Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wes Craven: A Master of Horror

It's that time of year again! That's right, time to bust out the candy corn, rubber spiders, popcorn balls, and scary movies for Halloween. While your trolling the horror film aisle or category on Netflix, be sure to check out one of the masters of horror movies, Wes Craven. Of the over 30 movies he has either directed, written or produced, I have seen 22 over the course of my life.

Yeah, I guess you could say I'm a fan.

Craven blends horror with complex plots and story concepts, and original characters. If you want to read and hear about more horror movies and directors, or films in general, be sure to check out my buddy Joel's awesome page, Forgottenflix.
One of the earliest Craven directed movies I saw was Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Between the fedora, black and red striped sweater, and claws, the sadistic child murderer, Freddy Krueger, was one monster you did not want creeping around in your subconscious. The pairing of horror and nightmares has always been significant, but Craven's creation of a monster whose power fed on his victims' dreams was terrifyingly genius. I also have four words for you: Johnny Depp, bed, blood...and lots of it.

I only saw Deadly Friend (1986) once, but it sure had the soon-to-be Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Kristy Swanson, giving me goosebumps. I don't remember much about Night Visions (1990) but I do remember that one of the taglines should have been, "The grass is always greener on the other side...until a family of cannibals eats your face off." Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994) is the seventh installment in the Nightmare... series but was not part of the continuity; rather it featured the series' characters playing themselves, including a minor role from Craven.

1995's Vampire in Brooklyn brought a touch of comedy to a vampire horror movie, starring Eddie Murphy. Viewers got to see Eddie Murphy in, you guessed it, character costumes. Now this was no Nutty Professor, Murphy plays a bad to the bone vampire donning all black and a Don King-esque slicked back hairstyle. The Scream (1996) saga spanned 15 years and featured an always changing killer who murdered based on other classic horror films. S/he wasn't your average suped up horror movie villain either. An exercise bike could stop him momentarily and once unveiled, a bullet could finish the job.

Juxtapose to Vampire in Brooklyn, Dracula 2000 featured a very emo Dracula looking in need of a hug without the comedic kicks and giggles. The Last House on the Left (1972, 2009) gave new meaning to the phrase, "parents just don't understand." In this film, the parents understood and knew how to throw your head in a microwave if you mess with their child. While the controversial 1972 version was banned in many countries for it's graphic violence and images, the 2009 version was not banned, but received restrictions from the MPAA ratings board.

I can't wait to see what else Craven has up his sleeve for fans and horror movies within the coming years.