How are the Hills Have Eyes and Texas Chainsaw Franchises Similar?
The exhilarating feeling of an inbred maniac crunching just steps behind…the sound of a twisted hillbilly-type howl…the beast-like stature of a crazed redneck monster standing in the shadows – all features of the redneck-hillbilly-inbred genre of horror slasher movies. These calling cards are especially true for Wes Craven’s Hills Have Eyes and Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchises. It’s a little interesting, in fact, how much each of the movies relate to one another, both in theme and in killer.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise is notorious for taking advantage of trapped or unfortunate travelers who happen to cross through their deserted town. Like Hills Have Eyes victims, the prey in Texas do not realize their fate and oftentimes even interact with their killers before realizing how dangerous they are.
The Hills Have Eyes franchise follows suit in exploiting trapped or otherwise stranded victims, unaware of any violent danger. In fact, the stranded victims are normally more concerned for their overall survival in the desert environment at the start of the film.
Sadistic Family of Cannibals
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre highlights a deserted Texas town hosting an entire family of cannibal killers. The most notorious of the family being Leatherface, a slasher willing to not only eat human stew, but wear the face of his victims as a flesh mask.
Wes Craven’s Hills Have Eyes (1977) was released a couple years after Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), however, it also featured a family of cannibals willing to murder to survive, literally. The Hills Have Eyes hillbilly killers hunt to kill and cannibalize their prey.
Leatherface wears a mask because of his deformities and often changes his mask after killing new victims. The deformed looking mask of flesh contributes to his already deformed and scary appearance.
All of the Hills Have Eyes slashers are deformed due to the inbred results of a family of radiation-poisoned protesters.
Inbred / Mentally Challenged / Retardation
Leatherface is a mentally challenged killer, as explained by Sheriff Hoyt (before he is Sheriff of course), in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006).
In the Hills Have Eyes, a small town refuses to abandon a nuclear test site and winds up breeding mentally deranged psycho killers willing to trap travelers to survive.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre loves cooking, and their favorite meat is PERSON! Leatherface used to work butchering cattle, so he knows a thing or two about meathooks and how to slice someone open. The family uses the meat to cook their special stew. It’s probably really high in protein.
The Hills Have Eyes killers get points in the devious category, as they most certainly know how to handle a body. Oftentimes their traps drag humans through the desert, butchering them in the most vicious ways.
They Are Survivable
Unlike many other horror slashers one might encounter, the potential victims of both The Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies and The Hills Have Eyes movies have a chance at survival. There are numerous instances of surviving for a number of potential victims throughout both series of films.
Of course, comparing the Hills Have Eyes to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre would not feel right without at least including an honorable mention for cult-following franchise “Wrong Turn.” Wrong Turn also does a fantastic job of reinventing the redneck-hillbilly horror genre. Wrong Turn is set in the deep woods of West Virginia, an environment not truly exploited yet in the previous franchises. Hills Have Eyes is notoriously desert-themed…and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre is set in the diverse terrain of Texas (showcasing a little woodland, but more so desert and swamplands).
Tritone’s love of horror and mystery began at a young age. Growing up in the 80’s he got to see some of the greatest horror movies play out in the best of venues, the drive-in theater. That’s when his obsession with the genre really began—but it wasn’t just the movies, it was the games, the books, the comics, and the lore behind it all that really ignited his obsession. Tritone is a published author and continues to write and write about horror whenever possible.