Spotlight – Wes Craven Movies RIP

There have been a lot of RIP lists I’ve missed due to a lack of time in updating but I couldn’t let ANOTHER one go by without making an attempt to put something together. Hopefully this will spur me on to finish the other lists.

So the powers that be have decided to take one that shined so bright and left us with a few bottom feeders who we could so easily do without.  Wesley Earl Craven passed away from Brain Cancer last Sunday,  30th August 2015 aged only 76.

I’ve really loved a lot of Cravens early works, I have a soft spot for 70’s horror and thrillers and I adore his early works a lot more than the recent films, I dunno why, maybe in 30 years I’ll grow to love those as well!? I think he took a lot more risks back in the day but it was easier to shock and disgust and he was probably high as a kite too as apparently everyone was.

Anyway I’ll write an amazing piece in honor of a great director and  man one day, in the meantime here are 5 Selected Craven movies. In no particular order…

01.Last House on the Left (1972)

last house on the left

Banned and still famed for one of the most “memorable” and upsetting rape scenes ever, Wes certainly meant business when he started making films. With a few added elements of lowbrow comedy and a lot of lurid and disgusting behaviour, the amazing David Hess and his rebellious entourage rape and kill a young girl then stumble upon her parents’ house. The parents soon realise what’s happened and revenge is a dish best served with a lot of pain. The film undoubtedly considered dated now by many, it yielded a lot of good things, inspiring such horrors as Night Train Murders (1975) and a not so bad remake in 2009. 9/10

02.A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

nightmare on elm street

One of my all-time favourite horror films since a very young age. I was too young to have watched this video nasty but I did and I loved it and I thought Freddy was amazingly funny, I think he’s a little cheesy now but he’s still my favourite slasher. It seems silly trying to explain the story I’m sure everyone knows!?!? Freddy the local kiddy toucher gets burnt in a school furnace and then comes back to haunt teens in their dreams!? Pretty simple but the mechanics of making sleeping in the dark scary again worked for so many. It also gave us a brand new villain that we kinda love and cherish. Thank you Wes for giving us such a cool guy too fear and love!  Freddy inspired a lot of people and it’s hard NOT to see someone in a Freddy costume or with a glove at Halloween. 10/10

03.Swamp Thing (1982)

swamp thing

A slight side step into the world of comic book remakes and he picked my favourite ones Swamp Thing, often tied to a chemical experiment and then to Native American Culture is the best eco warrior around. The American Green Man from the swamps. I’m really fond this film,  it’s got the right blend of horror, comedy and action. David Hess returns as a military douchbag, working for the lithe and sinister Dr Anton Arcane (Louis Jourdan). Things just couldn’t get better with the addition of Ray Wise playing the human aspect of Swampy in the opening of the movie, it’s not the most horrific movie, and the creature effects are poor but it’s a great comic adaptation that doesn’t fuck around with the storyline too much and keeps the Swamp thing essence in some respect. 10/10

04.Hills Have Eyes (1977)

the hills have eyes

Another wayward story that pull together our fears about the unknown effects of Radioactivity, being lost in unfamiliar territory and being stalked by a number of deranged psychos. Chuck in the devious mind of Craven and you’ve got another timeless horror masterpiece, and a pretty awesome remake in 2006. The story of a family lost in the desert and stalked by ruthless mutant rednecks will never be forgotten.  Again it’s not the most masterful for the effects but so many brilliant scenes and bizarre horrific scenes made this a cult classic video nasty. It kick started a lot of other films such as Wrong Turn (2003) and you could argue that it influences House of 1000 Corpses (2003). 9/10

05.The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

serpent and the rainbow

A lot of research and great writing went into this mystical horror, fusing voodoo and science. As Dennis Alan (Bill Pullman) researches the drugs used to turn people into zombies and uncovers another deadly mystery coming from the Haitian authorities and one man who sees his meddling as a threat. The dark occult traits combined with a deadly chase reminds  me Angel Heart but steeped in a more historic magic. It’s tense and actually quite scary when you find out how many real life stories and accounts are represented in this one startling film. 8/10

Honorable Mention:

The People Under the Stairs (1991)

people under the stairs

I REALLY hate it when someone says they are going to do a list of 5 times then tack on about 70 other titles at the end.. but I am going to add one SINGLE item. This used to be one of my all-time favourites back when I was a kid (yes still too young to watch the film).  We’ve all heard of stories of kids being kept in crawl spaces but to see it happen and with the most bizarre and  dysfunctional couple at the helm is great, the urban legend comes alive with more than a few scares and frights.

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