Evan Slead ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Movies Editor
It was with heavy hearts that the family of Wes Craven announced the passing of the famed horror director yesterday, August 30, 2015. He was 76 years old and battled brain cancer; a battle that ended in his Los Angeles home.
Craven had the brilliant ability to create an idea and bring it into reality. Freddy Krueger, the iconic slasher, could have been the only gold star on Craven’s record in the entertainment industry, but he surpassed his own bar. When the slasher genre that Kreuger had dominated finally began to fizzle in the mid 90’s, an ingenious script by Kevin Williamson mixed with Craven’s noteworthy directing style created the film Scream. This film would ultimately revitalize the slasher, murder mystery, and thriller genres. Craven took care of the horror fans and it was love notes like Scream that reminded his followers that he was always paying attention. Even at 72, Craven returned to his horror roots and directed Scream 4 which did not shy away from the dark tones that all of his previous films explored.
Allowing myself to step forward, this news impacted me on a deep level. My favorite genre of film has and always will be horror. The works of John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, Dario Argento, and Wes Craven have influenced me to look at life in a way that many shy away from or don’t understand. I know I am not alone in these feelings on him either. He touched a primal chord in life by setting Freddy as a killer living in the dreamscape. Centuries of investigation of “sleep paralysis” were simplified and personified into this slasher killer. Craven brought an ancient study and combined it with modern suburbia. This was a skill that was also seen in his melding of the effects of the Vietnam War and the Manson Murders on 1970’s America with Last House on the Left. Not every film in Craven’s history was a winner, but his willingness to embrace and own his ideas was inspiring. Life is about taking chances, owning choices, and following one’s own drum. Craven exemplified this through his work. While he may be gone his work will stand through time and inspire future generations.