We’re very sad to have learnt of the death of 76 year-old movie horror-master, Wes Craven.
How many of you have watched any of the four Scream movies (1996 – 2011)? How about the slasher-horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street and its eight sequels, spanning from 1984 to 2010? Have you ever heard of the nightmarish supernatural villain Freddy Krueger?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, than surely today you, like many others, will mourn the passing of the iconic man who invented and released these cult movies. Yes, the renowned writer, director and producer Wes Craven is dead. He died on Sunday 30th August, after having been diagnosed with brain cancer. The 76-year old master of horror was also known for the movies The Hills Have Eyes (1977), its 2006 remake, The Last House on the Left (1972), and another remake in 2009. His repertoire also included Vampire in Brooklyn (1995). He is well known for having introduced the horror style most well-known as teen-slasher movie.
Image: Freddy Krueger
Wes Craven’s horror movies, though full of blood and violence, always retained that comic atmosphere and slapstick humour which enchanted young and old alike. His creative gift, which left his audience taped to their seats, also perhaps stemmed from the fact that he started writing and directing movies after he had completed a Masters in Philosophy and Writing, and thereby having perhaps a certain knowledge of the human mind and the way emotions and thrills manipulate our reality.
The popularity of his films, and especially the terrifying antagonists, which in reality became the main characters in his plots, are truly memorable villains. He was the King of Horror in the 80s and 90s, not only with the Scream and Nightmare on Elm Street franchises, but also with many other movies like The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988), The People Next Door (1989), The People Under the Stairs (1991), Wishmaster (1997) and Carnival of Souls (1999). He continued his career with other great films such as Cursed (2004) and Pulse (2005), yet he never achieved the popularity he had had with his two great franchises, which is perhaps why during the 2000s, he focused on more sequels, as well as doing re-makes of his oldest accomplishments, and bringing them to today’s standards in terms of dialogue and special effects.
Image: The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)
Although this creative genius has left us, he also leaves behind a monumental cult-following. His unforgettable creations will never leave us – Freddy Krueger, with his knife-fingered grin, his black hat and striped cardigan will always haunt our dreams. The bone-white chilling mask worn by the black-cloaked serial killer in Scream will always be a favourite when it comes to Carnival and Halloween costumes.
Some movies are like that. They may have been produced years ago, and yet they never grow old. Wes Craven’s genre was a breath of fresh air in the industry. His blend of comicity and terror, gore and wit, will no doubt inspire even more writers and directors to work more with this genre, which explores frightening and dark themes in such droll and mocking, yet satirical and caricatural ways. However, although many may try to emulate the Master of Horror, it will take another genius to exhilarate and reinvigorate the horror movie genre in the same way as Wes Craven did.
Image: The People Under the Stairs (1991)