Wes Craven passed away on the 30th of August and it has impacted the film industry hugely. Wes Craven was a master of the Horror genre and a personal hero of mine. If it wasn’t for his pioneering Horror, Nightmare On Elm Street, I don’t think I would be so enthralled by the medium. Horror has always been a favourite of mine. The psychology of Horror and the brutal primal nature of Horror is one to be investigated and is the most pure reflection of Human psychology. Wes Craven was an expert in the manipulation of this genre.
Craven will be best know for two horror franchises that evolved the genre. Nightmare on Elm Street, which not just created one of the most recognizable faces in horror, albeit burnt, Freddy Krueger. Also it created one of the most strongest female roles in Horror in Nancy. This film was a glowing jewel in a cluster of stale slashers. It was a more psychological, smart and twisted film. This what Craven brought to the table, intelligence. Horror is lambasted with critique of formulaic stories and characters. Nightmare on Elm Street threw away the faceless killer with a burn victim torturer that had a magnetic personality and pranced on screen like a performance at the ballet. Also the parallel between reality and dream was an interesting concept that made generations be afraid of when they dream. Nightmare on Elm Street is a film that holds up today and is one of the few horror that still petrifies audiences to this day. Craven, even though wasn’t that involved in it’s next few sequels, created a character that has become a global phenomenon.
When you talk about evolving Horror, Scream has been heralded as a turning point in Horror. In the mid nineties; Horror slumped. Stupid slasher and dumb films churned out to milk a cash cow. However Scream took the stale formula, genre conventions and characters and made the film self aware of them. I’m repeating myself but Craven introduced intelligence into a genre of declining substance. Craven respected the audience’s knowledge of the genre and made fun of the repetitive conventions of past. This film rejuvenated the slasher genre of the 90’s and became again a ripe time for Horror to be successful.
Craven still not stride to fit a mold but instead took the mold and bent it out of shaped and recreated a genre that met flaws of monotony and futility. He kept on evolving the genre and trying to reinvent it. Wes Craven is a personal hero of mine and he mastered a genre of which I respect. The Nightmare series is one to adore and hold highly. Even the films in the series that Craven was not involved in, he was the one to create such a vast and feared world.
In today’s state of Horror we are at the lull of monotony of possession horror and the industry needs a Wes Craven type to reinvent the genre. But sadly Craven is a unique individual in the Horror genre. He did not rely on jump scares or dumb tricks. He believed in the psychology of Horror, the atmosphere and tone of a film. He knew the audience was intelligent. He respected the Horror audience and they respected him. Wes Craven was a master of Horror and there will be no one else like him. He may of passed but his films was still scare future generations.
Wes Craven will be sadly missed but his legacy will live on.