The Hills Have Eyes(1977)
The Hills Have Eyes is for Wes Craven a psychotic bridge between the shocker Last House On The Left and the more mainstream Nightmare On Elm Street. Shocker sensibilities are still at play here, some gruesome effects, like the Achilles injury close-up shot, but we note these are thrown on the baddies, where many of the others are given quiet deaths. The opening credits sequence seems at first a throwaway bit, like second unit footage with some soundtrack weirdness, maybe making Craven chuckle in the cutting room like a madman; however its a nightmare with a hill in shadow at dusk and an audio freak-out: a nightmare for the mainstream audience, which is his aim here despite the particulars-not just horror fans, but the nuclear family. Dissolution, death throes, losses, vengeance. Only the feral sister can make Mars vulnerable, and only a dog is right for Pluto. Jupiter's victory scene is a nightmare in the extreme, and I argue it's an uncomfortable moment, intentionally made uncomfortable, threatening to border on an incomprehensible manic screaming fest. The smart, mcgyver-like revenge of the heroes is again here, used in last house and the first freddie flick-a signature of early Wes Craven-the hero using a bit of ingenuity, his intellect informing and empowering him or her in his revenge, as fear melts away and the mind comes alive, saving the individual.