Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Wes Craven: What Happened?

Wes Craven, a name once hailed amongst Horror fans but now seems to have slipped down the ranks over the years. So, what happened? 

When Wes first got started In the Horror genre he seemed to be pushing the barrier, his 1972 release "The Last House On The Left" caused major controversy, especially in the UK where it got banned for many, many years.

This run continued with his next release 5 years later, "The Hills Have Eyes", whilst not causing as much controversy as "The Last House On The Left" it featured the taboo subject of the time, rape, his second feature in a row to do so.

He carried on working in Horror with "Stranger In Our House" and "Deadly Blessing". Craven then ventured into a Hollywood studio film, "Swamp Thing", many see this as a dip in his career but a-lot let it slide due to the fact it wasn't his material and it was his first studio experience.

In 1984 Craven hit Horror gold when he gave the genre one of the most loved characters, Freddy Kreuger. This would be the film that launched him into the big leagues. He followed up with another dip in form with the films "The Hills Have Eyes Part II" and "Deadly Friend", during this period a sequel to "A Nightmare On Elm Street" was made without him, his choice as he didn't want it to become a franchise.

He did do a u-turn though when he returned to write the screenplay for "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors" hoping to end the series but we all know that never happened but it did see his form rise once again as he went on to release "The Serpent And The Rainbow".

Unfortunately "The Serpent And The Rainbow" would be Craven's last hit for a long time his films would be box office hits ,"Shocker" and "The People Under The Stairs" grossed very well, but fans would be divided feeling his work was getting tame. He also created a short lived TV series, "Nightmare Cafe", it only lasted 3 months due to severe low ratings.

Craven would once again return to the "Elm Street" franchise with "Wes Craven's New Nightmare" which he wrote, directed and produced. The film was a success and it seemed Craven had once again beaten his slump.

The same year he he released "Wes Craven's New Nightmare" he released "Vampire In Brooklyn" a-lot of people see this as the downturn in his career and a-lot of Horror fans felt this was a slap in the face from Craven.

Just a year later Wes would release "Scream", although it was a huge box office success many fans were not pleased at all and even state that this cemented his tame work had become the norm for him and went on to abandoned him. 

Despite a fan backlash Craven went on to make a sequel, "Scream 2", and once again more fans jumped ship, even with his name being attached to the cult favourite "Wishmaster" didn't turn fans back in his favour despite it's positive reception.

Craven didn't help thing when he produced a remake of Herk Harvey's 1962 horror favourite, "Carnival Of Souls" which is still criticised to this day. He then left the Horror genre and directed "Music Of The Heart" which angered many who were still clinging on to hope.

Later releases continued to be highly criticised by fans world-wide, the "Scream" franchise carried on being made but with each release the profit margin would dwindle as fans continued to walk away. and work offers slowed down.

In 2006 he once again made fans feel like he betrayed when he produced the remake of his cult favourite 1977 release "The Hills Have Eyes", despite it going back to his graphic scenes fans had already moved on and felt they weren't missing anything as it was a remake. Even the release of "The Breed", a return to his r-rated form was too late.

With fans backlashing world-wide it seemed Craven had lost a big portion of a fan-base that once hailed him as a genius you'd think Craven would have continued his r-rated ways to try and win back fans film by film. In a way he did but not in the way fans would have wanted, he decided to do another remake of another of his cult classics, "The Last House On The Left".

If there were any fans left clinging onto any scraps of hope they were completely demolished when he released "My Soul to Take" and the latest "Scream" franchise instalment, which was a return to his tamer ways.

Craven will always be loved for giving us Freddy Kreuger, he had a career that started off with so much potential, even with "A Nightmare On Elm Street" many feel he still could do better. Honestly his days of riding Kreuger's coat tails are gone and fans are sick of his teen friendly Horror films. Craven could still win back fans if he stopped the remakes and teen Horror films, but I personally feel like it's too little too late.

There will be people out there who still consider him to be a genius and continue to watch his films but there are also as many who feel his career has dwindled away and no longer have interest. I myself use to be a huge Craven fan, unfortunately I'm now part of the latter. It's time to let go of Craven and let the teens be entertained by him, but at-least we can still watch his oldies.

Now I know that I'll probably get backlash for this article and feel free if you feel strong enough about it, but this is my point of view.


  1. Wes Craven is my favorite director, so shame on you, XD. But i whole have to agree with you, his nightmarish visions have really fell to the wayside in recent years i was VERY upset with My Soul To Take and his attempt at remakes, but i feel that is what is happening with all hte greats, john carpenter's The Ward was also very tame and not noteworthy, They need to take a step back and get back to their old ways. But Freddy will always be the baddest of the bad in my book!

  2. I agree it is the way the genre is going, I think the whole business needs to take a step back and re-evaluate everything