Yesterday, Hollywood lost one of its greatest masters of horror, Wes Craven. Born in 1983 and a horror movie enthusiast myself, it would have been impossible for me to not have been exposed to Wes Craven’s work or influence on the genre. His ability to terrify with the smallest of details to the craziest of creations is what made his work stand the test of time. His work from the seventies and eighties was so popular, that many have been remade in the last ten, fifteen years. Yet, none could really capture the original finesse of the stories the originals told.
Over the years, his accomplishments have equaled many, including:
The Last House on the Left (1972)
The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Deadly Friend (1986)
The People Under the Stairs (1991)
Red Eye (2005)
My Soul to Take (2010)
The most culturally impacting of all of his creations being the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and his creation of the murderous, nightmare king, Freddy Krueger. A figure that is still revered in terror to this day. Nightmare on Elm Street is the most successful of all of Wes Craven’s creations. Nightmare on Elm Street is my personal favorite, and one I feel still holds up today. It balances the right amount of realism and fantasy to create an unforgettable ride of fear that the human mind is capable of as well as just how powerful vengeance can be, even from beyond the grave.
This was not the typical teen slasher flick of its day. The Krueger/Nightmare allowed for a unique story that left watchers confused and on edge as to what would happen next. It especially didn’t encourage anyone to go to sleep after the fact. Freddy changed all of the nightmare rules and became a cultural icon of fear.
Craven’s next biggest accomplishment was his single handed resurrection of the horror genre during the late 90’s with the film, Scream. The film was a wonderful homage to the slasher flicks from before with a freshness that appealed to new generations using mystery, suspense, and even comedy. It spurned a franchise of a new boogie man for a new generation, a boogie man that is almost as notable as its predecessor, Freddy.
Wes Craven’s imagination and terrifying storytelling will be greatly missed. My heart is heavy with sadness, but his films will live on in his absence, ready to influence and inspire many generations of horror film hopefuls to come. You will be missed, Mr. Craven.