This past August, we lost the King of Fright himself -- Wes Craven. The 76-year old Writer/Director/Producer left us with numerous films that entertained, and truly frightened us as-if he had the ability to penetrate our nightmares. As the creator of Ghostface and Freddie Krueger, Craven's departure leaves a hole in our horror lives.
In respect to the deceased king of fright, let’s look back on his five scariest flicks!
5. Freddy vs. Jason
This Ronny Yu-directed comeback movie was instantly panned by critics, but gained a cult following like many of his films. Craven co-wrote the cheesy, bloody, imaginative movie where ultra-villain fights ultra-villain to the death. We got to see what happens when two nightmares meet, and it wasn’t pretty. Plus, it features Kelly Rowland before her boob job, so eh... It’s campy and gory, and definitely remains a must-have on Halloween night!
4. The Hills Have Eyes
Wes Craven was involved in the making of all the Hills Have Eyes flicks, the original two in the 1970s and the two remakes in the 2000s. The movies feature a band of inbreds who live in the hills and -- IDK -- they kill, and rape pretty girls; torture and kill dogs; and have sex with each other to continue producing inbred babies. That shit is terrifying! The thought of being watched by freaks of nature made from children's nightmares is a concept that freaked out generation after generation, becoming more graphic with each remake. Craven showed us here that he can stretch the walls of where we thought horror lived, making that box bigger, and more scary. The Hills Have Eyes has earned it’s spot here for lasting power.
3. The Last House on the Left
Craven’s first feature film is literally like, all women's nightmares. The premise involves two teenage girls heading to a rock concert, who stop and, stupidly are lured into a home -- filled with a gang of escaped murderers and rapists -- by the promise of pot. It’s every girl's, and every parent's worst nightmare. It’s scary because it happens. It’s scary because you never know who you can trust. The Last House in the Left is one of the most terrifying films of all time! Grab a snuggle buddy for this one, and be prepared to watch most of it through your fingers!
All jokes aside, Ghostface shaped my young childhood in the worst, petrifying way. All my girlfriends and such would get together and purposely scare the shit out of each other with the Scream franchises. It is one Craven's crowning gems of his four decade long career. He did with ‘Scream’ what he did with Freddy -- made naive teenagers the targets of murder. Showing again, that you can never truly trust anyone. No one is safe, not even these teens who think they are invincible. And poor Sidney never catches a friggin break as Ghostface kills everything she ever loved. You gotta have feels for her.
1. A Nightmare on Elm Street
Maybe this was an obvious choice for the number one spot, but we can’t deny the success and truly nightmarish nature of this franchise. Craven proved with Freddy Krueger that he can create content that scares our psyche AND our dreams. The Elm Street franchise stretches the imagination, negates the phrase "it's just a dream," and makes us think: “what if... what if he gets me IN MY GODDAMN DREAMS?” And then the anxiety and terror take over and you want to shut the movies off but you can’t because -- OMG did Johnny Depp just get SUCKED into a WATER BED?!
Wes Craven had the vision and darkness to create the villains who could be used to scare people for years to come. Even in death, his legend status solidifies. No one can fill the shoes he left, but I can’t wait to see how other directors try to match his talent for fright, gore and sex.
Have fun sleeping tonight!