Fvck you cancer, you fvck!
Man, Wes Craven was one of my favourite directors, through the decades giving us iconic characters, disturbing stories and unforgettable anti-heroes. I guess like most kids of my generation, my first encounter with Craven’s work was A Nightmare On Elm Street which scared the living hell out of me when I first saw it. It might be strange to think now after Freddy’s watering down to basically become a comedy character with horrific touches, but this original film produced a terrifying villain who could easily stand with Dracula, The Wolf Man and the other iconic horror icons. Years later and Freddy was in music videos with the Fat Boys and I remember being astounded that an American toy shop that I shopped in sold Freddy bouncy balls. How surreal. Of course, Craven himself brought the darkness back with New Nightmare, where he took the Meta route years before Scream and Terrified us all once again with the tale of Krueger BEING REAL, with Craven and Heather Langenkamp playing themselves. At this dark time, take another look at this classic sequel that you may have forgotten.
I mentioned Scream and here once again, Craven became the main man when it came to popular and scary characters and the trilogy (quadrilogy eventually) changed all the rules of the genre and put Craven back on the top where he belonged.
There were a few other classics to remember too – The Serpent And The Rainbow, The People Under The Stairs, Shocker, The Hills Have Eyes, Craven took us into the darkness time and again with more imagination used in each film than most horror auteurs manage in a career.
My favourite Wes Craven film is Last House On The Left, probably my favourite horror movie of all time, although the horror here was much more realistic and disturbing, it is the kind of film that you feel you need a shower after watching. As I grew my film knowledge and began hoovering up all the horror I could handle, Last House On The Left was the big unavailable treat. I could read (and did) a number of books on the film, read up all the interviews with Craven and star David Hess, but we lived under the iron censorship of James Ferman, the head of the BBFC who was not letting us see some of the most iconic horrors ever with little explanation, other tan he was better than us and knew what was best. Idiot. This was before the net became a cinematic playground and you could just find anything from around the world. Eventually I got around the ban by buying a copy of La Derniere Maison Sur La Gauche. It seemed our French cousins didn’t go insane by being able to watch Craven’s masterpiece and ths uncut version would not appear in this country for years, until we got an incredible double disc which as well as the uncut adventures of Krug And Company (a different version of the film under that name was included) featured a great documentary, featuring Hess, Sean Cunningham and Craven himself. I always remember Craven from this, he talked enthusiastically about a film he must have been asked about a million times and despite what he was talking about being one of the darkest films ever, his conversations were animated and as enthusiastic as can be. This is the Wes Craven that I remember. He gave us Freddy Krueger. He gave us Ghostface. He gave us Krug. He gave us nightmares and i loved him for it. Rest in peace, Sir. Cinema will miss you. x