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Alexandre Aja Talks About HILLS HAVE EYES Edits!!

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

Tomorrow, I’ve got two reviews for you. One is for BRICK, and the other is for THE HILLS HAVE EYES. And, honestly, I’m not sure which one I liked more. HILLS HAVE EYES is pretty great, and it surprised the hell out of me.

We got in this e-mail today from Joe Utuchi, who feels the same way I do, evidently. Take the spoiler warnings very seriously before you click any links in this letter, though:

Hey Harry,

Don't know if you've had a chance to see Alexandre Aja's remake of The Hills Have Eyes yet, but it's awesome. I've now been to see it twice, once in London last week and again yesterday in Paris where I also caught up with Alexandre, for the second time after speaking to him for High Tension. We spoke about the cuts he had to make to get it down to an R-rating and, also, about his new movie The Waiting. Thought you guys might be interested. Here are the stories:

On the cuts to get it down to an R (HUGE spoiler warnings if you're not overly familiar with the original, and still spoiler warnings if you are)

On The Waiting

If you haven't had a chance to see Hills yet, make amends. I'm very, very tough on horror 'cos I believe with horror it's either hit or miss and it's usually miss, but this remake is probably one of the best Horror films I've seen since The Descent last year or, dare I say it, High Tension.

All the best,

Joe Utichi

Editor, FilmFocus.Co.UK

Thanks, Joe. I’m dying to see the DVD version of this, but I will stress that you shouldn’t worry about getting ripped off in the theater. This is one of the hardest R-rated films I’ve ever seen. This film is upsetting because of how rough it plays, and I have to give Aja real credit for being very good at what he does. In my opinion, he actually eclipsed the original, and it’s a hell of an indicator of what he’s capable of in the future. Now I can’t wait to see his version of the Charles Burns graphic novel BLACK HOLE with a script by Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary, or THE WAITING.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 22, 2006, 5:50 a.m. CST

    An another First!!!

    by Foxman


  • Feb. 22, 2006, 5:51 a.m. CST

    Director's cut...

    by Det. John Kimble

    I think they do all this cutting just to pump the damn DVD sales.

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 5:57 a.m. CST

    "the best Horror films I've seen since The Descent"

    by zikade zarathos

    God, THE DESCENT was awful. I'm really looking forward to THE HILLS HAVE EYES, though, as I'm a huge fan of HAUTE TENSION. I wasn't even that pumped about it, but last night I saw a commercial for it that had a little deformed girl that looked amazing. Can't wait.

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 6:06 a.m. CST

    Wow Mori

    by BendersShinyAss

    If ever you didn't really like a film, but wanted to convince me to see it because it's great (i think the term is plant) Then write an artical like this. short and sweet, telling nothing, full of enthusiasm - and TOTALLY convincing. Now, am I going to have nightmares?

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 6:16 a.m. CST

    Just one more reason to wait for the DVD

    by Trazadone

    "Director cut" is the main reason I don't bother wasting $ in movie theaters anymore. I'd rather wait for the film to come out on DVD 3 months later and see the director's cut. Hey, I skipped Harry Potter and it's out on DVD next week.

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 6:20 a.m. CST

    Heres a clip to show how kickass it looks

    by Ridge

    WARNING it IS a spoiler of a death ok? So DONT go clicking it unless you really wanna see some good stuff :D So again, it IS a spoiler clip so keep away if you don't wanna know anything. there ya go :)

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 6:23 a.m. CST

    But Ridge...

    by BannedOnTheRun

    Is he *really* dead? And which one's the Democrat? I love cerebral political debate like this.

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 6:37 a.m. CST

    He sounds like a whiny bitch about the cuts

    by I Dunno

    "They're stifling my creativity!" Give me a fucking break, Fellini.

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 7:32 a.m. CST


    by Anna Valerious

    I'm not sure if the original had to do with nuclear mutants, but that distorted little girl in the remake is just freaky.

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 7:46 a.m. CST


    by chaos731

    Yeah, the fact that the hill-folk in the original are at least partially mutated by nuclear testing is touched on...albeit very the original. They are mutated by the fact that they are so inbred, and the "radiation" just made things a bit worse for them. Oh, and to "I Dunno", Aja is the director of this film, and like most directors I know (and I know several), he views each film like it's his brand new baby. He's a proud poppa, as he should be (you'd never find Uwe Boll having this kind of pride in his work). How would you like it if, the day after your baby was born, a group of people walked up to you and told you they didn't like the gender of your child, or didn't like the way its ears looked, or something, and told you to change it, or else you couldn't bring your baby out in public. That would be, intrinsically, stifling the result of the creative process (albeit literally, but it's a metaphor, so get over it). So, Fellini or not, he's a director, and he's got every right (and responsibility) to be proud and protective of his "baby". Yes, he's French, and yes, he's a bit whiny, but hey...he's got every right to be.

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 8:03 a.m. CST

    It just won't be the same without Barryman

    by rev_skarekroe

    "You wait'll you get to be man!"

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 8:11 a.m. CST

    What I want to know is...

    by chaos731

    ...will anyone in the remake utter those timeless lines, "Baby's's fat...fat 'n' juicy!"

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 8:34 a.m. CST

    No, they don't.

    by Tom Whitaker

    Saw it last night. It's nice and violent but not particularly tense or scary - a throwaway, entertaining night at the flicks, but not the 'classic' some are hailing it as. I preferred Haute Tension (at least until the crappy last 20 minutes).

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 8:58 a.m. CST

    I thought this was the Pamela Anderson bio film...

    by Darth Bono Jr.

    I stand corrected.

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 9:03 a.m. CST

    Black Hole could really be something

    by Silver_Joo

    It's not like Haute Tension wasn't pretty harsh as far as modern horror goes. I enjoyed that film, although yeah, the ending is a bit showy but the style and the pacing was fasntastic, as was De France. Black Hole is something altogether more weird, that needs to be Lynch creepy but also powerful. I'll be very interested to see where he talkes that comic.

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 9:55 a.m. CST

    High Tension

    by expert24

    I belief that most people who hate HT is because of the ridiculous final twish which I myself hated too! But until the final act knowone seems to want to give it the respect it deserves as a horror film. HT was downright creepy, The Killer just freaked me out, growing up we never saw Michael, Jason, Freddy, or even Leatherface getting blow jobs from severed heads, that's just disgusting and the thought in its self is downright disturbing, and unsettlting as a human being. The atmosphere was dead on for creating dread and hopelessness, the music worked perfect with no jump cues but odd sounds. It's a creepy and unsettling film which is why i like it so much, Aja is going to take creepiness to the next level with HH eyes remake, and at least this time there won't be a stupid twist ending.

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 10:53 a.m. CST

    What Ds and Rs will survive & what will be left of them

    by Angry White baby

    Interesting that Big Bob is a R(epublican) and dies a horrible, painful death and Doug is a D(emocrat) and becomes the hero... (yawn)... I can only imagine what OTHER political commentary Aja has in store (I wonder if Doug is also gay.. and a cowboy... eating pudding...). Regardless, it looks to be "more of the same"; I still want to see it and reserve some judgement until I see it for myself, but how much does anyone want to bet it will have the Nine Inch Nails look, some Mikey Bay editing, etc etc.? Ah well.. we shall wait and see...

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Does Bobby turn out to be Pluto?

    by BitterMan23

    It looks good but the fact that Aja wrote it (and made some changes, you can tell just from the trailer) scares me. High Tension had the most idiotic ending I have ever seen in a film, completely negating everything that came before it. Hopefully he hasn't done the same thing here.

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 11:22 a.m. CST

    The "dead bad guy standing back up" idea is LAME!!!!!!!

    by Nate Champion

    Cuts have no impact on the lack of originality for such an idea. Come the fuck on, Aja... you think you're reinventing the fucking wheel when the dead guy suddenly pops back to life?? Get real, asshole. Try worrying about your plot next time and less about so-called censorship. And for the record I didn't hear any whining when they dubbed High Tension for release. That's more offensive than removing any gore shots. Why is it so difficult to find a goddamn horror filmmaker who gives two shits about originality? Eli Roth, Aja, Greg McLean... all have the skills to make a real impact but barely a moment between them that doesn't feel rehashed. Sad.

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 11:42 a.m. CST

    he's right, the MPAA ratings board sucks

    by Russman

    Thank god we have uncut DVDs. Was the original any good?

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 11:57 a.m. CST

    are you guys serious about the twist in HT?

    by hattori_hanzo

    all you have to do is look at the those sequences thru marie's eyes and you realize, like most schizos, her fanatsy world is quite a bit different than reality... there was no van, it was all marie's imagination, much like the male incarnation of the killer...

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 11:58 a.m. CST

    when i was a baby i couldn't go out in public either

    by the beef

    Well, you know there are some directors that just shouldn't be breeding anyway, so who really cares if they fuck up their "masterpiece". I'm just bull-shitting, he does have a right to be angry if he is censored. That's what makes the difference between HOUSE OF A THOUSAND CORPSES and THE DEVIL'S REJECTS. Also, am I really the only one so far that hated the original THE HILLS HAVE EYES? This was the best damn remake idea yet in my opinion. They attached a talented director to remake a pretty crappy original. GREAT IDEA!!! quit fucking with the good originals.

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 2:21 p.m. CST

    Cuts for the 'R' ratimg

    by DirkD13"

    Does this mean they'll leave it alone for us Brits and just rate it '18'. We normally get more hardcore versions of films so does anyone know????

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 2:28 p.m. CST

    We normally get more hardcore versions of films so does

    by Ridge

    So the british get more hardcore versions... just like Starwars Episode 2 where they censored Jango headbutting Obi Wan? Or Ninja Turtles where Michaelangelos nunchuka were censored in one or two scenes???

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 3:40 p.m. CST

    Ask the slime 'aja' if it has a lawyer in USA.

    by SalvatoreGravano

    For the plagiarism trial.

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 4:19 p.m. CST

    So tired of every AICN review starting with...

    by heywood jablomie

    ...."I was surprised at how good it was." Yeah. And I was surprised at how bad it sucked. Time and time and time again, the AICN columnists write these "Y' LOOKS shitty...but really, it's pretty good!" reviews. Then the movie turns out to reek. (See under every genre movie of the last three years.) And then the reviewer goes on to bash Paul Haggis or some other worthy soul. Good inside tidbits on this site, but the "criticism" is retardate.

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 5:08 p.m. CST


    by -guyinthebackrow

    sucked. Was not scary. Was idiotic. Made zero sense. And what does that guy have against Lezies?

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 5:30 p.m. CST

    At least he's calling it a remake this time

    by Domi'sInnerChild

    High Tension was the biggest rip off I've ever seen. It was like shot for shot the same as Intensity until the ending that everybody hated (actually, everybody hated the Intensity ending as well). That said, the dude from Scrubs sniffing people was actually creepier than a fat old guy jacking off with a severed head.

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 8:06 p.m. CST

    Emilie de Raven

    by Itchy

    Isn't she in this Hills Have Eyes remake ? And if so, any titties ? She's unbelievably hot.

  • Feb. 22, 2006, 9:48 p.m. CST

    de raven

    by ectocriminal

    is in it, gets raped by cannibal mutant inbreds i believe. maybe her tits pop out during the tussle.

  • Feb. 23, 2006, 12:43 a.m. CST

    I think there was a van in Haute Tension

    by Shan

    I thought that all the scenes with Marie and her "friend" including the drive to the house and meeting her "friend's" parent's was the hallucination ... she'd fixated on this girl and her family and imagined a whole friendship and series of interactions. She'd driven up in the van to spy on the family while the other girl drove there on her own. After all, after the slaughter in the house, they have to be driving around in something and this would explain the van. Mind you, this is just my opinion/theory.

  • Feb. 23, 2006, 2:21 a.m. CST

    Worst Ending in the History of Cinema

    by chien_sale

    Hauten Tension

  • Feb. 23, 2006, 4:31 a.m. CST

    The most impossible scene in HT is the car chase.

    by Walterego

    I have heard some creative explanations for other story problems in HT, and they get a No Prize for their effort, but the car chase is simply inexplicable. Marie can't chase herself and be wounded from the crash. If we are to suppose that she imagined it all and bashed her head herself then that is passing ridiculous. I think Shan is right that Marie never met the family or slept in the house, because this is why her bedroom is untouched, her bathroom sink dry and her bed is made when the killer enters. The girl I saw this with said she liked the twist because up to that point Marie had made a lot of stupid errors, and the twist at least validated her mistakes, like not checking the handgun for bullets, giving her knife away, not providing the cops with her location, etc. We had spent the movie calling her a moron and heckling her every move. For me however the movie was nonsense even before the twist and then complete nonsense after. Slasher flicks after Halloween 2 have generally been silly anyway, I'll take a good zombie film over a slasher flick anyday.

  • Feb. 23, 2006, 7:53 a.m. CST

    Trying to apply logic to a horror film...

    by Mr Bungle like taking a vampire sunbathing - they both shrivel up in the cold light of day. HT was perfectly fine, sure the ending was weak but who gives a flying fuck once it strives to be different (which it was). Overly nitpicky film buffs are the most wretchedly contemptible passive people I can think of. They bring shame to the term 'nerd'. You either love the medium or you don't. If you don't - become a tabloid journalist, that's all they're good for anyway - picking shit apart like it was personal in the first place. There really are some sorry sacks of shit on these talkbacks. The Hills Have Eyes looks alright but I'm not really into remakes, I'm into innovation.

  • Feb. 24, 2006, 10:45 p.m. CST

    A "Political" Movie? God Help Us!

    by HostileOrganismX

    I'm not sure stabbing a Mutant to death with an American flag makes a movie "political." But a Frenchman making an "American" movie in Morocco... That's political.