When I decided to devote my music with Autumns Eyes to the world of Halloween and Horror Movies, Wes Craven was one of the first pools of inspiration I dived into head first. After his recent passing, it was only natural to pay homage to the man who’s been feeding my nightmares for a lifetime. While all of his films have been watched over and over again throughout my years, these are the ones I place at the top of the list.
The Last House on the Left
Rarely does a movie leave such an everlasting trail of disgust that brings you great shame and guilt for even just watching it. The Last House on the Left is one of very few horror films that injects true paralyzing fear into my soul. I remember seeing it for the first time as a stubborn teenage horror fan who thought he had seen it all. It didn’t take long for me to wince like a toddler getting a flu shot, a reaction I still produce when watching it today.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
I was first introduced to Mr Krueger in my early childhood, with an admiration that only a sick little bastard such as myself could muster for a character so brutal. It wasn’t until later on in life when I was truly able to engulf my life with all things Freddy. Video games, t-shirts, television shows, you name it. He became a pop culture icon, and while some horror fans complain of his schtick being too campy, I always felt it added to his unique charisma.
The Serpent and the Rainbow
Up until a few years ago I had never watched this movie, for whatever reason. The title always floated around, and I continued to put it off until one day it popped up on Netflix. Not only did I love everything about the film, but I was also inspired by the way Wes Craven has such an ability to harness fear in its purist form. While many other directors were focusing on cash grabbing sequels, and cheap thrills, Craven kept his sights on exactly what scared audiences the most. His own demented mind.
The People Under the Stairs
A personal favorite of mine since I was but a wee little shit running around the house with my plastic Freddy glove. The People Under the Stairs convinced me that I should in fact have my own hiding spot under the stairs. So I did just that, and cleared out a ton of old storage items from inside the downstairs closet positioned underneath the staircase. It was my own personal horror themed fort, where I could hide and pop out to scare the living shit out of my siblings at a moments notice.
We all know how difficult it is for a successful film to have an equally successful sequel, but I don’t think anyone ever imagined such a great sequel to come from the Elm Street franchise of all places. New Nightmare was a precursor to what Wes would later do with his groundbreaking hit, Scream. It also reestablished Freddy Krueger as the menacing demon he was originally intended to be, as opposed to the wise cracking comedian the prior sequels turned him into.
Im a big fan of werewolf movies, which also means Ive had to sit through a fair share of terrible creature effects and regurgitated storylines. Cursed was a refreshing change of pace, with an added element of mystery and suspense that only Wes Craven could deliver. The movie does a good job at bridging the gap between old lore and mysticism, with a modern society and culture.
Death is an unavoidable truth that we all must face, and its never easy to lose someone who was important to us in life. Thankfully Wes Craven has left behind such an enormous legacy in not only the horror world, but throughout all of storytelling.
Rest in peace, Wes. We all miss you!