I’m sure I’m not breaking this for anyone, but Wes Craven, creator of classic horror films such as The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream has died.
I never met the man, nor did I have the pleasure of corresponding with him, but his films (Nightmare especially) left an indelible mark on me, and influenced not only my love of horror movies but also my love of horror period. When I was a kid, I’d repeatedly rent the Nightmare movies from the video store, and watch them back-to-back while dressed in my Freddy Krueger Halloween costume (I think I went as him two, maybe three years running). Hell, I’d wear the red-and-green striped sweater on random days, because Freddy rocks. It might sound…bad, but Freddy was my hero. I know, I know, you’re supposed to root for the good guys, but the good guys were boring. Freddy was fun. Freddy was funny. Freddy was bad. Not “evil” but bad in the Michael Jackson sense. Cool.
I never met Wes Craven, but I feel like I know him nonetheless. Artists have a way of stamping themselves onto their work, and if you look closely enough (and for long enough) you can come to “know” them. Wes Craven was witty, he was edgy, he knew what it took to truly, honestly scare. In a career that spanned over forty years, he produced some of the greatest horror films the world has ever known, and in each one of them, you could see that stamp, you could feel him moving through it like a cackling phantom. His films were scary, they were soulful, and they were original. Wes Craven wasn’t the kind of man to follow trends. He set them.
The horror genre will continue, as it always does, but it will miss forever Wes Craven’s cold touch. God speed and rest in peace.