The world lost a visionary tonight. Generations go by without any change to the status-quo leaving man uninspired. It takes an imagination to look at the sameness and step to the left. That is what Wes Craven did so very well. He introduced flavor back into the chewed out American film genre especially horror. For years production of horror films has been the hotbed of interest and new ideas. It has grown from the classic 1931 Dracula (monster movie) institution through the Sci-fi B-horror of the 50s and landing in Wes’ lap circa 1970s-90s. He stepped to the plate and gave us something to think about while we’re flinching in terror. Not to mention after producing several classics he jump-cuts to a whole new scene reinventing himself and fear.
Spawned from the delightfully plain setting of Cleveland, Ohio Craven had to grow an imagination fast and strong. Wes Craven’s first outing as a writer/director with 72s Last House on the Left sent a message of his creative power. Last House was a chilling tale of the evils waiting for us in real life. Perhaps his most frightening account, it started a wave of films based on the threat of home invasion and personal despair. Not willing to rest on his laurels he revolutionized the genre again by 1984 with his eerie creation, A Nightmare on Elm Street. This time Wes evaporates the line between corporal and the dream world with the dream stalker villain Freddy Kreuger. Like the “everyone showers” mentality behind the iconic Psycho killing, Wes exploits our nightmares. This is the one place humanity can’t hide making it the last bastion of innocence.
Finally, most will recall the last truly forward thinking revolution was his birth of the Scream franchise. Scream was a commentary on the tropes and fundamentals of the genre. Again it was designed for a young audience in which they took those basic building blocks of teen horror and turned them upside-down. Moreover, his most revolutionary idea was to make the protagonist in the majority of his films a female. Horror had been a boys club for eons. Until the 60s one could conclude the general line of thought was men were strong and women were damsels in distress. Wes Craven was a true film feminist in this regard. Characters like Phyllis Stone, Nancy Thompson, and Sidney have been saving the day in blockbuster franchises for decades.
To say a proper goodbye, we have to mention the fact that almost no one in the history of humanity has altered the state of things so often and so significantly. He a giant that fought valiantly against Brain Cancer only to succumb Sunday 30th 2015. What kind of supreme being would condone such Irony? He fought to protect his imagination and mind from the cancer that afflicted his brain. Though he passed this evening, Wes Craven has won that fight. He has been impactful, unequally inventive, and left this earth second to no other Hollywood director.
Goodbye Wes, never before have we enjoyed being so scared.
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