The Seventh and Last Feature for our Wes Craven Season 1 discussion centres on his first sequel and with it a potential to start a franchise.
Needless to say, The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 would not live up to expectations and the franchise would end up dead in the water despite reaching a cult status. Subsequently there have been 2 recent film adaptations based on the original and a comic book to boot.
Wes Craven has distanced himself from the project, citing it as an unfinished piece when he handed it in to the producers to review. The producers, aka the money and finance would accept the film as its first draft and push this out into cinemas with the need to market swiftly. The result speaks for itself.
As for Craven, this was no passion project. It did however, provide funds for him to create horror cinema gold, A Nightmare On Elm Street, (More on this in an upcoming season) and along with it the iconic character of Freddie Kruger.
When sidled next to A Nightmare On Elm Street, The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 pales in comparison. The film picks up with survivor from the first film, Bobby, discussing the horrific events that unfolded and the devastating impact it had on him and his family.
Bobby now runs a bike racing outfit and endeavours to take them back out to the sticks for them to compete in a race, but this task appears to be too great an ordeal and he reluctantly chooses not to go.
So, it is down to fellow survivor, Ruby / Rachel (and the dog, Beast of course) to take our intrepid team of victims / youths to certain doom when they once again come face to face with the mutant family in horror poster icon, Michael Berryman reprising his role as Pluto and The Reaper (Papa Jupiter’s brother).
So much is inherently wrong with this movie. Bad characters, poor set up, and no plot. It’s a wonder that it got off the ground. Perhaps is it wasn’t resting on its stronger predecessor and Craven’s now recogniseable name attached to it, it probably wouldn’t have.
And with the already mentioned, A Nightmare On Elm Street, and its success, along with it cane a much longer lifespan for The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 would ordinarily have occurred.
Check out the surgeons of horror podcast below for more thoughts and views.
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– Paul Farrell