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A Tribute To Wes Craven (1939-2015)

Six Craven Classics That Changed How We View Horror


It was so difficult to choose just a few among the many Craven classics that filled us with terrified delight, but looking back, we collectively came up with six films that really made an impact – and changed the way we viewed horror forever. Below are the films that will always have a place in our hearts for their shocking creativity, occasional humor and for heralding, for us, a whole new feel and style to the horror genre. Please feel free to comment with your own Craven favorites – we’d love to hear from you.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Just TELL me you didn't scream "Eeew!"
Just TELL me you didn’t scream “Eeew!”

Wes Craven taught us that the most frightening monsters are only too human. The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise put Freddy Krueger into our own nightmares, and the somewhat campy style made us laugh…until we turned off the lights. A true mind, well, bend, you could never really be sure what was a dream and what wasn’t…but either way, you knew the results were going to be deadly.


The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

You know, we'll bet in real life he's a very nice man.
You know, we’ll bet in real life he’s a very nice man.

Just when you think it can’t get any gorier or cross any more lines, this film does. You want to look away…but you just can’t. Critics called it “exploitation,” but this is one that really stuck with us, and gives us chills to this day. In true Craven style, the horror king crossed a line again and again…and left us shocked to discover we wanted more.

The Last House on the Left (1972)

Full disclosure: we STILL can't look at this publicity shot without shuddering.
Full disclosure: we STILL can’t look at this publicity shot without shuddering.

It was every young woman’s nightmare, and it pulled no punches, yet we kept watching…truly enough to make any viewer question his/her own dark side. And that’s what made it so good. Wes really pushed the envelope…and he made you push it, too – whether you wanted to or not. Chilling stuff that dares to illustrate the beyond-taboo and leaves you with nightmares.



The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

If we could have looked away, we'd have been spared so many nightmares.
If we could have looked away, we’d have been spared so many nightmares.

In this voodoo classic, Craven again makes us question our eyes (and what to really believe). Horrifying scenes such as the scrotum-to-a-chair nailing make this film another shocker. But so does the eerie “is this really happening?” vibe. One thing’s for sure: you’re in for a wild supernatural ride. A classic for any horror fanatic’s shelf.



Scream (1996)

From cult classic to just, well, classic.
From cult classic to just, well, classic.

It met with mixed reviews, but it’s difficult to argue the impact this movie had. The film achieved cult status and spawned numerous rumors that its scenes had inspired real-life crime. Naturally, that only increased the movie’s popularity due to morbid curiosity (our favorite kind). But it’s the all-start cast hamming it up that ultimately made this film as a classic. Good stuff.



My Soul to Take (2010)

Look out, kids! It's a slasher film!
Look out, kids! It’s a slasher film!

A long hiatus (1994-2010) between his previous film, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, and My Soul to Take had Craven fans on the edges of their seats to see just what the horror maestro had cooked up this time. Fans quickly found out that Craven “still had it,” hitting us in true horror-classic style with the story of a man who discovers he’s a serial killer. Years later, meddling teens pay the price. If that plot doesn’t scream “Craven,” nothing does.

For a full list of Wes’s films (and a terrifying trip down memory lane), see IMBD.




About Melanie Henson

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