R.I.P. Wes Craven
Ah, this is a tough loss. One of my favorite directors growing up, hell, just in general: Wes Craven, passed away at the age of 76.
My first memory of Wes Craven being brought into my life was one of my earliest memories. In the mid-1980's, my family decided to rent the 1984 classic A Nightmare on Elm Street and allow me to take in the film. My only memory was of being so scared that I had to be taken into the other room while the rest of the family continued to watch. Being the man responsible for providing my first scare through cinema is about the highest praise I can offer.
Not to be deterred by being traumatized at the hands of Wes Craven, I spent the latter part of the 80's and all of the 90's catching up on Wes Craven's current and past films. From blind-buying The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes to watching films that Wes Craven only associated himself with including Wishmaster and They, he made a fan out of me for life.
Skipping over the classic that A Nightmare on Elm Street is, a fond memory of mine was watching his 1989 film, Shocker, multiple times on USA's Up All Night. Though not Wes Craven's strongest film, it is a film I associate with my childhood and holds a special place in my heart. Around the same time, Wes Craven created the highly-underrated The People Under the Stairs. Touching on socio-economical themes to balance out some of the horror elements, the film is a gem that needs to be revisited.
Another memory I recall having was watching the short-lived Nightmare Cafe, starring Robert Englund. I couldn't really tell you much about the show, but I do recall waiting anxiously for the premiere as Wes Craven was involved in the production.
Wes Craven did a lot to influence my childhood, all for the better.
After a string of films that didn't seem up to par in the 1990's, though New Nightmare is a must-see, Wes Craven came back with a vengeance in 1996's Scream. Sending up the genre he helped influence, Wes Craven created a new horror icon for the next generation. As the years of his life came to a close, Wes Craven stayed busy and created the better-than-expected Red Eye, which stepped out of the comforts of horror and instead thrust the audience into a high-paced thriller.
Always a good commentator, Wes Craven was a very smart guy who appeared to enjoy his audience by participating in film commentaries and documentaries. Always appearing willing to discuss his filmography, good and bad, Wes Craven was someone you always wanted to keep talking.
The world is a little less scary today. And that's not a good thing.
R.I.P. Wes Craven 1939-2015