Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Cinemasochists Second Look At Wes Craven - The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 (1984)

A Cinemasochists Second Look At Wes Craven
Part 4: 
The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 (1984)

Wes Craven's career has been to hell and back. He's made game changing films, but has also fumbled enough times to make a lesser director retire. We all know Nightmare On Elm Street and Scream, but what about Deadly Friend or Music of The Heart? Do THOSE hold up? I'm going to cherry pick some of the lesser known Wes Craven films and, in typical Cinemasochists form, see if they're worth your time or as bad as they've been made out to be.

8 years after the deadly attack on the vacationing Carter family in the southwest desert, our favorite post-nuclear cannibal inbreds are back, but this time it's personal… This is what I imagined the pitch meeting for this film sounding like. Unfortunately, it was agreed upon that this film SHOULD be made and that Wes Craven was the one to do it. In need of money at the time, Wes Craven did oblige and this is what we got….

Bobby Carter, one of the survivors from the first film, is still dealing with what had happened 8 years prior. He and Rachel (Janus Blythe, who was named Ruby in the first film) have since started a motorcycle/motocross team as well as invented a super fuel for motorbikes. Why? Because it's the 80's, that's why. They find out that their next race is scheduled to be near the same South Western desert where the first film took place. Bobby, took shook up to go, declines so Rachel ends up taking the team instead. The team consists of Harry, Hulk, Foster, Sue, Jane as well Roy and his blind girlfriend Cass (Don't worry… She is not a biker…) 
As they approach their destination, their bus breaks down right in the heart of the original nuclear site from part 1. Why? Because its an 80's horror movie, that's why! Pluto (Michael Berryman) the bald ne'er do well cannibal from the first film shows up unannounced and starts offing the characters one by one with the help of "The Reaper" who happens to be Papa Jupiter's (Matriarch from original film) older brother.  What follows is a typical, clunky 80's slasher movie with each character dying a bloody, and in this case, very boring and dark death. The lighting in the night scenes are so bad, you can barely make out what's happening, if you decided to care enough by that point. It's clear this is not a film made out of passion. 

Shot before, but released after A Nightmare On Elm Street, The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 is the only film in the Wes Craven oevure that he has officially disowned and with good reason. Supposedly, half way through production, the money ran out and the film was unfinished and shelved for over year. After A Nightmare On Elm Street became a success, the studio decided to release the film, but in order to make it a reasonable running time, they incorporated many minutes from the original film to fill the time. You can tell by watching it that this was just a cheap storytelling device to fill up what is essentially a non movie.
The original was a scary, raw and visceral look at the post-nuclear breakdown of the American family, very much like the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which was released only a couple years before in 1974. This sequel is far from it. It's more of a rip-off of Texas Chainsaw (check out the pre-credit disclaimer) and of course Friday The 13th. Unless you're a Wes Craven completist, this really is not worth your time.

Cinemasochists Score: -8
(0 being tolerable and -10 being the worst) 

You can stream on Netflix or rent on any VOD outlet. 

No comments:

Post a Comment