The Hills Have Eyes
Arrow released a new Blu-ray of the Wes Craven horror classic with a 4K transfer of this gritty, ugly, nasty film. It looks like the ‘70s come to life in your living room. Still dusty and grainy, The Hills Have Eyes gives you that sense that you’re seeing something you shouldn’t be seeing.
It is a consistent look for most of the film, although when it is pitch black you can’t avoid seeing a few white specs on the film. But like Texas Chainsaw Massacre or I Spit on Your Grave, The Hills Have Eyes should look rough. New interviews and commentaries log the cast recollections on record, and keep some of the classic content too.
Even in 2K, the new transfer of John Carpenter’s The Thing looks great. Interestingly, it ditches the Universal logo from the front. The picture is clear enough to see tracks in the white snow, the bright blue sky and flaming bright orange helicopter wreckage. At night the blue light is beautiful.
Inside the Antarctic station is just as sharp. The gory red autopsy and twisted prosthetics of incomplete transitions maintains full slimy detail. All the dripping goo is shiny. A few of the dark interiors flare up a tad and the soft corners of the anamorphic frame remain where they were originally. Matte work stands out but makes you appreciate the technique.
New interviews include Mick Garris interviewing Carpenter and he gets into his music. Among the cast, Keith David, Wilfred Brimley, Joel Polos, David Clennon, Thomas G. Waites, Peter Maloney and Richard Masur all come back for interviews. Brimley today is still intimidating. A particularly fun bonus feature focuses on novelization author Alan Dean Foster. That makes me nostalgic.
This double feature in the Vestron Video line maintain the pure fun of ‘80s horror movies, with a love of other movies themselves. I actually like the sequel a little more, even though it’s more time travel than wax figures come to life, maybe just because I liked the genres they explored better.
Waxwork in HD lets you see the gory practical effects with bright blood spraying, especially in the vampire episode with exploding heads splattering blood all over the heroine’s white dress in a white room.
You can totally see the “wax” actors move while they try to hold still, but you don’t need HD to see that. You always could. The print may get a bit hazy due to the age of the materials, but the sequel looks a bit more consistent, perhaps because it was made in 1992. Star Zach Galligan and director Anthony Hickox give good commentaries about each film, and Galligan is even self-critical about his own weight gain.
The 2K scan of the original Chucky movie gives us a perfect picture to see the gritty Chicago backalleys, the bright Good Guy doll colors and snowy neighborhoods around the city.
New bonus features show us a full hour of VHS footage in Howard Berger’s studio figuring out how to make Chucky work, including all the robot bodies. You get to see actor Ed Gale test walking for when he doubled for Chucky. A new commentary by director Tom Holland has some good information too, including the projects he didn’t do at the time of Child’s Play. Did we know they tried recording Jessica Walter’s voice?
How had I never heard of Vamp? Two college dorm rats need to find a stripper to get into a fraternity house and Grace frigging Jones is the vampire stripper! This ’80s dude bro vampire one-nighter is a joy and looks great on Blu-ray.
The beginning is a tad washed out. It really comes to life when Jones shows up paintd white and red haired with green light on stage. When she vamps out she rips a hole in her victim’s neck, showing off all the gory detail and her vampire face. Green lighting makes the downtown streets come to life too.
They got everyone back for a 44 min documentary except for Jones. VHS footage of Jones rehearsing and hearing her vibrator stories from the cast represent her well enough. Richard Wenk’s 22 minute short Dracula Bites the Big Apple looks good too, like 1979 16mm film shooting 1979 New York. It’s a fun musical comedy with dancing hookers and homeless people. Surprised Peter Loewy didn’t become a comic actor. His name is almost Vampires Kiss as it is!
This new 2K transfer sometimes flickers and brings out the rough edges, but most of it is crisp and sharpens Brian De Palma’s screen composition. Darkened shots inside the White household really hold up.
Between new interviews and classic DVD extras, I don’t think there could possibly be any more to say about Carrie. Everyone but Travolta is represented in one feature or another.