Producer Peter Locke approached us in 2016 to scan and restore Wes Craven’s 1977 horror classic, The Hills Have Eyes. The film was originally shot on 16mm, but was blown up to 35mm at the time. The whereabouts of the 16mm camera original film were unknown, but we were given several boxes of materials containing CRIs (Color Reversal Intermediates), prints, and audio, in both 16mm and 35mm.
The available elements were well worn and came from two different sets of intermediates, made by different labs. We scanned the best reels at 4k to 10 bit DPX sequences on our Northlight, and began the process of assembling the film shot by shot from the best available pieces.
"The image quality is such a tremendous improvement in every possible way it's astonishing"
Once picture was reassembled and synced back up with the audio, we reconstructed the original ending, to be added to the Blu-ray release as a bonus feature. Grading was overseen by Locke, who gave it final approval. Restoration took several weeks due to the high level of wear and damage to the CRIs. There was extensive dust throughout, which was removed with a combination of manual and automatic digital dustbusting techniques. Several frames were severely torn, requiring frame by frame paint work to rebuild missing areas.
The Hills Have Eyes was released by Arrow Video in a limited edition Blu-ray, and was named one of the top Blu-rays of 2016 by the British Film Institute.