I was 6 years old. My parents were in the living room, and I snuck into their bedroom (where the only other TV was) to watch A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors on Channel 11’s “movie of the week.” I met Freddy Krueger, and I was hooked forever. At 33, I am a horror fanatic and gorehound, and I owe it all to Wes Craven and his most intimidating creation. Tonight, with a tear in my eye, I’m writing that Wes Craven, one of the pillars of the horror film world for over 40 years, has passed away from brain cancer, according to Deadline. He was 76.
More on this legendary icon, and watch him in the video here below talking about what he loved.
Craven’s film career began with 1972’s The Last House on the Left, a film so brutal it landed on the famed Video Nasties list. What he got most out of that tale of rape, murder, and revenge was notoriety. He continued that trend with The Hills Have Eyes in 1977, another vicious film that drew ire from critics, but applause from horror fans. He would continue padding his resume with genre films like Deadly Blessing in 1981, and a Hills sequel in 1984, before he found his muse and created an icon of horror and mainstream cinema. The film was A Nightmare on Elm Street, and the character was burned boogeyman Freddy Krueger. Unlike famous silent slashers Michael Myers and Jason, Freddy was loud and proud, and would crack one-liners right before he killed you. Played by makeup covered Robert Englund, Freddy’s introduction onscreen was horrific. He appeared in a dark alley, razor glove scraping the wall, before telling young Tina (Amanda Wyss) “This… is God!” Craven claimed to name Krueger after a bully who tormented him in school.
After Nightmare, Craven was a household name even though he didn’t return to direct the sequel. He would direct three other ’80s horror films, including the absolutely terrifying Serpent and the Rainbow starring Bill Pullman. I had nightmares about the TV commercials for that film. Another of my favorite films was his 1991’s The People Under the Stairs, which combined horror with dark humor. After 5 sequels, he returned as writer/director to end the Nightmare saga with 1994’s Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. My dad took my friend and I to see it, and it scared the heck out of us.
Just when horror films were becoming passe, it was the Cleveland-born Craven who helped reinvigorate the genre with Scream in 1996. The film called out all the horror cliches, and helped invent new ones, setting the stage for countless theatrical and straight-to-DVD knockoffs and clones, as well as three Craven-led sequels. Wes Craven had 29 directorial credits on IMDb, almost all in the horror genre; although he did direct the great Meryl Streep in Music of the Heart in 1999. Along with John Carpenter, he was the most meaningful horror director of the past half century. Three of his films were already remade, and Scream is now an MTV television series, and has already gotten greenlit for a second season. Wes Craven’s legacy in cinema will never be forgotten. New Line, the once small studio that released Nightmare back in 84, is now referred to as “the house that Freddy built.” Wes Craven, the maestro of horror, is survived by his wife Iya, and his two sons from a previous marriage.
RIP Wes Craven
August 2, 1939 – August 30, 2015
Happy Halloween from Wes Craven – 2008
Happy Halloween! Here are some YouTube picks for my favorite holiday. Enjoy! -Wes
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) Official Trailer – Wes Craven, Johnny Depp Horror Movie
In the dreams of his victims, a spectral child murderer stalks the children of the members of the lynch mob that killed him.