Even before the remake of Wes Craven's "The Hills Have Eyes" hit theaters it got known that the MPAA had demanded several cuts in order to get the more lucrative "R-Rating". Because of that the movie was only released in a cut version in US theaters. Releasing longer DVD versions and unrated material is common policy of the studios these days and so the uncut version, which otherwise would have received an NC-17 rating, was released as an unrated DVD in the US.
But compared to other extended versions in recent years, the unrated version of "The Hills Have Eyes" features - apart from one exception - solely extended scenes of violence. The number of cuts made is very high for American circumstances: roundabout every second scene featuring violence had to be censored and with alltogether 31 altered scenes, all due to censorship, the movie reigns among the most heavily cut titles in recent years to get an R-Rating.
For this report the cut R-Rated theatrical version, featured on the R-Rated US-DVD was compared to the uncut US-Unrated DVD.
Start of the movie
One gets to see slightly more (only 8 Frames) of the pickaxe sticking in the head of the guy with the radiation suit.
In the unrated version, the perforated guy in the radiation suit lies slightly longer (7 frames) on the ground before the mutant picks him up with the pickaxe. The R-Rated version therefor features a longer shot of the waterbag pouring its contents on the dusty floor (7 frames as well). So there's no time difference but the unrated version is somewhat nastier.
The guy hooked on the pickaxe gets slammed on a rock three times, in the theatrical version only once. Everytime the pickaxe hits the stone there are sparks - the man screams.
Suicide of the gas station guy
American censorship is known to feature cuts that are often only glimpses of seconds (cp.: "Saw" or the forklift-truck-cut in "Licence to Kill"), which is why the next cut is very hard to recognize:
When the gas station attendant shoots himself through the chin in the head with the shot gun, there are exactly 3 frames missing from the first shot of his exploding head. This equals roughly a tenth of a second...
The shot of the headless corpse the gas station attendant is slightly longer. But this short moment is also the most explicit: the father, who had to witness the suicide, casts a shadow on the corpse and moves slowly to the right. This way the shadow fades and light falls on the gas station guy.
The nightly assault on the family
A closeup of the arm of the burning father is missing. The skin is burning. Also missing is the next shot featuring the melting face of the man and his eyes going blind because of the heat.
The mutant takes the shrieking bird a bit longer out of the cage.
The first shot of the mutant squeezing the now headless bird over his mouth is longer in the unrated version. Only the unrated version features an additional closeup of what's happening.
The unrated version features another shot of the father burning at the tree and the futile attempts to put him out with a fire extinguisher. The theatrical version therefor has the shot of the wife desperately punching Doug who is trying to put the fire out.
Despite the alternate material the unrated version runs 8 frames longer.
The mutant with the hat hits the other mutant, who had forced Brenda to the bed, some more.
Also missing is an intermediate shot showing the screaming Brenda.
Brenda struggles a bit longer with the mutant wearing the hat after he has hit her with the pillow.
The mutant attacks Brenda longer. Two shots are extended: Brenda screams and defends herself some more, the mutant pins her in the beginning of the next shot longer to the bed.
The shot in which the mutant unbuttons his pants in front of Brenda, who is lying on the bed, and then grabs her some more is 3 frames longer towards the end.
The next shot of Brenda is missing completely, and 3 more were inserted in the R-Rated version later on: relocated is how Brenda tries to get to the window and sticks her hand in the blinds (3 shots), the next shot, another closeup of her face, is missing.
The following shot of the mutant's face is 3 frames longer in the r-rated version.
Extended closeup of Brenda. The following shot, when she sticks her hand in the blinds again, is extended as well.
There's another shot of the screaming Brenda missing. The mutant grabs her shoulder from behind. The following shot of the mutant shaking his head back and forth is also longer in the beginning.
The second mutant in the caravan bends longer over the baby.
After the baby has touched the chin of the other mutant in the caravan, the burning father is seen again. This following shot is extended in the unrated version and additionally we get a sideshot of the burning man.
The r-rated version has instead another shot of Doug trying to put out the fire with the extinguisher (1,83 sec.).
Despite this shot, which is not featured in the unrated version, the unrated cut runs longer:
Two shots are missing: the totally scared woman who freaks out because of her baby and the mutant in the foreground as well as a shot where you see from bird's eye perspective that the mutant points his revolver at the baby.
After the mutant has touched the mother's face (cover scene) the father, who now has burned to death at the tree but nevertheless gets sprayed upon with the fire extinguisher, is seen a bit longer.
In the r-rated version the shot where the mutant lowers the revolver slowly towards the mother is slightly longer.
That the theatrical version here runs longer is due to alternate material shown in the following sequence (the headshot).
In the unrated version there's a closeup of the mutant shooting the woman kneeling in front of him (the mother) in the head. In the following sequence blood splatters on the wall, then the woman falls to the side. The next shot of the screaming Brenda is also slightly longer in the unrated version (5 frames).
The r-rated version is shorter and shows occasionally alternate material:
Here the headshot can be heard in the off while you see an interior wall on which blood splatters. The bloody interior wall is seen later on in the unrated version as well but here the blood splatting on it is missing - which is unnecessary of course as you see the whole thing happening on another wall (s.a.).
Because of the long alternate wall sequence in the theatrical version the uncut version runs only slightly longer:
Shots from the unrated version:
Shots from the r-rated version:
Before finding the tombstones in the cave the guy with the glasses walks around a bit longer in the unrated version. He finds the graves and points the flashlight on them. Only then comes the closeup of the illuminated graves, like in the theatrical version.
The theatrical version has instead a longer closeup in this scene.
Here the light of the flashlight is not on a grave at once but moves a bit to the left at first. This slight move is missing in the unrated version (1 sec).
Duration of the new material in the unrated version:
Both shots of the mutant cutting Dougís fingers are shorter in the theatrical version. In the first shot (axe hitting finger) 5 frames are cut, in the next shot (Doug pulling away his hand) 15 frames are missing. This way, he pulls a bit longer before his hand is released from the axe in the unrated version.
Doug holds the axe a bit longer in front of the mutant whom he had just pinned the little US flag through the throat. The reason for the cut is probably that the mutant with the flag still sticking in his throat is seen in the foreground
In the unrated version thereís another shot of the mutant with the axe in his head.
The r-rated version has instead a longer shot of Doug.
No time difference
Doug screws around the axe in the back of the mutant with the rack around the neck.
The mutant lays a bit longer on the ground.
The camera zooms in on the face of the mutant who has the axe sticking in this eye.
The r-rated version has instead a longer shot of Doug.
No time difference
In the first shot (a long distant shot when the boy is seeing whatís going on for the first time) the mutant chews longer on the dead mother.
In the second shot, the mutant is still chewing on the dead mother before he notices the boy who is watching him.
The theatrical version misses out the first hit Doug serves the mutant with the distorted lip with the butt of the rifle. Before that, Doug slowly walks up to him.
Doug hits the mutantís face once more with the butt of the rifle and swings it again.
When Doug fires the shotgun at the mutant one shot and the hit in the throat are missing ; blood splatters from the wound. So he shoots three times in the unrated verson instead of two.