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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Blood Relations - The Sun Wars" )

 

directed by Wes Craven
USA 1977

 

The Carter family are driving through the desert in a station wagon and Winnebego in search of a silver mine. Fred (John Steadman, FADE TO BLACK), the old-timer that runs the gas station, cryptically tries to warn them off venturing further into the desert, but they proceed and wind up stranded in the middle of nowhere. Their first indication that they might not be alone comes when son Bobby (Robert Houston, 1941) searches for one of their runaway dogs in the hills and finds it mutilated. Meanwhile, the father Big Bob (Russ Grieve, FOXY BROWN) has walked back to the gas station and learns from Fred that the "devil child" Jupiter (James Whitworth, THE CANDY SNATCHERS) who Fred abandoned in the desert years ago has spawned a cannibal family living up in the hills. Fred is attacked and killed by one of the clan and Bob tries to get back to his family but is ambushed in the dark. The cannibals crucify Bob and set him on fire as a distraction for Bobby, his mother Ethel (Virginia Vincent, THE BABY), older sister Lynn (Dee Wallace, THE HOWLING), and her husband Doug (Martin Speer, KILLER'S DELIGHT.) With them out of the way, Pluto (Michael Berryman, CUT AND RUN) and Mars (Lance Gordon, TWICE DEAD) invade the Winnebago, rape younger sister Brenda (Susan Lanier), and decide to take Lynn and Doug's baby for food. Lynn is killed trying to save her child and Ethel is shot. When daylight comes, Doug heads up into the hills to rescue his infant daughter. Bobby and a traumatized Brenda hold up in the camper, but are soon forced to fight and attempt to outwit another attack. Their other dog Beast (who has also lost his partner Beauty to the cannibals) also has vengeance in mind. Another member of the cannibal family, Ruby (Janus Blythe, EATEN ALIVE) may betray her own to save the baby's life. While intense and brutal, Wes Craven's THE HILLS HAVE EYES looks like a typical grindhouse movie compared to his previous film LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT - and its associated notoriety. Its worn-out crew recycled from Charles Griffith's EAT MY DUST (including D.P. Eric Saarinen), Robert Burns' props from TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, 120 degree heat, special effects injuries, and near cast/crew walk-outs seat it more comfortably along side THE EVIL DEAD, another drive-in horror hit with a celebrated grueling production history, indebtedness to TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (including the art direction) - although the Sam Raimi film is splashier with the blood and entrails - and even a visual reference to Craven's film. Berryman went on to appear in a showy red herring role in Craven's more polished - although studio-tampered - DEADLY BLESSING, and the booby trap set up by Bobby and Brenda anticipates the more elaborate traps that Nancy Thompson prepares for Freddy Krueger in Craven's mainstream hit A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Producer Peter Locke - who also plays Mercury, another member of the cannibal clan - produced Craven's sequel as well as the 2006 remake and its sequel. Houston and Blythe reunited also reunited with Craven and Locke in the sequel (although they had already appeared together in CHEERLEADERS WILD WEEKEND). Composer Don Peake (THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS) would reunite with Craven in his studio days to score THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS. Art director Robert Burns went on to work with HILLS effects make-up artists on the TCM-influenced TOURIST TRAP the following year. Alexandre Aja's remake was not well-acted, but substituted run-of-the-mill disfigured and murderous nuclear testing mutants for the more menacing cannibal clan of the original.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: June 15th, 1977

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Arrow - Region FREE - 4K UHD

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

  

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Arrow - Region FREE - 4K UHD
Runtime Original: 1:30:00.228 / Alternate Ending Cut: 1:31:19.223
Video

Original:

1.78:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD

Disc Size: 92,254,368,556 bytes

Feature: 70,149,276,480 bytes

Video Bitrate: 94.92 Mbps

Codec: HEVC Video

Alternate Ending Cut:

1.78:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD

Disc Size: 92,254,368,556 bytes

Feature: 70,800,811,008 bytes

Video Bitrate: 94.86 Mbps

Codec: HEVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Original:  4K Ultra HD:

Bitrate Alternate Ending Cut: 4K Ultra HD:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 904 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 904 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 847 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 847 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1660 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 1660 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1-ES / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -30dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -31dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -30dB

Subtitles English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Arrow

 

Original:

1.78:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD

Disc Size: 92,254,368,556 bytes

Feature: 70,149,276,480 bytes

Video Bitrate: 94.92 Mbps

Codec: HEVC Video

 

Alternate Ending Cut:

1.78:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD

Disc Size: 92,254,368,556 bytes

Feature: 70,800,811,008 bytes

Video Bitrate: 94.86 Mbps

Codec: HEVC Video

 

Edition Details:

4K Ultra HD disc

Audio commentary with Wes Craven and Peter Locke
Audio commentary with Cast
Audio commentary with Mikel J. Koven
Looking Back on The Hills Have Eyes making-of documentary featuring interviews with Craven, Locke, actors Michael Berryman, Dee Wallace, Janus Blythe, Robert Houston, Susan Lanier and director of photography Eric Saarinen (54:35)
Interview with Martin Speer (16:06)
The Desert Sessions brand new interview with composer Don Peake (10:58)
Alternate ending, in HD for the first time (11:35)
Outtakes (18:56)
Trailers (US - 2:41, German - 2:44) and TV Spots (1:54)

6 x postcards
Reversible fold-out poster featuring new and original artwork
Limited edition booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Brad Stevens and a consideration of the Hills franchise by Ewan Cant, illustrated with original archive stills
Audio commentary with Wes Craven and Peter Locke


4K Ultra HD Release Date:
November
8th, 2021
Black 4K Ultra HD Case inside custom case (see below)

Chapters 12 / 12

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray and 4K UHD captures were taken directly from the respective discs.

ADDITION: Arrow 4K UHD (November 2021): Arrow are releasing Wes Craven's 1977 The Hills Have Eyes to 4K UHD via HDR10. It is described as a "Brand new 4K restoration of the film, viewable with both original and alternate endings". The new image is darker than their own 2016 Arrow Blu-ray that was advertised as a "Brand new 4K restoration from original film elements, supervised by producer Peter Locke". The film was shot on Super 16 and, like the Arrow Blu-ray, this offers both the original and the longer 'alternate ending' cut - seamlessly branched on the 4K UHD disc. The colors have taken quite a shift from the 2016 Arrow Blu-ray looking richer and deeper and the overall image is notably darker with often slightly warmer skin tones. Predictably, it shows extensive grain texture. I guess the color palette is s personal preference - I think the darker look suited the film more than the brighter 2016 1080P. I have no idea which would be more accurate to the theatrical. The 4K UHD is darker, grainer and I thought it easily looked the most film-like. 

It is likely that the monitor you are seeing this review is not an HDR-compatible display (High Dynamic Range) or Dolby Vision, where each pixel can be assigned with a wider and notably granular range of color and light. Our capture software if simulating the HDR (in a uniform manner) for standard monitors. This should make it easier for us to review more 4K UHD titles in the future and give you a decent idea of its attributes on your system. So our captures may not support the exact same colors (coolness of skin tones, brighter or darker hues etc.) as the 4K system at your home. But the framing, detail, grain texture support etc. are, generally, not effected by this simulation representation.

NOTE: There are 48 more more full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K UHD captures, in lossless PNG format, for Patrons are available HERE

We have reviewed the following 4K UHD packages to date: The Servant (software uniformly simulated HDR), Anatomy of a Murder (software uniformly simulated HDR), Taxi Driver  (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Wolf Man (1941) (software uniformly simulated HDR), Frankenstein (1931) (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Deep Red (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Misery (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Silence of the Lambs (software uniformly simulated HDR), John Carpenter's "The Thing" (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Cat' o'Nine Tails (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (software uniformly simulated HDR), Perdita Durango (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Django (software uniformly simulated HDR) Fanny Lye Deliver'd (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, (NO HDR applied to disc),  Rollerball (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Chernobyl  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Daughters of Darkness (software uniformly simulated HDR), Vigilante (software uniformly simulated HDR), Tremors (software uniformly simulated HDR), Cinema Paradiso (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Bourne Legacy (software uniformly simulated HDR), Full Metal Jacket (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Psycho (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Birds (software uniformly simulated HDR), Rear Window (software uniformly simulated HDR), Vertigo (software uniformly simulated HDR) Spartacus (software uniformly simulated HDR), Jaws (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Invisible Man, (software uniformly simulated HDR), Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds (software uniformly simulated HDR), Lucio Fulci's 1979 Zombie  (software uniformly simulated HDR),, 2004's Van Helsing (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Shallows (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Bridge on the River Kwai (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Deer Hunter (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Elephant Man (software uniformly simulated HDR), A Quiet Place (software uniformly simulated HDR), Easy Rider (software uniformly simulated HDR), Suspiria (software uniformly simulated HDR), Pan's Labyrinth (software uniformly simulated HDR) The Wizard of Oz, (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Shining, (software uniformly simulated HDR), Batman Returns (software uniformly simulated HDR), Don't Look Now (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Man Who Killed Killed and then The Bigfoot  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Bram Stoker's Dracula (software uniformly simulated HDR), Lucy (software uniformly simulated HDR), They Live (software uniformly simulated HDR), Shutter Island (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Matrix (software uniformly simulated HDR), Alien (software uniformly simulated HDR), Toy Story (software uniformly simulated HDR),  A Few Good Men (software uniformly simulated HDR),  2001: A Space Odyssey (HDR caps udated), Schindler's List (simulated HDR), The Neon Demon (No HDR), Dawn of the Dead (No HDR), Saving Private Ryan (simulated HDR and 'raw' captures), Suspiria (No HDR), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (No HDR), The Big Lebowski, and I Am Legend (simulated and 'raw' HDR captures).

On their 4K UHD, Arrow offer a 24-bit DTS-HD Master mono track, 2,0 channel option or a 7.1 surround bump - all in the original English language. I'm usually not a fan of surround 'bumps' but this did add some impressive impact to the film experience - certainly some bass. Purists will appreciate the lossless mono. There is a score by Done Peake (The People Under the Stairs). Arrow add optional English (SDH) subtitle options on the Region FREE 4K UHD disc.

There are plentiful extras on the 4K UHD disc - all from the previous Blu-ray.

NOTE: Similar to Arrow's recent 4K UHD's of Argento's The Cat O' Nine Tails and The Bird With the Crystal Plumage - they didn't have new supplements either but ported over the ones from the previous Arrow Blu-rays, NOTE: Deep Red 4K UHD offered a new Troy Howarth / Nathaniel Thompson commentary.

Arrow include the same three past commentaries; the original one with Wes Craven and Peter Locke as found on the 2003 DVD and Image's 2011 Blu-ray. There are two more - one with the cast - a little scattered - and one with Mikel J. Koven, Senior Lecturer & Course Leader, Film Studies, author of Blaxploitation Film (2010), Film, Folklore & Urban Legends (2008) and La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film (2006); he co-edited Folklore/Cinema: Popular Film as Vernacular Entertainment (2007). His insights will be much appreciated but it is more formal, professional and well-researched. Looking Back on The Hills Have Eyes is the same 55-minute making-of documentary featuring interviews with Craven, Locke, actors Michael Berryman, Dee Wallace, Janus Blythe, Robert Houston, Susan Lanier and director of photography Eric Saarinen. There is the previous 16-minute interview with actor Martin Speer conducted in June 2016 and The Desert Sessions - another interview - this time with composer Don Peake running exactly 11-minutes. It was conducted on May 2016. We can see the 20-minutes of outtakes, trailers (US - 2:43, German - 2:46) and TV Spots (1:54.) The Arrow 4K UHD package has a reversible fold-out poster, plus the limited edition 40-page booklet featuring writing on the film by critic Brad Stevens and a consideration of the Hills franchise by Arrow producer Ewan Cant, illustrated with original archive stills and posters.

Arrow's
4K UHD release of Wes Craven's 1977 The Hills Have Eyes
seems an odd upgrade although it once again proves that you can't beat the 3840 X 2160 resolution when done from the same source as the lower-res options. This is approaching triple the bitrate. Many may have missed out on the now, largely, out-of-print LE Arrow Blu-ray. For new adopters to 4K UHD  - this is the package to own. I can't think in what areas Arrow could have improved this representation of "The Hills Have Eyes" as the highest home theater a/v - and a different color scheme from their own BD, commentaries, plenty of extras, a 40-page booklet, poster etc. etc. Many horror aficionados rate this alongside The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. That group should welcome this thorough and complete 4K UHD package.      

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 


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2) Arrow - Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Image Entertainment (Midnight Madness Series) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Arrow - Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow - Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Image Entertainment (Midnight Madness Series) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Arrow - Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM

 

 


 

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Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Arrow - Region FREE - 4K UHD


 


 

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