Welcome horror fans! It’s been a sad week for us horror fans with the death of Horror Master Wes Craven. I usually just let this sort of thing go but Craven was such an icon that I feel as giant horror fans we have a duty to pay a little tribute to a man who gave us so very much through the years.
Normally I don’t say much when someone from our little world of horror or metal passes on from this Earthly plane because I feel the mourning should be left to those who were actually the friends and family of those who passed on. In this case Wes Craven was a member of our collective horror family. He’s been scaring the hell out of us for years and just speaking for myself the last movie that actually scared me was his original, the iconic Nightmare On Elm Street. I was only 12 or 13 years old when I saw Nightmare’ that first time and I remember it was the scene in the school where Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) follows the bloody body bag down to the boiler room that freaked me the fuck out. No film since has invoked that sense of fear in me mostly because I’ve seen so many horror films but that movie got to me even though I was already well on my way to being a jaded horror fan even back then. I had seen other films by Wes Craven prior to that but that was the first in some time and the last one to actually scare me. Thank you for that Mr. Craven I will never forget it.
It is rare for a director in any genre to create one iconic character but more than one? That is truly a rare thing. Freddy Krueger is arguably the most iconic figure in horror. Sure Jason and Michael Myers or Chucky are huge but Freddy is arguably the king. Freddy, his dirty green and red striped sweater and, of course, his knife gloved hand may be the most recognizable figure in all of horror even to those who aren’t horror fans. Basically everyone knows who Freddy is and that’s in part due to the excellent job Robert Englund did playing the character but if that first movie hadn’t been so damn great he would have been as easily forgotten as a million other slashers or monsters and that’s due to Wes Craven. But then 12 years later the master came back with a vengeance with one of the most iconic movies in horror with Scream and another iconic killer in Ghostface. Scream was the first film to make fun of the “horror formula” which is still in broad use in far too many damn films. Scream wasn’t just a horror movie, what made Scream great was that it was a great horror film that was also a horror film for horror fans. Starting with that first awesome scene where Drew Barrymore thankfully gets stabbed many times (sorry I’m not her biggest fan) we get the iconic line, “Wanna play a game?” Which, of course, was later stolen as the entire premise of the Saw franchise. Scream, to me, as a horror fan was Wes Craven dropping the mic and walking away with that wicked smile he was so well known for. It’s sad to think horror may never know the likes of such greatness again.
It’s amazing as I look through all Wes Craven gave us horror fans at how many completely awesome and iconic films he created. He started with The Last House On The Left, one of the best revenge films ever made, then made his first classic series with The Hills Have Eyes moving onto the “Nightmare” series then my personal favorite The Serpent And The Rainbow then, of course, the Scream series. Also for those who love to hate on remakes and redos Wes Craven didn’t agree with you any more than I do. He produced the remake of The Last House On The Left and both The Hills Have Eyes movies. Mr Craven became more than just a filmmaker becoming a recognizable figure himself amongst us horror fans. Any creative person who becomes well known for doing one thing can struggle with wanting to branch out doing other things and Craven did as well before finally embracing the fact that he had become an icon in the world of horror. Horror fans (like metal fans) are among the most loyal fans in the world. We don’t tend to be fickle, following the latest trend like those who love sugary pop shit or romantic comedies, when we love what you do we love you for a lifetime. Wes Craven has been a member of my horror family before I even knew what that was and just because we won’t get another Wes Craven masterpiece we can watch the ones he already created over and over again without ever tiring of it.
Wes Craven may be gone but he will never be forgotten by us horror fans and what he did will be creating new horror fans for decades to come. My grandchildren who don’t even exist yet (Right son?) can still discover Craven’s work far into the future. As I’ve said when it comes to music, it’s never too late to become a fan. The beauty of art is that as long as this Earth exists so does that art, at least for a very long time. Think of those first drawings on cave walls that still exist to this day, I like to imagine some teenager hundreds of years from now discovering Nightmare on Elm Street for the very first time, now that’s a thought that hopefully puts that sly, wicked smile on Wes Craven’s face for the next thousand millennia. Rest in Peace Mr Craven and thank you for giving us all so very much to love, The Scribbler Crew will greatly miss you.
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What is your favorite Wes Craven film horror fans? Please share your thoughts on this lost icon in the comments below.
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