The Hills Have Eyes: Part II (1984) | Wes Craven’s wretched sequel gets digitally remastered
SO YOU THINK YOU’RE LUCKY TO BE ALIVE…
Eight years after Papa Jupiter and his cannibal clan slaughtered the Carter family in the Nevada Desert, survivor Bobby (Robert Houston) is still having flashbacks. Now the owner of a bike racing team and the developer of a new super fuel, Bobby stays behind as his team set off for an importance race in the desert. Joining them is Bobby’s friend Rachel (Janus Blythe), the daughter of Papa Jupiter, who turned against her family in the original film, and Beast, Bobby’s Alsatian.
When the group take a short cut into the Furnace Road Canyon, where Papa’s family once ruled, and their bus breaks down near an abandoned mine, the teenagers soon come under attack by Pluto (Michael Berryman), who survived having been mauled by Beast years earlier, and The Reaper (John Bloom), Papa’s Jupiter’s brother, who is out for revenge.
THE HILLS STILL HAVE EYES
Wes Craven’s sequel to his infinitely superior The Hills Have Eyes (1977) is essentially Friday the 13th set in the desert [yep: stupid teens + sex = nasty death]. It even has that film’s composer Harry Manfredini supplying a variation of his iconic “…ki-ki-ki…ma-ma-ma” theme tune, just with a rattle (as in rattlesnake) instead of a vocal delay effect.
The dialogue is pretty risible, with some politically incorrect humour (aimed at Native Americans, the French, and the blind), and the unlikeable characters say and do the daftest things (really guys! Firecrackers?). Which only makes their deaths, involving boulders, spiked mallets, spears and tomahawks, all the more enjoyable.
The best thing about the movie is the lush green desert location (actually Bronson Canyon in LA’s Griffith Park), but the scenes of the Yamaha bikes ripping up the desert floor might have eco-lovers weeping. The film’s two villains, meanwhile, look like extras from 1981’s Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, with Berryman’s desert-dwelling mute Pluto, in particular, coming across like Wile E Coyote. Cult fiends, however, might know Bloom’s name from Al Adamson’s bargain-bin horror Dracula vs Frankenstein (1971), where he played the mashmallow-faced creature revived by J Carrol Naish’s mad scientist.
Also watch out for a young Penny Johnson Jerald, from TV’s Larry Sanders, 24 and Castle fame, as one victim who gets her throat cut after being thrown through a window. Painful! Just like watching this dire effort. And as for the ending, well it copies the original big time. How unoriginal!
THE UK RELEASE
The OEG Classic Movies Blu-ray and DVD digitally re-mastered release features the film in its 16:9 aspect ratio with Dolby digital stereo. Region free.
BEST BAD LINES
‘It ain’t natural to be in a place without a disco’
‘Some of your best friends are maniacs’
‘You’ve the brains of a beer can’