The likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick have dabbled in the horror movie genre creating well regarded films in Psycho and The Shining, respectively. Those movies are considered to be some of the best movies ever created. The horror genre also involved some heavyweights such as James Cameron, Ridley Scott, and Roman Polanski that aren’t ultimately known for horror movies but sure contributed to the genre with great ones like Alien, Aliens (great sequel name), and Rosemary’s Baby, again, respectively. Disrespectfully, there has also been many Asian directors with awesome films that are all being emulated in modern American cinema. I guess imitation is the greatest form of flattery. That imitation brought us The Ring and The Grudge along with many others.
Many directors have experimented with the genre and some have succeeded where most have failed. Though horror series have become a norm, before the 80s, horror movies were mostly a niche art created mostly in the indy scene. There are a few distinguished and perhaps a bit whacky gentlemen that made a living doing horror movies and essentially responsible for making it a popular media form.
Sure sure we’ve heard of Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dracula, Nosferatu, The Exorcist and all of the aforementioned titles above but it wasn’t until George A. Romero, John Carpenter, and the late Wes Craven that horror film became what it did. Peeping Tom should be credited as the first “slasher” film but there is no mistaking, that todays lucrative and sometimes entertaining pop/horror was created by the three men. Saw, Paranormal Activity, Sinister, and all of these now successful series follow the formula drawn out by Friday the 13th, Halloween, and A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Wes Craven should be celebrated the same way John Hughes was celebrated. Craven’s work spanned five decades all in the horror genre starting with The House on The Left in 1972. His works include The Hills Have Eyes (original), Swamp Thing, the entire A Nightmare on Elm Street series, Twilight Zone, Shocker (one of my favs), and of course the Scream series. His movies have grossed almost a billion dollars. Whether we like it or not, his movies played a role in our pop-culture lives. Whether it was Johnny Depp getting swallowed up in a bloody mattress of death or Neve Campbell screaming with Carmen Electra, it is part of our pop culture fiber. These horror movies, though not great, are timeless and will have a certain link to moments in our lives.
Mr. Wes Craven, thank you for sharing your art. It was gruesome!