Trivia for The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
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- Robert Houston was actually the second choice for Bobby Carter and landed the role because the original actor left the production after reading the script.
- According to Wes Craven the film was shot on cameras rented from a famous California pornographer.
- (at around 55 mins) Virginia Vincent's reaction to being shot was quite genuine as there was a mishap with the squib planted under her robe. The small explosion caused her a deal of pain and she was briefly taken to the hospital.
- Producer Peter Locke has a memorable cameo as Mercury, the imbecile-sounding gang member with the feathered head-dress who is only spotted twice throughout the film, firstly at Fred's garage and secondly communicating with Mars and Pluto using a USAF radio.
- The rattlesnake used in the film actually escaped while preparing to shoot a scene in a narrow mountain crevasse. The entire crew fled at once from the narrow passage frightened. Minutes later the snake wrangler went in and recaptured the snake.
- According to star Robert Houston the audition process for the film depended a lot on whether or not an actor could cry on cue.
- The locations for the film were 30 miles from civilization and the cast and crew had to cram themselves into a few Winnebagos to be driven to location.
- According to Wes Craven the idea of actually having the baby killed in the film was considered. However the cast and crew strongly opposed the idea saying they would leave if the plot went that route.
- The desert locations for the film were extremely rough on the crew. Not only was the rocky terrain difficult to walk, let alone run through, but the temperature would reach up to 120 degrees during the day. After sunset though it would drop to a cold 30 degrees in a matter of minutes.
- (at around 15 mins) Dee Wallace said little acting was required in the scene where Lynne encounters the tarantula. Wallace said her fear of the spider was very much authentic.
- According to Suze Lanier-Bramlett the tension was at first quite high when the crew prepared to shoot the scene where Pluto rapes Brenda. As a gag to break the ice for everyone Lanier and Michael Berryman started making out during the first take. The whole crew laughed hysterically.
- (at around 22 mins) The dead dog used as a stand-in for the family's slaughtered Alsatian 'Beauty', widely believed to be a dummy dog, was in fact a real (already dead) dog that director Wes Craven and producer Peter Locke had bought from the county sheriff's department.
- There were two babies that were used in the film as the same character (Katy) though the baby is only credited as Brenda Marinoff.
- Wes Craven's original title for the film was 'Blood Relations'. Producer Peter Locke however disliked the title. Numerous titles were then considered and the film tested best under the title 'The Hills Have Eyes', though Craven himself initially disliked the title.
- When originally submitted to the MPAA, the film was given an X-rating which would have relegated it to the porno circuit and severely hurt the box-office returns. Wes Craven cut the film enough to secure an R rating, and the original director's cut is thought to be no longer in existence.
- Many of the props in the feral family's cave were from Robert A. Burns's previous project, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).
- Star Michael Berryman said he was once watching the film in a theater when a woman in front of him said aloud 'this movie is sick and depraved!' Berryman then thought it would be funny to lean over her and say 'you're damn right lady this movie is sick!'
- In an interview with star Suze Lanier-Bramlett she said that her agent strongly opposed her taking a role in the film fearing that it could ruin her career opportunities. However Lanier, who was a fan of the horror genre, liked Wes Craven so much that she went ahead and took the role of Brenda Carter anyway.
- Janus Blythe said Wes Craven kept insisting that she be covered in more dirt through out shooting because she looked too pretty to have been living in a desert all of her life.
- Janus Blythe, who plays Ruby in the film, was originally auditioned for the role of Lynne Wood. Blythe however wanted the role of Ruby instead.
- Auditioning for the role of Ruby required the actresses to have a foot race. When Wes Craven shouted for the actresses to go, Janus Blythe stood behind for a moment. Then after a moment took off and beat all the other actresses to the finish line. She was given the role.
- Janus Blythe at first refused to pick up the rattlesnake in the film. Producer Peter Locke tried to convince her to pick it up, but Blythe said she would only do it if Locke would pick it up too. Peter Locke quickly touched the snake and Blythe complied by picking up the snake in the scene.
- Michael Berryman's condition (Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia) means he has a lack of sweat glands, among other things. Despite this, he worked on the movie for five months in 100+ degrees heat out in the desert.
- The similarities to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) were intentional as Wes Craven was a huge fan of Tobe Hooper's film. He considered his film in part an homage to it.
- Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
- Bobby's (Robert Houston) handgun is a Colt M1911A.
- Big Bob's (Russ Grieve) handgun is a Colt Python Revolver.
- The Hills Have Eyes was supposed to be a metaphor for class conflict; racism and other ills. The Carters can be seen as rich in society; being confronted by Jupiter's family; the have-nots. Craven has said that the film expresses rage against American culture and the bourgeois. John Kenneth Muir views the Carters as representing the United States, while Schneider writes that the Carters are a bourgeois family while the film's cannibals can be understood as representing "any number of oppressed, embattled and downtrodden minority/social/ethnic groups," including the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, African Americans, hillbillies and the Viet Cong. Muir believes that while The Hills Have Eyes has and can be interpreted as an allegory about the Vietnam War, this is complicated by the fact that the Carters defeat their enemies, unlike the American forces in Vietnam. Muir instead sees the film as being about the class divide in America, with the Carters symbolizing the wealthy and Papa Jupiter's family representing the poor. He supports this theory by noting that the Carters and the cannibals are both from America
- Dee Wallace was the one break out star from this production. She would go on to star in "ET"; "The Howling" and "Cujo".
- After she finished shooting Hills Have Eyes Suze Lanier was hired to play Chrissy on Three's Company. Lanier only lasted a few weeks during pre-production and rehearsal, when Mickey Ross, the Executive Producer; realized Lanier was wrong for the role and fired her. Ironically Suze was replaced by another Suzanne; Suzanne Sommers; who became famous as Chrissy Snow (although Suzanne Sommers would eventually be fired from the production also). Before she was hired on Hills Have Eyes Lanier was a recurring character Bambi on Welcome Back Kotter; after this she mainly faded into obscurity.
- Wes Craven was in part inspired by an episode 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.
- Originally the ending of the movie wasn't as abrupt as it is on screen. There was additional footage shot after Doug kills Mars where we seeing the surviving Carters coming back together with Doug and Ruby. They embrace and Brenda takes Ruby by the hand and they walk away. The footage however was never used in the film in favor of a conclusion that was more shocking and bleak.
- (at around 1h 7 mins) For the scene where the feral family is eating Bob, the actors were actually eating a leg of lamb roast.
- The movie is based on the legend of Sawney Beane and his family (a wife, eight sons and six daughters), a feral clan who inhabited and roamed the highlands of Scotland's East Lothian County, near Edinburgh, in the early 1400s. They captured, tormented and ate several transients. They were eventually captured on the order of Scotland's King James, were judged to be insane, and executed without trial. The executions of the Beane clan all allegedly involved grotesque tortures, inspiring the aspect of the film that the Carter family become as brutal as their attackers when they seek revenge.
- Originally the film was going to be set in a forest in 1994, and most of the major cannibals were adolescents. The baby was also not stolen for food, but for a perverted religious ritual.