Wes Craven (2 August 1939 – 30 August 2015)
An innovator in the horror genre, and the originator of two of the most successful horror franchises in recent movie history, Wes Craven’s career was dogged by a series of ups and downs that only the movie industry could come up with. A good example of this is Deadly Friend (1986). If you were to see this as your first Wes Craven movie, you would find a movie that is hopelessly muddled in terms of tone and content, but which also contains clear signs that the director has a flair and a style that can’t be entirely hampered by what seems like a weak script but was actually heavy studio interference. If, however, your first experience is The Hills Have Eyes (1977) then you’ll be impressed by Craven’s brash, discomfiting approach to the material, and his aggressive visual style.
As his career developed, it seemed that for every good or well-intentioned movie he made there was an opposite, a movie that didn’t quite come off as well as it should have. Craven made twenty-two features (including Music of the Heart (1999), which bagged an Oscar nomination for Meryl Streep), three TV movies, directed a segment of the movie Paris, je t’aime (2006), and made a few forays into episodic television. But if his career stalled from time to time, or some projects appeared ill-advised, Craven was still a professional and often made more of a movie than would have been the case if he hadn’t been its director (one wonders how Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) would have turned out if he hadn’t experienced difficulties with Christopher Reeve). And of course he’ll be forever remembered for creating two of modern horror’s most iconic characters, Freddy Kreuger and Ghostface – and that’s enough of an achievement right there: to have frightened the life out of two separate generations of moviegoers.
1 – The Last House on the Left (1972)
2 – The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
3 – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
4 – The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)
5 – The People Under the Stairs (1991)
6 – Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)
7 – Scream (1996)
8 – Music of the Heart (1999)
9 – Red Eye (2005)
10 – Scre4m (2011)