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15 Facts About The Hills Have Eyes 2

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.

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Pop Culture
The Strange Hidden Link Between Silent Hill and Kindergarten Cop
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

by Ryan Lambie

At first glance, Kindergarten Cop and Silent Hill don't seem to have much in common—aside from both being products of the 1990s. At the beginning of the decade came Kindergarten Cop, the hit comedy directed by Ivan Reitman and starring larger-than-life action star Arnold Schwarzenegger. At the decade’s end came Silent Hill, Konami’s best-selling survival horror game that sent shivers down PlayStation owners’ spines.

As pop culture artifacts go, they’re as different as oil and water. Yet eagle-eyed players may have noticed a strange hidden link between the video game and the goofy family comedy.

In Silent Hill, you control Harry Mason, a father hunting for his daughter Cheryl in the eerily deserted town of the title. Needless to say, the things Mason uncovers are strange and very, very gruesome. Early on in the game, Harry stumbles on a school—Midwich Elementary School, to be precise—which might spark a hint of déjà vu as soon as you approach its stone steps. The building’s double doors and distinctive archway appear to have been taken directly from Kindergarten Cop’s Astoria Elementary School.

Could it be a coincidence?

Well, further clues can be found as you venture inside. As well as encountering creepy gray children and other horrors, you’ll notice that its walls are decorated with numerous posters. Some of those posters—including a particularly distinctive one with a dog on it—also decorated the halls of the school in Kindergarten Cop.

Do a bit more hunting, and you’ll eventually find a medicine cabinet clearly modeled on one glimpsed in the movie. Most creepily of all, you’ll even encounter a yellow school bus that looks remarkably similar to the one in the film (though this one has clearly seen better days).

Silent Hill's references to the movie are subtle—certainly subtle enough for them to pass the majority of players by—but far too numerous to be a coincidence. When word of the link between game and film began to emerge in 2012, some even joked that Konami’s Silent Hill was a sequel to Kindergarten Cop. So what’s really going on?

When Silent Hill was in early development back in 1996, director Keiichiro Toyama set out to make a game that was infused with influences from some of his favorite American films and TV shows. “What I am a fan of is occult stuff and UFO stories and so on; that and I had watched a lot of David Lynch films," he told Polygon in 2013. "So it was really a matter of me taking what was on my shelves and taking the more horror-oriented aspects of what I found.”

A scene from 'Silent Hill'
Divine Tokyoska, Flickr

In an interview with IGN much further back, in 2001, a member of Silent Hill’s staff also stated, “We draw our influences from all over—fiction, movies, manga, new and old.”

So while Kindergarten Cop is perhaps the most outlandish movie reference in Silent Hill, it’s by no means the only one. Cafe5to2, another prominent location in the game, is taken straight from Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers.

Elsewhere, you might spot a newspaper headline which references The Silence Of The Lambs (“Bill Skins Fifth”). Look carefully, and you'll also find nods to such films as The Shining, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho, and 12 Monkeys.

Similarly, the town’s streets are all named after respected sci-fi and horror novelists, with Robert Bloch, Dean Koontz, Ray Bradbury, and Richard Matheson among the most obvious. Oh, and Midwich, the name of the school? That’s taken from the classic 1957 novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, twice adapted for the screen as The Village Of The Damned in 1960 and 1995.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in 'Kindergarten Cop'
Universal Pictures

The reference to Kindergarten Cop could, therefore, have been a sly joke on the part of Silent Hill’s creators—because what could be stranger than modeling something in a horror game on a family-friendly comedy? But there could be an even more innocent explanation: that Kindergarten Cop spends so long inside an ordinary American school simply gave Toyama and his team plenty of material to reference when building their game.

Whatever the reasons, the Kindergarten Cop reference ranks highly among the most strange and unexpected film connections in the history of the video game medium. Incidentally, the original movie's exteriors used a real school, John Jacob Astor Elementary in Astoria, Oregon. According to a 1991 article in People Magazine, the school's 400 fourth grade students were paid $35 per day to appear in Kindergarten Cop as extras.

It’s worth pointing out that the school is far less scary a place than the video game location it unwittingly inspired, and to the best of our knowledge, doesn't have an undercover cop named John Kimble serving as a teacher there, either.

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entertainment
The 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix Right Now
Disney/Marvel
Disney/Marvel

If you’re in the mood for some speculative fiction and your pile of Arthur C. Clarke books has been exhausted, you could do worse than to tune in to Netflix. The streaming service is constantly acquiring new films in the sci-fi and fantasy genres that should satisfy most fans of alternative futures. Here are five of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix right now.

1. CUBE (1997)

This low-budget independent film may have helped inspire the current "escape room" attraction fad. Six strangers wake up in a strange room that leads only to other rooms—all of them equipped with increasingly sadistic ways of murdering occupants.

2. METROPOLIS (1927)

Inspiring everything from Star Wars to Lady Gaga, Fritz Lang’s silent epic about a revolt among the oppressed people who help power an upper-class city remains just as visually impressive today as it did nearly 100 years ago.

3. TROLL HUNTER (2010)

A Norwegian fairy tale with bite, Troll Hunter follows college-aged filmmakers who convince a bear trapper to take them along on his exploits. But the trapper fails to disclose one crucial detail: He hunts towering, aggressive trolls.

4. NEXT (2007)

Nic Cage stars a a magician who can see a few minutes into the future. He's looking to profit with the skill: the FBI and others are looking to exploit it.

5. THE HOST (2006)

A slow-burn monster movie from South Korea, The Host has plenty of tense scenes coupled with a message about environmental action: The river-dwelling beast who stalks a waterfront town is the product of chemical dumping.  

6. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2 (2017)

Marvel's tale of a misfit band of space jockeys was a surprise hit in 2014. The sequel offers more Groot, more Rocket Raccoon, and the addition of Kurt Russell as a human manifestation of an entire sentient planet.

7. STARDUST (2007)

Director Matthew Vaughn's adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel features Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro as supporting players in the tale of a man (a pre-Daredevil Charlie Cox) in search of a fallen star to gift to his love.

8. KING KONG (2005)

Director Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings) set his considerable sights on a remake of the 1933 classic, with the title gorilla pestered and exploited by opportunistic humans.

9. DONNIE DARKO (2001)

What will a teenage mope do when a giant rabbit tells him the world is about to end? The answer comes in this critical and cult hit, which drew attention for its moody cinematography and an arresting performance by a then-unknown Jake Gyllenhaal.  

10. ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (2016)

Soon we'll have a movie for every single major or minor incident ever depicted in the Star Wars universe. For now, we'll have to settle for this one-off that explains how the Rebel Alliance got their hands on the plans for the Death Star.

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