Movie Name: The Hills Have Eyes Part II
Release Date(s): June 1984 (Mystfest)/January 1985 (UK)/August 1985 (US)
MPAA Rating: R
Bobby Carter (Robert Houston) is struggling to deal with the savage attack on his family eight years before. His girlfriend Rachel (Janus Blythe) is the former Ruby and both Bobby and Ruby are part of a motorcycle race team. When Bobby cannot handle the pressure of returning to the desert, the motorcycle team heads off alone, but a short cut onto an abandoned road leads Rachel to find that the horror has survived.
Directed by Wes Craven, The Hills Have Eyes Part II is a horror sequel to Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes from 1977. The movie was universally panned and Craven later disowned the movie.
The Hills Have Eyes had a really creepy feel. The idea of being watched, trapped, and played with is a horrible feeling. The movie felt ahead of its time in many ways and still is scary today. The Hills Have Eyes Part II however seems very forced.
The movie wasn’t going to even exist. Craven started to make it as an attempt to make some money, but the movie was shut down by the studios due to rising production costs. The movie was finished after A Nightmare on Elm Street found success and Craven had to pad out the movie with flashbacks to make it long enough. This is never a good plan to make a successful film.
The movie’s actual plot is very forced. The movie has to get the characters back into the desert and resurrect Pluto (played once again by Michael Berryman) despite the fact he was obviously dead in the first film. The characters make stupid horror movie mistakes over and over again and also decide to chase crazies and have sex at random times throughout the movie…it makes little sense.
Visually, the movie loses a lot of the voyeurism horror of the first film. The original movie always felt like the characters were being watched from just beyond camera. This movie takes place primarily at night and the darkness doesn’t lend itself for this type of scares. The movie isn’t as graphic or horrific and with the weaker plot leaves you empty as a viewer.
The Hills Have Eyes Part II is a bad horror film. By limiting the movie to two “mutants”, the horror just doesn’t seem as intense especially when they are picking off twenty-somethings that you have no vested interest in. The two hold-over “heroes” features Bobby not even going to the desert and Ruby going out like a chump by hitting her head on a rock and I guess dying (though it is not even made clear). In a time where slashers like Freddy, Jason, and Michael were king, Pluto just didn’t match up. The Hills Have Eyes Part II was followed by a quasi-sequel made-for-TV called Mind Ripper which also went by the titles of The Hills Have Eyes III, The Outpost, and The Hills Still Have Eyes. The film aired on HBO in 1995.