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Wes Craven
Robert Houston, Tamara Safford, Virginia Vincent
Writing Credits:
Wes Craven

A group of bikers become stranded in the desert and find themselves fighting off a family of inbred cannibals who live off the land.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English LPCM Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $49.95
Release Date: 9/24/2019

• Audio Commentary with The Hysteria Continues
• “Blood, Sand and Fire” Documentary
• Still Gallery
• Trailer
• Booklet
• 6 Postcards


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Hills Have Eyes Part II [Blu-Ray] (1984)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 29, 2019)

In late 1984, A Nightmare On Elm Street became Wes Craven’s first commercial hit. However, Nightmare didn’t represent the director’s only 1984 release.

1984 also brought The Hills Have Eyes Part II, a sequel to Craven’s second film. However, it doesn’t appear to have played on US screens, and it came with a troubled production, as Craven ran out of funds about two-thirds of the way through the shoot.

After Nightmare turned into a hit, the studio tried to capitalize on Craven’s newfound fame. Without enough new footage, Eyes II padded out its running time with material from the first flick.

Can a movie from such messy origins overcome with odds and deliver a satisfying experience? Maybe, but the disastrous Hills 2 isn’t that movie.

In the original, inbred cannibals terrorized a family whose vehicle broke down in the desert. Eight years later, survivor Bobby Carter (Robert Houston) remains troubled by these memories.

Bobby’s therapist tries to convince him to go with his biker team on a path that will go close to the site of the earlier tragedy but he declines. Unfortunately for them, they get lost along the way and find themselves assaulted by the man-eating weirdos.

That synopsis implies that Eyes II basically remakes the first film. This might be because it essentially does remake the prior film, albeit in a much crummier manner.

Compared to Eyes II, the first flick offers a classic. At least it managed some sense of menace and impact, whereas the sequel seems entirely limp and pathetic.

Budgetary restrictions clearly create an issue. We get a downsized cannibal clan, with only Pluto (Michael Berryman) and the Reaper (John Bloom).

Granted, a smaller group of maniacs makes some sense since so many died in the first flick, but I think Eyes II could – and should – have generated a bigger cast of cannibals. The filmmakers could’ve found an excuse to introduce additional new characters and not just rely on those two.

This becomes an issue because Reaper and Pluto present such a feeble threat. They come across as the backwoods morons they are and never seem like they just be able to menace a Cub Scout den, much less a bigger ensemble of young people.

Even with a larger group of baddies, Eyes II would falter because it never attempts much of a story. Why does it bother to set up Bobby’s trauma and then drop him from the movie?

This makes no sense to me. A logical movie would force Bobby to go back to the territory that haunts him, whereas in Eyes II, his involvement feels completely gratuitous and pointless. The film could lose his scenes entirely and no one would know the difference.

The characters we do find seem silly and one-dimensional. I especially feel sorry for Tamara Stafford as the Blind Girl With Magical Powers and Willard Pugh as the Token Funny Black Guy.

Good God, the lines Pugh gets stuck with cause massive eye-rolling, as his Foster is a white guy’s sitcom version of a black person. How else can one explain awful dialogue like “ain’t natural to be in a place without a disco”?

As implied earlier, Eyes II barely qualifies as a feature film due to all its recycled footage. We get ample flashbacks and other footage that doesn’t connect to the rest of the movie in an adequate manner, so the whole experience feels like the cobbled-together mess it is.

Eyes II can’t even do gratuitous nudity right! It sets up the most contrived shower scene in movie history and then barely gives us a look at the woman involved – why bother?

Indeed, “why bother?” acts as a good question related to the whole project. I don’t know who thought Eyes II was a good idea, but this messy, moronic project flops in all possible ways.

The Disc Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C+/ Bonus B-

The Hills Have Eyes Part II appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. An erratic presentation, the movie showed its age.

Sharpness varied. The movie usually looked acceptably detailed but rarely much more than that. Not too many scenes looked really ill-defined, but few came across as particularly distinctive.

This meant most of Eyes was acceptably concise and no more. Jagged edges and shimmering caused no concerns, and I encountered no signs of edge haloes or noise reduction.

Print flaws became a distraction at times. Though never especially heavy, I did notice moderate examples of specks and marks, and periodic lines crossed over the screen. Again, these didn’t dominate, but they created more than a few distractions.

Colors seemed erratic. Daytime exteriors looked pretty good, but interiors suffered from messier hues.

Black levels tended to appear somewhat inky, while shadow detail was a little too dense much of the time. Interiors seemed fairly flat and muddy. This was a mediocre presentation.

As for the film’s LPCM monaural track, the quality of the material seemed average for its vintage. Speech was intelligible and lacked edginess, but the lines tended to be somewhat thin and tinny.

Music lacked much range, as the score and songs were clear but without pizzazz. Effects also didn’t muster a lot of punch and they occasionally showed some roughness. This was a decent track for its age but not anything memorable.

As we shift to extras, we open with an audio commentary from members of The Hysteria Continues, a podcast group. We hear from Justin Kurswell, Erik Threllfall, Joseph Henson and Nathan Johnson. All four chat together for this running, screen-specific look at cast/crew, other horror flicks/influences, sets and locations, and related subjects.

My first experiences with Hysteria commentaries left me pretty cold, as they came across more as casual chats among fans rather than anything else. That format seems better suited to their natural podcast habitat than the more fact-oriented world of the audio commentary.

The Hysteria guys appear to have adjusted to the differences in formats, as their Eyes II track focuses pretty well on film-related information. It still comes with some fan impressions, but those complement the more fact-based tone, so this ends up as a pretty useful discussion.

A documentary called Blood, Sand and Fire spans 31 minutes, 16 seconds and offers notes from producer Peter Locke, production designer Dominick Bruno, composer Harry Manfredini, unit production manager/1st AD John Callas and actors Michael Berryman and Janus Blythe.

“Blood” examines the first movie and the push toward a sequel, budgetary/schedule limitations and their impact, locations, cast and performances, stunts, effects and action, music, and the film’s legacy.

Overall, “Blood” brings a decent overview. It can be a little scattershot but it gives us a nice array of insights.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get a Still Gallery. It presents 76 images that mix shots from the set, publicity materials and home video art. It’s a good compilation.

Note that this package also includes postcards and a 40-page booklet. My review copy didn’t provide these so I can’t directly discuss them.

Even compared to its erratic predecessor, The Hills Have Eyes Part II offers a terrible film. Cheap, shoddy and ridiculous, the movie comes with virtually no redeeming factors. The Blu-ray brings acceptable picture and audio with some useful supplements. Only Wes Craven completists should bother with this stinker.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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