One year ago today, Wes Craven, Master of Horror, passed away. Now, this may not mean much to most people. I mean, after all, he is a celebrity and I understand not putting much stock in celebrities. However, Wes Craven played an integral part in my childhood, shaping my love of horror movies. Anyone who knows me, knows that my favorite monsters within the horror genre are the vampires. Also, werewolves, zombies, witches, you know, the kind of monsters who have been around since man figured out how to use his imagination. However, I have a special fondness for Wes Craven movies.
He brought us the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and took part in the Scream franchise, two of my favorites. Nightmare on Elm Street was one of the first horror movies I had seen. In 1984, I was too young to watch it but you better believe by the time I was 9 years old, I managed to sneak a peak (side note: Nightmare on Elm Street launched the career of one of my favorite all-time actors, Johnny Depp). In fact, out of all of the eighties slasher films, Nightmare on Elm Street was the scariest for me. I mean, with Jason Vorhees and Michael Myers, they were scary but there is something absolutely terrifying about a disfigured man invading your dreams and killing you. He entered your dreams and if you died in your dreams, you died in real life. What’s NOT scary about that? It’s creepy on a level that Jason and Michael just can’t reach, at least for me. Plus, because he is the only one of the three that actually talks, he has fun toying with you. The other two just want to kill you. Not that that isn’t scary in and of itself but Freddy wants to screw with you first before you die!
But in order to really pay homage to the man and the legend, I can’t complete this post without first mentioning the many other movies that he wrote, produced, and/or directed such as The Last House on the Left (both the original and the remake), The Hills Have Eyes (also, both the originals and the remakes), Shocker, The People Under the Stairs, My Soul to Take, and of course, my second favorite Wes Craven franchise, Scream.
Scream was my post-high-school horror movie love. For anyone who lives under a rock and doesn’t know the Scream franchise, it starts as two kids obsessed with horror movies and uses the horror movies of the eighties as a sort of guide book on how to kill. That’s the gist of it but the movies are done so well and my favorite memory of these movies: Watching them with my younger sister who was finally jumping on the horror movie band wagon. We bonded over these movies in a way that two sisters who are opposites couldn’t before. My sister and I have always been very close but these movies helped transcend that sisterly relationship.
It was actually the first movie that talked about the “rules to surviving a horror movie”. The rules always got more elaborate which each movie but it was basically a how-to guide to surviving a scary movie. This franchise even spawned a comedic parody made by the Wayans Brothers, called Scary Movie, which I’m sure, we’ve all seen or at least heard of. Just this year Wes Craven collaborated with MTV to spawn Scream, the TV series. At first, I really didn’t think I would like it. Most TV shows that have been created from a popular movie, usually don’t make it but this series, I will admit, is good. Of course, it has Wes Craven at the helm. I don’t know what will happen now that he has passed away.
Wes Craven was a writer, director, producer, and even an actor! He created so many movies; made a few video games, and even directed a few TV series – including 5 episodes of The Twilight Zone in 1985-1986 – throughout the course of his life. I didn’t know this and I don’t know how many people did know but he had Brain Cancer. He didn’t let it slow him down though. Even to the end, he was working on three different projects, The Girl in the Photographs (2015-post production), Home (2016-post production), and the aforementioned, Scream TV series. So here is to a man who became a horror movie God! You will be missed Mr. Craven!
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