Wes Craven was one of a kind and we will never ever see his like again. No one in the horror community would argue with this statement, Wes Craven has brought to life some of the most memorable and instantly recognisable characterisations that have ever graced the screen. Horror fans of all ages know what to expect when the fedora wearing, razor sharp fingered but oh so witty Freddy appears on the screen. What is amazing is that Wes was only involved on the first two Nightmare on Elm Street films initially, but by the time we arrive at New Nightmare he had so successfully fixed Krueger into our psyche that the series just kept on going. Brilliantly casting the gently spoken Robert Englund was also an act of genius and Englund loved every second of screen time as good old
That was Craven’s genius though, he understood the horror genre so brilliantly because he was a fan himself. I loved that Craven always had time for his fans and never grew tired of talking about Elm Street, Krueger or any of his films. He knew what the fans wanted to see and he relished the opportunity to deliver. Boy, did he deliver! It is hard for me to pick out just one film from such an extensive horror canon as my favourite. I love Elm Street for its dark and innovative story telling but here to is People Under The Stairs with its dark and twisted undertones. Craven knew his subject so well he could also satirise it but still bring something new to the table. The Scream franchise may have suffered from the law of diminishing returns after the first two films and I have yet to see the TV series. But the first two outings were undeniably the work of a film maker who was a master of his craft. I have said before that it takes a craftsman who is totally at ease with his subject to pastiche it successfully. Move too far into slap stick or humour and you end up with a film that neither amuses or horrifies (Scary Movie 4 anyone?) Craven led the pack with his groundbreaking films and many stars today would not have careers had it not been for his casting (I never get tired of witnessing Johnny Depp’s messy and bloody denouement in the first Nightmare film)
Wes Craven will be remembered by all that worked with him as a generous and inspirational man that encouraged exploration of character. Clear of vision but also focused in his belief that his vision should be shared and added to. In an age where film makers can so often behave like petty minded dictators on set it was refreshing that Craven never ever fitted this mould. My love of horror was boosted into the stratosphere by Craven’s films and my nightmares will not be the same without him. Today, I am devastated because we have lost another film maker that wasn’t afraid to push the envelope and always to strive for new visions. But, more than that, I feel like i have lost my mentor, Craven was someone who I could always rely on to deliver. In a film world of sequels and endless rehashes on the same theme, Craven leaves a gaping, bloody wound that just wont ever heal. I’m gonna miss you but sleep well, sir.
|Wes Craven August 2nd 1939- August 30th 2015|