The horror film genre is one that many take for granted. Sure, in this day and age, we seldom see any originality in the horror films that “grace” our screens, but if someone can create a work of cinema that is truly haunting and has you terrified to go to sleep that night, they have surely accomplished something that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Wes Craven was one such filmmaker.
If you consider yourself to be a horror fan and have not heard of Mr. Craven, you are doing something gravely wrong. From 1972 to 2011, Craven was instrumental in the creation of some of the most clever, memorable, and thoroughly frightening horror films in cinematic history. With a keen sense for the macabre, the occult, and the fantastical, Craven was the master of taking smiling American kids and families and sending them on a roller coaster through hell. After creating the shocking exploitation cult classic The Last House on the Left, he went on to make the original The Hills Have Eyes, The Serpent and the Rainbow, and the fan favorite Scream franchise.
And oh, yeah, he’s also behind the man of everyone’s dreams with his A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984.
Mr. Craven has served as an inspiration to aspiring filmmakers (including yours truly) across the globe for his writing and directorial style. While some admire the fantasy/horror approach of most of his films, others find solace in the subtle horror satire commentary in films such as Scream and New Nightmare. Plus, of course, the ability to make big scares with a small budget is always something worth admiring. The man was well known and well respected by fellow horror directors and actors; throughout his career, he was nominated for several awards and won a few Critics’ Choices and awards at numerous film festivals. On a personal note, Craven created some of my favorite horror films and films in general.
Craven passed away in his home in Los Angeles on August 30 from his battle with brain cancer at the age of 76. The horror genre and industry will not be the same without Craven, as no one will be able to capture the same genius and creative ingenuity that he expressed throughout his films. The man is simply a legend, plain and simple. Fellow filmmakers such as John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) as well as actors such as Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead), Nathan Fillion (ABC’s Castle), and Neve Campbell (Scream series) have expressed their condolences and memories for Craven in the past few days, and the season finale of MTV’s Scream: The Series will feature a tribute to the director.
May you rest in peace Mr. Craven, and may your films bring screams and nightmares to generations to come.
(Title image via under CC BY 2.0)