Movie Review: THE HILLS HAVE EYES PART 2 (Limited Edition) Blu-ray

THE HILLS HAVE EYES PART 2 was written and directed by Wes Craven and stars Tamara Stafford, Kevin Spirtas, John Bloom, Michael Berryman, Penny Johnson, Janus Blythe, John Laughlin, Willard E. Pugh, Peter Frechette and Robert Houston. The score is by Harry Manfredini.

The hills are once again alive with the sound of screaming in Wes Craven’s hugely entertaining follow-up to his own groundbreaking 1977 The Hills Have Eyes. A motocross team on their way to trial a new super-fuel head out across the desert lead by Rachel, who, unbeknownst to the rest of the group, is a survivor of the cannibal clan which menaced the Carter family several years before. Opting to take an ill-advised shortcut across the desert, the busload of youngsters drive straight into the path of the remnants of Rachel’s demented cannibal kin – the menacing Pluto, and a hulking, blood-hungry brute by the name of The Reaper. Made by Wes Craven immediately prior to his smash-hit A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Hills Have Eyes Part II diverges from the grim tone of its predecessor in favour of fun action-horror thrills and spills replete with mutants, motorbikes, and – oh yes – dog flashbacks!

The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 takes place eight years after the horrifying events of the original. This 1984 sequel returns Bobby Carter (Robert Houston) who survived the attack by the mutants in the first movie but it’s left him mentally scarred. The viewer gets a refresher by some key flashback scenes. There’s also Ruby who left her cannibalistic tribe behind and now goes by Rachel (Janus Blythe). They have some friends that are heading off to a dirt bike race but Bobby has been left so traumatized and isn’t able to join his friends. The racing team includes Roy (Kevin Spirtas) and his blind girlfriend Cass (Tamara Stafford), Harry (Peter Frechette), Hulk (John Laughlin), Foster (Willard E. Pugh), Jane (Colleen Riley) and Sue (Penny Johnson). They’re joined by Rachel who also happens to be the team owner and they head off in a bus where they end up lost and breaking down in the exact same desert where the first massacre took place. The odds of this happening are astronomical!

What happens is, the team gets separated into smaller groups where they begin to get picked off one by one. Pluto (Michael Berryman) somehow survived the vicious attack by Beast (the dog) that took place the first movie and he begins to torment and attack the unsuspecting visitors. Pluto definitely has a mischievous side to him and it shows more in this sequel. There’s also The Reaper (John Bloom), a terrifying figure who now leads the scavenging cannibals and he’s the most feared of them all. The thing is, Ruby is way too familiar with what’s going on and how her tribe works. She comes in useful in the group’s fight for survival but the betrayal of her mutant family eventually comes back to haunt her. It comes down to the final two survivors, Roy and Cass, who come up with a plan to stop The Reaper before they become his dinner.

The packaging comes with a thick slipcase. The front of the packaging features the newly commissioned artwork by Paul Shipper and the back include movie details and list of special features. The reversible sleeve features some original artwork and movie credits so you have your pick of which side you’d like to use as the front cover. You can see it down below. There’s also a Limited Edition 40-page booklet featuring a new writing on the film by Amanda Reyes and an archival set visit from Fangoria. There’s also six collector’s postcards and a reversible fold-out poster. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 has been given a brand new 2K restoration from original film elements. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, even though The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 is a mediocre followup to Wes Craven’s 1977 horror classic, this new home video release is a tough one for horror fans to turn away from because it’s such an impressive Blu-ray release. The story was fun but the big flaw here is that it takes way too long for this group of friends to get in trouble and the threat isn’t all that scary this time around. There’s still some things to like about the movie; like the isolated location, the return of several characters from the first movie (good and bad) and the score that’ll also remind hardcore horror fans of Friday the 13th – for a very strong reason. I don’t think there’s as much blood and gore in this sequel plus the makeup effects look really cheap. Another major flaw! Like I stated up top, these mutants weren’t scary at all. Still, The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 is a fitting sequel and a cheesy fun watch, plus this is the perfect time of year for a release like this since Halloween is right around the corner. The best thing about this Blu-ray release is what the movie lacks, Arrow Video makes up for. The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 is now available on a pristine Limited Edition Blu-ray that’s limited to just 3,000 units and is a must have for any avid horror collector.

Distributor: Arrow Video

Run Time: 90 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English LPCM 1.0 Mono

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include some new audio commentary, a brand new making of featurette, a stills gallery, original theatrical trailer, six collectible postcards and a thick reversible fold-out poster.

  • Brand new Audio Commentary with The Hysteria Continues
  • Blood, Sand, and Fire: The Making of The Hills Have Eyes Part II – brand new making-of documentary featuring interviews with actor Michael Berryman, actress Janus Blythe, production designer Dominick Bruno, composer Harry Manfredini and unit production manager/first assistant director John Callas. (31:16)
  • Stills Gallery (06:52)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (02:44)

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