As of today, we got the news that Horror mastermind Wes Craven had passed away after a long battle with cancer – so today we have decided to dedicate our latest Career Outlook post. So lets delve into it!
Wes Craven was born was born in Cleveland. Craven earned an undergraduate degree in English and Psychology from Wheaton College in Illinois and a master’s degree in Philosophy and Writing from Johns Hopkins University.
He also very briefly taught English at Westminster College. His first job in the film industry was as a sound editor for a post-production company in New York City.
In 1972, Wes Craven directed his first feature film The Last House on the Left. The film saw a pair of teenage girls are headed to a rock concert for one’s birthday. While trying to score marijuana in the city, the girls are kidnapped by a gang of psychotic convicts.
Although the feature was received very mixed as of back then nothing more violent had been shown on the big screen, as of today it is remained a cult classic which spawned off a recent remake which was not as well received – but still enjoyed by the fans of the story.
It wasn’t till 1984, that Craven wouldn’t hit out with one of his most film – A Nightmare On Elm Street – telling the story of several people who are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. When the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won’t lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep.
Craven was praised for his direction with many reviews stating that it was a smart, fun scare. Thus brewing up many sequel, prequels and spin off’s for the infamous slasher killer Freddy Krueger! With a solid 94% on RT, this is one scare that should not be missed! Also, its good to know that Craven had a major hand in launching superstar Johnny Depp‘s career by casting him in A Nightmare on Elm Street, which was Depp’s first major film role.
Push forward to 1996 – and after many small budget movies and TV, Craven hit back with the monster hit slasher Scream. Scream tells the story attempting to cope with her mother’s murder, Sydney and her horror movie-obsessed friends are stalked by a murderer who seems to have a hard time letting the past go.
Changing the game in slasher-horror, Craven brought along a masterpiece in film making as we saw a group of teens being picked off one by one. Adding incredible humour along with giving the feeling that the makers knew it was a slasher picture, Craven deserved all his success – in what is my personal favourite of his.
Plus, that now iconic opening which set Drew Barrymore as our lead (but not really) totally caught the audience off guard in one of the most tension filled set piece in any slasher film to date. Also, I bet you didn’t know this – Mr. Craven (himself) had a small cameo in the production. Take a look:
With many successful sequels and a MTV spin off show – the Scream franchise has becoming one of the most successful slasher horrors to date, thanks to the mastermind Craven.
Flash forward to 2005, (yes 10 years ago), Red Eye comes out of nowhere with Wes Craven yet again in the directors chair. In this we saw a woman is kidnapped by a stranger on a routine flight. Threatened by the potential murder of her father, she is pulled into a plot to assist her captor in offing a politician.
Starring Rachel McAdams (hot!), Irishman Cillian Murphy and Brian Cox it was a more of a tension filled thriller rather than your violent killer flick. With a respectful 79% on RT – many fans hailed Craven yet again on a newer take on the thriller genre.
Looking back, Wes Craven’s work tended to share a common exploration of the nature of reality. A Nightmare on Elm Street, for example, dealt with the consequences of dreams in real life.
In Scream, the characters frequently reference horror films similar to their situations, and at one point Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) tells his girlfriend that life is just a big movie. This concept was emphasized in the sequels, as copycat stalkers re-enacted the events of a new ‘film’ about the Woodsboro killings occurring in the original Scream. The original slasher film included a scene mentioning a well-known Richard Gere urban legend.
Craven commented in interviews that he received calls from so many agents saying that if he left that scene in, he would never work again. He went on to directed Scream 4. What a man.
To finish up, I would just like to thank Mr. Craven – for scaring the hell out me, time and time again. To The Hills Have Eyes, Elm St to Scream. You were a master class in the genre. May you rest in peace.