70s Horror | 31 Nights of Horror Challenge

For this year’s 31 Nights of Horror Challenge, the Day 23 prompt was 70s Horror. There were  movies  I could have chosen to fit this prompt. Many good ones like The Exorcist or Carrie or even The Omen but I went with one I have not seen since I was a kid, The Hills Have Eyes (1977).


A family going to California accidentally goes through an Air Testing range closed to the public. They crash and are stranded in a desert. They are being stalked by a group of people, which have not emerged into modern times.

Our Thoughts on The Hills Have Eyes

I saw this movie for the first time probably at the age of 11 or 12 and back then horror was horror. But seeing this almost 40 years later this movie is terrible. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge Wes Craven fan but this is not it. 

It took me a long time to get around to watching ‘The hills have eyes,’ again as an adult and all the while I heard time and again that it’s a classic. Now that I’ve seen it, I really don’t understand why this is regarded so well.

Good horror films need more than simple brutality. Some driving suspense, or an overwhelming atmosphere, is preferred. Especially if a picture is going to focus on blood and violence, then there generally needs to be at least some minor point of contrast, something in-universe that says “All this crazy stuff you’re watching? Yeah, it’s very wrong.” There are characters in this movie that we’re supposed to believe provide that contrast, but they’re so unsympathetic that they can’t provide the necessary counterbalance.

There are a few clever ideas in the screenplay, yet the writing is largely uninventive and dull. There’s a moment at the end where the audience might ask themselves, “Are they the monsters? Or are we? Are we any better?” But especially as the film isn’t particularly inspiring otherwise, such a Big Idea feels much less like cinematic intent and more like the projected afterthought of any viewer who is remotely self-aware.

I’d be lying if I said ‘The hills have eyes’ is all bad. It’s not. But there are many more movies out there, far better ones, that do much more to evoke feelings, engage our brains, or otherwise spark our imaginations. So why spend time on this one?

1.5 out of 10 


Wes Craven was in part inspired by an incident that happened to him while taking a motorcycle trip with his wife. When they stopped in a small Nevada town, a trio of locals shot an arrow past his head and insulted him. When Craven threatened to sue them, they replied they could easily kill him, leave his corpse in a nearby salt mine, and no one would ever know.

The similarities to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) were intentional. Wes Craven was a huge fan of Tobe Hooper‘s film. He considered his film in part an homage to it.