Monday, 31 August 2015

Wes Craven (1939 - 2015)

Waking up this morning to the awful news that Wes Craven has died at the age of 76 having lost his fight with cancer. I can't claim to be a huge Craven enthusiast - of all major directors of horror to emerge in the late 60's and 70's - Romero, Hooper, Cronenberg, Carpenter; Wes Craven was the most variable of the lot, but still I cherish Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, Swamp Thing, A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Serpent and the Rainbow... Elm Street in particular - it was the first adult Horror film to make an impact on me when I first saw it at the age of 11 or 12, and was instrumental in setting me down a particular path. It still remains one of my most favourite films, Horror or otherwise. And I always liked the fact that we shared first names...

For all the violence and exploitative elements of his films, Craven always presented an extremely intelligent, erudite face of Horror Cinema, and was a most engaging and fascinating interviewee - I'm thinking of his contributions to the 2000 documentary, The American Nightmare: "I think there is something about the "American Dream", the sort of Disneyesque dream if you will of the beautifully trimmed front lawn, the white picket fence, mom and dad and their happy children, god fearing and doing good whenever they can; that sort of expectation, and the flipside of it, the kind of anger and the sense of outrage that comes from discovering that that's not the truth of the matter, I think that gives American horror films in some ways kind of an additional rage..."

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