Wednesday, 2 September 2015

My Wes Craven Experience

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The Horror genre recently lost another one of its icons.

It's no secret that my introduction to the Horror genre had nothing to do with Craven, I stated with the likes of "Halloween" and "Evil Dead". That doesn't mean I wasn't aware of him though, I'd heard the name and in all honesty it was a name that scared me along with the name 'Freddy Kreuger'.

His name had a mystique around it, it brought out fear to those who were aware of it. It took me a long time to watch any of his work, I remember being at a sleepover and being so terrified of watching "A Nightmare On Elm Street" that I sat in another room and I wasn't the only one.




It's hard to try and explain the fear, awe and fascination that surrounded both film and Director, it was very much a moment in time that is really hard for me to put into words, maybe someone else can but I'm having a hard time doing so.

When I finally plucked up the courage to watch it, I was so tense. My jaw was clenched, I was fidgety and my heart rate was through the roof. I couldn't wait for it to be over yet at the same time I was enjoying the experience.



In my naivety I ended up watching the whole series thinking he made them all and found myself loving Freddy more and more, it's a moment in time I wish I really do wish I could revisit.

I went back into his filming history, watching his other classics such as "The Last House On The Left " and "The Hills Have Eyes" and slowly found myself a new favourite director and immersed myself in the world of Craven.



"Serpent And The Rainbow" quickly became one of my favourite films and "Shocker" was a riot of a movie that's still funny to watch now, but it was a sign of change.

I found myself disappointed with "The People Under The Stairs", the premise was great but had a too happy of an ending for my taste. I didn't know it at the time but I was slowly outgrowing Wes Craven.




As time went on Wes Craven became more of a memory, in conversations with Horror fans I'd say things such as "I used to like him" and "He's losing his touch" and some would agree or even strongly disagree and argue with me.

Like a fan of anything I delved deep into it's history and present and found new favourites and although I'd still revisit Craven's classics his new stuff didn't interest me.



Then the "Scream" explosion happened, it was supposed to be a game changer and it became an overnight phenomenon that introduced Wes to a whole new generation of film lovers.

I tried and tried, I watched the film multiple times but I just couldn't get into it. I was at an age where I wanted more from a film and it wasn't being delivered to me with "Scream".


I even tried watching it's sequel to see if it added anything to it but by then I had just lost all interest and it would be years before I watched a new Wes Craven release, over ten years in-fact.
That film was "My Soul To Take", I was a little apprehensive about it and once again I was left disappointed and even wrote a piece titled "Wes Craven: What Happened?" about how I felt he'd lost his touch.


It would take a long time before I realised that it wasn't Craven who'd lost his touch but it was me who had outgrown him. Where once I was part of his target audience I had grown older but is target audience hadn't changed, it was quite a revelation.

I went back over some of his releases and got to see them from a different perspective. I found myself smiling when I realised he was terrifying a whole new generation, just like he had once done so with me.


My whole view on his career changed when that happened and instead of saying "He's lost his touch" I'd say "He's a master at what he does" because it was a true statement.

He's terrified millions during his career and will continue to do so as he left us an everlasting legacy of truly terrifying films and characters that have even become iconic in their own right.


Craven's films are a great starting point for new Horror fans, his death is a true loss to the genre that loved him. If you haven't already read it then I highly recommend his book "Screams & Nightmares: The Films Of Wes Craven", it has great insight into his work.

Wes Craven 1939 - 2015

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