It was a sad day for horror enthusiasts yesterday. Wes Craven, age 76, passed away after battling brain cancer for many years.
I decided I am not going to post a long article about his history or how he became a horror pioneer in the industry. There are tons out there already and being written as we speak.
We all know what he was known for – A Nightmare of Elm Street and Scream. Maybe some of you don’t know that the first feature film he directed was Last House on the Left, followed by The Hills Have Eyes, which are both movies that have since been remade.
But these movies are all reasons why we enjoyed watching his work, and why we love horror.
I grew up in the 80’s, which was the time when the horror genre flourished in my opinion. We had Stephan King and The Shining, CreepShow, Victor Miller and Friday the 13th, Halloween, and of course…A Nightmare on Elm Street.
I was born in 1984, so I was super young and probably should not have been watching heads being chopped off and teens getting sucked into their beds, but my dad was a big movie buff and watching them together was just something we did.
I remember watching Freddy Krueger and thinking, meh…he isn’t THAT scary. But what terrified me the most were all the things this psycho did without seeing him. Using strings to puppet someone, turning a woman into a cockroach, and wheelchairs moving on their own are just 3 of the many reasons why A Nightmare on Elm Street was truly creepy, and why we loved and thanked Wes Craven for making it all possible.
All of the films mentioned above have been major influences in my admiration for the horror genre. I think back at those movies and say, “they don’t make them like they used to”. I remember scenes that have truly made my skin crawl and try to open my mind to think outside the box for my own writing, like Craven did. He opened many doors for many aspiring filmmakers in the horror genre, as well as authors.
I may never be as good as Wes Craven, but I can thank him for helping me find that deep, dark part of my brain where all the gritty, bloody, scary, creepy good stuff is stored.
So tell me, how has Wes Craven influenced you? Which of his movies was your favorite?