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The Top 5 Wes Craven Films

On March 13th the unneeded remake of Wes Craven's classic The Last House on the Left will be hitting theaters. The trailer seems to imply that they got it all wrong. So unless one of you has seen it and can tell they have done a nice job, I am thinking this one is more The Fog than Halloween or Friday the 13th as far as modern remakes go.

Craven has made some pretty shitty films, in particular in the last few years. I mean when your best recent film is Red Eye, well that says a lot or doesn't depending on your take on things. But, despite this the man has made some of the genre's most important and influence films. Here then are his 5 best movies:

5. - This movie bought back the slasher film, albeit in a much more Hollywood manner. While many of the films it inspired or that ripped off of it, or it's inferior Craven helmed sequels (the third one was terrible!), it still stands a solid film. The problem is that over the years the movie has not aged well and does not hold to repeated. Baring that in mind the opening scene is still a classic moment (in particular in the unrated cut, sadly only seen on laserdisc). There is some good acting and the climax is thrilling. I enjoy the deconstructing of the slasher film, but it has many faults. But, then you see a piece of festering and worthless shit like Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon and really appreciate this movie. A classic despite all it's issues.

4. - Wes Craven and producer Sean Cunningham (who would go to direct the original Friday the 13th) gave us one of the most brutal and disturbing horror films ever made in this grindhouse classic. I think this film would be perfect if not for the stupid humor which is so out of place in a film like this. The villains are great in their role, in particular David Hess, who gave a career defining performance as scumbag Krug. The victims also give great performances, and the parents vengeance is highly satisfying. The brutal violence and degradation is still powerful, even after all my viewings and all the years that have passed. A film that is a landmark of it's time, it remains one of the greatest rape revenge films ever, topped only by Ms. 45.

3. - Before Craven deconstructed the slasher film with Scream he did it here. It's a great idea, that does work, but not as good as it could have. I have found that the film plays best the first time around, but regardless this a well written and acted movie. The lovely Heather Langenkamp gives a stellar performance. And, it is a blast to see Englund, Craven, Saxon, and Shay all playing themselves. The prospect of Freddy coming into the real world and terrorizing the lead from the original film is really an interesting. As is the involvement of such real life things such as actress stalking and the effects of violent horror on children.

2. - Continuing the more hardcore aspect of the horrors of LOTHL Craven wrote and directed this brutal, intense, and enthralling classic. The fact that both the villains and heroes are shown through their family life, adds an interesting dynamic to the proceedings. The attack on the family in the trailer remains one of Craven's strongest and most frightening moments. It is also highly satisfying when the heroes fight back. Avoid the Craven directed sequel or the sequel to the enjoyable, albeit inferior remake, as they both suck Micheal Berryman's asshole.

1. - Craven's best film is not only his scariest movie, but it is also one of the scariest horror films ever made. Like the early movies in his career this is an important and influential movie within the genre. ANOES took the slasher movie and added a new fantasy/ supernatural element that had not been present before. It is also a highly original and surreal movie that does a great job of presenting the world of our nightmares. The cast is good, with some classic performances. But, beyond all that it heralded a new horror villain in the form of Freddy Kreuger. While, the series would go down a more FX heavy/ pun filled style, the original remains a dark and terrifying movie and my third favorite movie ever.

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Unknown said...

Personally, I hated The New Nightmare, but I would agree with the rest of the list.