Wes Craven, a horror icon who gave us The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, passed away at the age of 76 this past weekend.
I can remember sneaking and watching A Nightmare on Elm Street when I was a kid. The nightmares that follow turned me into the horror fanatic I am today.
In my early teens I discovered The People Under the Stairs and The Hills Have Eyes, and those movies got me hooked Craven’s films and sent me searching for more of his work while asking my 12-year-old self, “Are there really people out there that do things like this?”
Scream was a movie that really brought back the horror genre. It was fresh and terrified movie goers. It brought a new approach to the slasher films by having not only a killer, but a psychological antagonist. Once again, Craven showed his master storytelling abilities.
Then I found the movie that elevated me to a whole different level of horror fan. I was 15 and by this time my friends and I had seen a ton of fun campy horror movies. The Last House on the Left introduced me to real life horror. Something that could happen to anyone. I realized that the story was hard to swallow, that it pulled at every ounce of humanity you had and I left me saying, “If I could catch those guys I’d… I don’t know what I’d do, but darn it, it would be bad!”. In the end you got your revenge, which felt great, but there was still that overwhelming sense of sadness that left you wondering how dark the world really is.
In 2004, I was at the peak of my Wes Craven fandom. I was super jealous of my brother because he was attending Wizard World Chicago, but I wasn’t jealous of comics or the panelists he would see, bur rather the fact that there was an advanced screening of Wes Craven’s new movie Red Eye. I wanted to see it so badly and I begged my brother to go see it to let me know how good it was. He didn’t get to as convention life proved too much for him. I had to wait for it, but it was worth it. It was a well structured movie, that kept me on the edge of my seat.
Wes Craven was a heck of a storyteller. He wove all the human emotions into his stories. Wes’s films played a huge part in me discovering some of my favorite horror movies, and is one of the main reasons I actively search out new horror movies and appreciate them for what they are.
Mr. Craven you will be missed. Godspeed on your journey to the other side. May your memory forever be in the hearts of horror fans everywhere and your films forever haunt generations.