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So Wes Craven died yesterday and, as a result, the world is a little less good. Craven is one of the greatest names in the history of horror, having created genre-defining films in multiple decades. He made a career out of spooky shit and will rightly be remembered for crafting some of horror cinema's most-enduring classics. Over the years, I have spent an ungodly amount of my free time watching and rewatching his oeuvre, and I can say with an exceptionally high degree of certainty that the man was a G . Now, in true internet fashion, I present to you my top five reasons why Wes Craven was a complete and total G. Of course, all five reasons are films, because nothing else would make sense. If you haven't seen the following movies, I would recommend that you quit your job, go home, and acquaint yourself with the their greatness.
#5: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984)
Of Craven's classics, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET probably holds up the least, due in no small part to the sheer 80s-ness of it all. Nonetheless, its inventive premise, impressive visuals, and iconic villain combine to make this movie more than worth the watch.
#4) THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972)
Taken as a whole, rape-revenge is a pretty rough genre. From I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (1978) to IRREVERSIBLE, these movies force viewers to watch the most heinous, disgusting acts possible. Craven's seminal THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT captures the rage, pain, and moral ambiguity of violence in the face of violence. Despite being a little uneven, the film is an impressive debut that hints at Craven's deeper genius.
#3: NEW NIGHTMARE (1994)
While SCREAM is widely held as the quintessential postmodern horror film, the seeds of its brilliance were sown a couple of years earlier in the criminally underrated NEW NIGHTMARE. Following a series of increasingly shitty sequels, NEW NIGHTMARE marked Craven's return to Elm Street and managed to breathe some much-needed life into the beleaguered franchise. It's far from perfect, but it has a few interesting ideas that set it apart from the rest of the Freddy flicks.
#2: SCREAM (1996)
Aside from the clothes, the music, and the he's-got-a-cell-phone-so-he-definitely-did-it part, Craven's self-referential slasher still holds up. By the mid-90s, the teen slasher subgenre had stagnated; the franchises that dominated the 80s had atrophied into poor parodies of themselves, going through the trope-laden motions without the murderous passions they'd once displayed. Then Wes Craven came along and turned screenwriter Kevin Williamson's excellent script into a modern classic. Watch it with a group of friends and try to figure out which one of you is Jamie Kennedy.
#1: THE HILLS HAVE EYES (1977)
This one right here is my shit. I love this movie. The first time I saw it, it kicked me square in the balls. It's got all the grit, violence, and unyielding intensity you should expect out of a movie from the 70s (that filthy, filthy decade). All I ask is that you don't mention the remake. You people and your remakes. Make a different movie about a family being stalked and eaten by a pack of cannibalistic desert-dwellers. I don't care. Just don't call it THE HILLS HAVE EYES. Why is this so damn difficult, people?
HONORABLE MENTIONS: THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW (1988)
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