My friend, follower and fellow blogger, Vic De Leon, has returned for another guest blog post. This time, he’s going to share with us his Top 5 Wes Craven movies. I hope you enjoy the post, and make sure to check out his blog, Vic’s Movie Den, for more great content about movies – including my Top 5 Wes Craven movies.
Top 5 Wes Craven Movies
By Victor De Leon
Director and Writer Wes Craven is one of those few film-makers who has become a household name by establishing that he is capable of setting the bar, setting trends and re-inventing the horror genre more than once while remaining fresh and original. Craven for many years has challenged his audiences as well as frightening them and maintaining a high standard of craftsmanship. With an impeccable eye for composition and a keen knowledge of writing and structure, Craven has remained true to the genre and to his adored fans. Craven is a jack of all trades. He has written, shot, edited and even starred in his films. He has shown that he can never get stuck for too long and he embraces new innovations, new ideas and continues to be an exemplary artist of the moving image.
His movies and images have provoked fear, wonder and amazement and he has created some enduring characters and moments that will always be etched in the minds of horror genre junkies young and old. From Freddy Krueger to Horace Pinker, Craven leaves no stone un-turned when exploring the dynamics and complexities of the classic horror antagonist. With “Scream” he once again redefined himself and created the “Meta Horror” genre with a franchise that has spawned 3 sequels and has a TV show in development.
For my fellow blogger, Michael Cavacini I have compiled my Top 5 favorite Wes Craven films. I thank him very much for once again letting me grace his fine site with one of my Top 5 lists. I hope you all enjoy!
– Vic @Vic’s Movie Den
5) New Nightmare
A perfect example of Craven re-inventing himself by taking on his Nightmare franchise in an original, brutal and menacing way. Here, Craven relies on his “Meta” horror tactic and thinks outside the box with a story re-uniting the cast of the first Nightmare on Elm Street entry. New Nightmare is fresh and consistently scary which is something previous efforts lacked. Solid acting, directing, true mood and style makes this an obvious choice for my top 5.
4) The Hills Have Eyes
A outrageous and depraved story marks this early work of Craven’s. This film is perhaps the template for the slew of survivalist horror movies that came after it. Craven succeeds in weaving a true to life and gritty piece of demented cinema. A strong effort that disturbs, excites and pushes the envelope. Along with Hooper’s “Chainsaw” this 70’s Craven film is timeless and endures in a stark and disturbing way.
3) The Serpent and the Rainbow
This film based on the novel by botanist and scientist Wade Davis is an underdog film entry from Wes Craven. The film stars Bill Pullman in a very difficult role as a Davis like character that has to investigate, for a Drug Company, claims of people returning back to life in Haiti. Actually believing that a powder like substance may be involved, Pullman’s character finds out that more menacing supernatural forces may be at work. Creepy, spooky and nightmarish, Craven revels in keeping his viewers on edge and second guessing what they are watching unfold. A solid performance from Pullman, strong direction and the beautiful locale serves up a very watchable and scary voodoo thriller which explores themes from taboos to political strife. Very recommended.
Hip, stylish and a game changer, Scream remains Craven’s most extraordinary “Meta” effort. A young and handsome cast help to propel the story. Kevin Williamson pens a terrific creep-fest that Craven respects and excels in translating to the screen in an exceptional manner that re-invents the slasher film. A tremendous horror film on many levels, “Scream” remains hip and relevant to this day. A horror film about kids obsessed with horror films. Just brilliant. The film also references many horror movies from John Carpenter’s Halloween to The Howling from Joe Dante.
1) A Nightmare on Elm Street
Original, very scary and beautifully scored and photographed, A Nightmare on Elm Street is Wes Craven’s magnum opus. Craven sets the bar extremely high and with his cast, which includes a young Johnny Deep to the seasoned John Saxon are all amazing to watch here. Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger is flawlessly horrific and menacing. He IS the bad guy. The film has an almost palpable atmosphere of dread and fear. It is a film that Craven utilizes to provoke a fear of the dark and our own dreams. A film where no one is safe, not even from their slumber. It is a movie which is a fable of the darkest elements and the unease is prevalent from the first to the last nightmarish frame. Craven has created an enduring and legendary picture with both a great antagonist and protagonist in the character of Nancy played with eager professionalism by Heather Langenkamp. Beautifully unnerving and technically brilliant, A Nightmare on Elm Street is my favorite Wes Craven film. Highly recommended!