People enjoy heart-pulsing thriller and horror films because they love to feel alive and see something they never expected.
The adrenaline kicks in and makes our blood pulsate throughout our body, moving us ever closer to the edge of our seats. The more horrified we get, the more we remain glued until the last gut-wrenching scream cries out and the credits roll.
It’s easy to expect another film to come along and scare us out of our pants, however, what’s to be done when such a monumental pioneer in the genre is no longer there to come up with the next legacy defining monster?
Longtime director and a master of horror cinema, Wes Craven, died in his Los Angeles home on account of brain cancer on Aug. 30. He was 76 years old.
Wesley Earl Craven was born Aug. 2, 1939. He achieved an undergraduate degree in English and psychology at Wheaton College and earned a master’s in philosophy from the very reputable Johns Hopkins University.
For a short time he was an English professor at Westminster College and also a humanities professor at what is now Clarkson University. It was during this time he bought a 16mm camera and started experimenting making short films.
After many transitions throughout the industry, Craven made his directorial debut in 1972 with “The Last House on the Left.” Although a well-made hit, it wouldn’t be until 12 years later in 1984 when Craven would create the film that cemented his legacy as a director.
Craven created one of the most frightening characters in horror movie history with his creation of serial killer, Freddy Krueger, in “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” A good slew of parents most likely suffered sleepless nights due to Craven’s masterful creation.
Although his most iconic work, Craven went on to create and direct an array of other films including “The Hills Have Eyes” and the popular “Scream” series.
In 2012, Craven talked about his theory to making horror films in the book, “Reel Terror: The Scary, Bloody, Gory, Hundred-Year History of Classic Horror Films.” He explained how moviegoers must be scared out of their skin.
“Horror movies have to show us something that hasn’t been shown before so that the audience is completely taken back,” Craven said. “It’s not just that people want to be scared; people are scared.”
With Craven’s passing, moviegoers are scared indeed of what will happen to the genre that has brought them so much terror and excitement. In many ways, Craven has been considered as the godfather of horror, who took the genre to a whole new level. The future might be unclear, but whatever may happen, may it give us many good frights and sleepless nights. Thank you Wes Craven, may you rest in peace.
Brady Wesp is a staff writer for The Spectator.