When it comes to true horror, The Hills Have Eyes series is hard to top. Let’s take a deeper look at the sequel to the 2006 remake.
1. The Hills Have Eyes 2 is not to be confused with The Hills Have Eyes Part II.
The Hills Have Eyes 2, made in 2007, is the sequel to the 2006 horror remake The Hills Have Eyes. The original The Hills Have Eyes, made in 1977, was written and directed by horror master Wes Craven. Craven went on to write and direct a sequel to the original in 1984 called The Hills Have Eyes Part II. While the original and remake versions of The Hills Have Eyes share storylines, the plots of their respective sequels do not.
2. The Hills Have Eyes 2 was a family affair.
The 2007 sequel was co-written by Wes Craven and his son Jonathan Craven, marking the first time the father and son had worked together on a script. Jonathan had previously worked as a props assistant on his father’s 1994 film, New Nightmare. In 2009, Jonathan would go on to co-produce The Last House on the Left, a remake of his father’s 1972 original.
3. The Cravens were inspired by James Cameron’s Aliens.
Wes and Jonathan tipped their hats to Cameron’s film, another successful horror sequel, by adding a military element to their film. But, instead of introducing an elite team of soldiers to fight their horrific foe (as Cameron did in Aliens), the two screenwriters made their main characters a group of young army reserve soldiers who are out of their element.
4. The screenplay was written in one month.
Because of budgetary concerns, Wes and Jonathan Craven holed up in a hotel to write the script as quickly as they could. They would write individual scenes and then pass them to one another at a rapid pace until the script was complete.
5. The Hills Have Eyes 2 was director Martin Weisz’s second feature film.
Prior to signing on, he was primarily known for directing music videos. His first feature film was 2006’s Grimm Love, which is also about cannibals.
5. While set on a military base in New Mexico, the film was shot in Morocco.
Budgetary reasons moved filming overseas.
6. The film originally had a different ending.
In the alternate ending, the group discovers a mutant named Hansel outside the mine who tells them to “Run away.” The screen then cuts to the credits.
7. The mutant makeup was no joke.
It took four hours each day to transform actor Derek Mears into the mutant called Chameleon. And Mears isn’t a stranger to updates of horror classics—he also went on to play Jason Voorhees in the 2009 remake of Friday the 13th.
8. The mutant makeup effects were designed by legendary effects artist Greg Nicotero.
Nicotero not only worked on the 2006 version of The Hills Have Eyes, but won an Oscar in 2006 for achievement in makeup for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and went on to supervise the zombie effects for the television show The Walking Dead.
9. The poster for The Hills Have Eyes 2 was banned by the MPAA for depicting torture.
The original image shows a mutant dragging a captive, whose outstretched hand claws at the ground in an attempt to escape, in a burlap sack. An updated version, featuring ostensibly lifeless legs coming out of the bag, was later approved.
10. The feces in the porta-potty scene can be found in your pantry.
They were actually just mashed up stewed prunes.
11. The mutants’ origins are revealed in a companion graphic novel.
The Hills Have Eyes: The Beginning, produced alongside the film, serves as a prequel to 2006’s The Hills Have Eyes. It chronicles the way the government kicked people off their land to conduct nuclear bomb tests, which then caused grotesque mutations in the people who stayed behind.
12. Michael Bailey Smith played the main villain in both The Hills Have Eyes and its sequel.
He played Pluto in the 2006 version of The Hills Have Eyes and Hades in The Hills Have Eyes 2.
13. Michael Berryman, who played the main mutant villain in the 1977 original, was slated to appear as a mutant in The Hills Have Eyes 2.
He ultimately declined a role due to ongoing contract negotiations.
14. The Hills Have Eyes 2 was accidentally screened to a theater full of children.
During the film’s theatrical run in 2007, a movie theater on Long Island accidentally played the movie in a theater meant to be showing the children’s movie The Last Mimzy. Angry parents were given vouchers for a free movie and the children’s movie shown a half hour later.
15. Jessica Stroup, who plays Amber, is no stranger to remakes.
She also stars in recent reboots of Prom Night and Beverly Hills 90210.