“The first monster you have to scare the audience with is yourself.” -Wes Craven
This week horror fans around the world are mourning the death of the Frightening Master himself, Wes Craven. Instead of talking about his death, but about his films (both written scripts and directed), many of which are on my favorite. After graduating from John Hopkins University, Craven became a professor of English at Westminster College and Clarkson College of Technology. Following his teaching career, he broke into the film industry as a sound editor before being behind the camera directing his first film, The Last House on the Left (1972).
Written & Directed
The Last House on the Left
A chilling story involving two girls who fall into the grasps of a group of dangerous convicts.
Scare level: High because the scenario is realistic
Remake: 2009 directed by Dennis Iliadis.
The Hills Have Eyes
This one is on my list as I have seen the remakes already, but the premise (for both the original and remake) is about a family on the road gets side tracked by a family of freaks attacks them.
Scare level: Somewhat high–the scenario probability is lower than Craven’s first film LHOTL but the fact the scenery is isolated is scary in itself and fits with Craven’s other exploration style made films.
Both the original and remake had sequels.
A Nightmare On Elm Street
If you haven’t heard of this film or any of it’s sequels, you’ve truly been living under a rock. The Nightmare series follows a group of teens being haunted by a killer while they sleep. This is by far one of Craven’s best films (well, maybe not Jason vs. Freddy).
Scare level: Extremely high–though the probability of a serial killer in your sleep is low to nonexistent, the fact that he can kill you in your most vulnerable state makes me want to leave a light on and never go to bed again.
Additional Films: A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy’s Revenge (2), NOES 3: Dream Warriors, NOES 4: The Dream Master, NOES 5: The Dream Child, Freddy’s Nightmares (TV series), New Nightmare, Freddy Vs. Jason, Freddy’s Return: A Nightmare Reborn, A Nightmare on Elm Street and a ton of shorts in between.
For a good laugh…
The People Under The Stairs
I was a little bit obsessed with this creepy film about a boy who’s family is being evicted from their apartment, who with other members break into the landlords house to find some, in short, pretty fucked up shit. I remembering seeing this movie and being scared to go in ANYONE’s house but my own. If you haven’t seen this film, see it. RIGHT NOW!
My Soul To Take
A film about a group of teens who are hunted down by a killer who returns to a small town. This film didn’t do as well as it could, mostly because the plot was obvious and I’d like to just leave it at that. I put this on the list because of my love for horror movies in small towns.
Remake: No one would remake this, though I’d be interested in a anime version of this story
Scream (films 1-4)
If the Nightmare series is Craven’s best, the Scream films follow just slightly behind them. I was a teenager when the first film came out and fell in love with the series (minus the last film) that launched several spoof films. It was a simple concept (well, at least at first–when you have four films and throughout those, multiple killers with their own motives, it gets a little hinkey).
Scare level: As a teen, medium–the experience of the film itself was great but I never went to sleep believing my teenage friends were behind some wild plot to kill me. Now? even lower. Still, the movie was both hilarious and a thriller (poking fun at usual horror film tactics).
(this list consist is not a complete list of Wes Craven films)