|Running time||107 minutes
108 minutes (Unrated)
The Hills Have Eyes is a 2006 action horror film and remake of Wes Craven's 1977 film The Hills Have Eyes. Written by filmmaking partners Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur of the French horror film Haute Tension, and directed by Aja, the film follows a family which becomes the target of a group of murderous mutants after their car breaks down in the desert. Both films were shot between Maljamar NM and Loco hills NM.
The film was released theatrically in the United States and United Kingdom on March 10, 2006. It earned $15.5 million in its opening weekend in the U.S., where it was originally rated NC-17 for strong gruesome violence, but was later edited down to an R-rating. An unrated DVD version was released on June 20, 2006. A sequel, The Hills Have Eyes 2, was released in theaters March 23, 2007.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (October 2011)|
The film opens with a group of scientists being killed by a mutant, Pluto. A few years later, Ethel Carter (Kathleen Quinlan) and her husband, Bob Carter (Ted Levine) are traveling from Cleveland, Ohio to San Diego, California. Along with them is their daughter Brenda (Emilie de Ravin), son Bobby (Dan Byrd), eldest daughter Lynn (Vinessa Shaw), her husband Doug Bukowski (Aaron Stanford), their baby Catherine (Maisie Camilleri Preziosi), and the German Shepherds, Beauty and Beast.
They encounter a gas station attendant, Fred (Tom Bower), who gives the family's car gasoline and gives them some advice for their trip. After driving a few miles, the tires are punctured by a hidden barb belt. Bob returns to the gas station for a tow truck. Beauty runs into the hills twice and Bobby chases after her, eventually finding her carcass the second time. Frightened, he runs, slips and falls, going unconscious. A young female mutant named Ruby (Laura Ortiz) comes across him and is intrigued, while her brother Goggle (Ezra Buzzington) chews on the dead dog. When Bob reaches the gas station, he finds the hysterical attendant, Fred, who ultimately commits suicide. In fear, Bob tries to flee but gets attacked by the mutant leader, Papa Jupiter (Billy Drago). He is carried off into the mining caves by Jupiter, along with Jupiter's eldest son, Lizard (Robert Joy), and Pluto.
When Bobby awakes, he returns and does not tell his family of Beauty. As the family tries to sleep, Pluto sneaks into the trailer and attempts to rape Brenda. The others discover that Bob has been tied to a tree and set on fire. Doug unties Bob, but he is already dead by then. Lizard slips inside the trailer, throws Pluto off, and rapes Brenda himself. Lynn returns to the trailer and is greeted by Lizard and Pluto, who are holding Catherine and Brenda. Lizard tears Lynn's blouse, removes her bra and begins drinking milk from her breasts. Ethel attempts to pulverize Lizard but he shoots her. After Lizard shoots her mother, Lynn, attempting to fight back, stabs Lizard in the leg with a screwdriver. Lizard, grimacing in pain, points the gun at Lynn's head, shooting her and killing her. The gun is out of bullets before Lizard can shoot Brenda, and he and Pluto flee with Catherine.
Doug and Bobby return to the trailer and discover the bodies. After this, the mutant Goggle is spying on the Carter family, and he is attacked by Beast, who rips open his throat, killing him. Beast also tears off Goggle's arm, which still has the walkie-talkie that Goggle uses, he takes the arm back to the Carter family later. The next morning, Doug goes off in pursuit of their attackers. He finds an abandoned nuclear testing village and enters the house where Catherine is kept. He is knocked unconscious by Big Mama (Ivana Turchetto), and awakes in an icebox filled with human body parts. He frees himself and tries to find Catherine, only to encounter Big Brain (Desmond Askew). Big Brain tells him the story of the mutants, who were mutated by the fallout from the nuclear tests. Doug is then attacked by Pluto and loses two fingers in the ensuing struggle. He momentarily distracts Pluto and then, stabs his foot with a blade, impales his throat with a U.S. flag, and kills him with the blade of his own axe.
Doug surprises the mutant Cyst (Gregory Nicotero) outside and uses Pluto's axe to kill him, while Big Brain is ultimately killed by Beast. Lizard takes a cleaver and prepares to kill Catherine, but finds that instead of Catherine, it is a pig. Ruby takes Catherine and runs into the hills; Lizard chases her, enraged by her deceit. Doug starts chasing Ruby as well. At the trailer, Ethel's body is dragged into the hills and Bobby finds Papa Jupiter eating Ethel's heart. Jupiter pursues Bobby to the trailer, where Brenda releases gas from the propane tanks. Bobby binds Papa Jupiter's hand to the window and he and Brenda escape. The trailer then explodes.
In the hills, Ruby is about to return Catherine to Doug when Lizard attacks. Lizard hits Doug with the spike strip repeatedly, apparently knocking Doug out. Lizard catches back up to Ruby but Doug comes and brutally beats him with the shotgun, with which he shoots him 3 times. Ruby gives Catherine back to Doug, who does not notice Lizard stand up, having survived. Ruby tackles Lizard, plunging them over a cliff, to stop Lizard from shooting Doug and Catherine, and sacrificing herself in the process. Bobby and Brenda walk through the ruins of the trailer and find Papa Jupiter still alive, though impaled. Brenda kills Papa Jupiter with a pickaxe and then spots Doug with Catherine and Beast. The four are reunited. As they celebrate their apparent victory, a pair of anonymous binoculars watches from the hills.
- Aaron Stanford as Doug Bukowski
- Kathleen Quinlan as Ethel Carter
- Vinessa Shaw as Lynn Carter-Bukowski
- Emilie de Ravin as Brenda Carter
- Dan Byrd as Bobby Carter
- Tom Bower as Gas Station Attendant
- 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
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.
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.
The casting process began with the selection of The Silence of the Lambs's 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.
Box office 
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 reception 
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."
|The Hills Have Eyes|
|Film score by Various|
|Released||March 10, 2006|
The soundtrack score was composed by "Tomandandy".
- Leave the Broken Hearts - The Finalist
- Blue Eyes Woman - The Go
- Highway Kind - Moot Davis
- Summers Gonna Be My Girl - The Go
- More and More - Webb Pierce
- The Walls - Vault
- In the Valley of the Sun - Buddy Stuart
- Daisy - Wires on Fire
- California Dreamin' - The Mamas and the Papas
- Forbidden Zone
- Gas Haven
- Out House
- Daddy Daddy
- Beast Finds Beauty
- Ethel's Death
- Next Morning
- Village Test
- Breakfast Time
- Play with Us
- The Quest I
- The Quest II
- It's Over?
- IMDb Box Office - The Hills Have Eyes
- "The Hills Have Eyes Production PDF" (PDF). 20th Century Fox. Retrieved 2007-08-22.
- "The Hills Have Eyes". boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2007-08-22.
- "The Hills Have Eyes (2006)". movieweb.com. Archived from the original on 2007-08-12. Retrieved 2007-08-22.
- "The Hills Have Eyes". Rotton Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-08-22.
- Hunter, Stephen (2006-03-10). "'The Hills Have Eyes': Can You Watch, Too?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-08-22.
- "Movie review: 'The Hills Have Eyes'". Startribube.com. Retrieved 2007-08-22.
- "00's Retrospect: 2006". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
- "The Hills Have Eyes (R)". rogerebert.com. Retrieved 2007-08-22.
- Official website
- The Hills Have Eyes at the Internet Movie Database
- The Hills Have Eyes at AllRovi
- The Hills Have Eyes at Box Office Mojo
- The Hills Have Eyes at Rotten Tomatoes
- Interview with director Alexandre Aja at www.sci-fi-online.com