Monday, August 31, 2015

Horror Movie Legend Wes Craven Dead at 76

Image from source, MSN
It's hard to relate how much horror maven Wes Craven impacted my life. As a pop culture sponge, I was particularly fond of the horror films of the 70s and 80s. I came from my late teens into early adulthood at precisely the same time as the home video boom. And as a rather shy and retiring sort, I spent a lot of my scant money and ample free time on weekends watching movies gathered from the local West Coast Video.

As luck would have it, home video was driven by two forces in those days, porn (naturally) and horror movies! And horror movies were available in abundance. The horror trend was powered by Halloween, ripped off by Friday the 13th, and then beaten into the ground by further ripoffs. And then there was A Nightmare on Elm Street. Even my easy-to-please early 20s self could see this was a whole new, much more creative entry into the field.

Nightmare took horror movies into a whole new realm, from what had been a rather mindless, plotless killer stalking nubile teens, into a mind-bending, complex and unpredictable area. The first film was really groundbreaking and impactful. On first viewing, the viewer is unsure of just what is a dream, and what is reality. Wes Craven was the man responsible for this revelation, but he of course didn't start his career or make his first mark with Freddy Krueger.

If Craven had only ever invented Freddy Krueger,
he'd be a horror legend on that alone.
He did that back in the 70s, with what is arguably one of the most disturbing films of the era, The Last House on the Left, and the nearly-as-creepy The Hills Have Eyes. And he kept going, obtaining a whole new level of fame, and relevance with Scream. Needless to say, though all of these films had sequels and or remakes, and countless imitators--both good and (often) bad--it's the ones Craven had a hand in that were the best installments.

Of all the films in my video library, Craven's are among the ones with the most repeat viewings. His passing was one of those "oof" punch-to-the-gut ones for me, and those are rare for this jaded soul. RIP, Mr. Craven. You left a mark. A big, messy, bloody mark. And we loved it!


Wes Craven, Horror Maestro, Dies at 76

Wes Craven, the famed maestro of horror known for the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream franchises, died Sunday after a battle with brain cancer. He was 76. Craven, whose iconic Freddy Krueger character horrified viewers for years, died at his home in Los Angeles, his family announced. Survivors include his wife, producer and former Disney Studios vice president Iya Labunka. . .

Read more at: MSN

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