Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Wes Craven's top 10 films.

 Wes Craven's top 10 films.

Yesterday horror fans from around the world mourned when they received word that writer/director Wes Craven had lost his battle with cancer at the age of 76. It truly is starting to hit us that some of our most beloved horror directors are now getting older, which means the time may come that we'll lose them. Losing Wes was truly a shock to us all since for going on forty years he provided some of the most surreal and original storytelling in the world of cinema. Here I list Wes' top ten films and why they rocked.

10) Shocker
- This makes the 10th place simply because this was a simple case of the studio trying to make lighting strike twice. They wanted another wise cracking famous boogyman, and saw nothing but dollar signs as they attempted to do so. Lucky for Craven he stayed to his roots while still trying to break some new ground. I loved there being a male lead, and of course the killer twist that happens with his girlfriend pretty early on in the movie. Sure you might roll your eyes at all of the dream scenes but Craven established these perfectly keeping a beautiful yet eerie sense of dread. Loved the shot of the neighborhood kids running down the street and disappearing, or of Allison dressed all white in the bloody bath tub. As cringe worthy as one of the one liners and moments are, this movie truly does have some great moments and characters you actually end up liking. The whole idea of the spirit being able to pass from one soul to the other was down right brilliant and completely ripped off years later with Fallen.

9) Scream 2
- I still have fond memories seeing this with my mother and sister when it was first released. Scream 2 is everything you want in a sequel and more. As Stu said in the original "These days, you gotta have a sequel!" Following Sidney and Randy to college, the ghost faced murders begin with one of the best openings to a horror movie ever. Kicking things up a notch from the original this movie isn't perfect, but really pulls no punches. Sure one of the killer's reveals is pretty lame, but you got some down right fist clenching moments such as Sidney and her roommate trapped in the police car having to crawl over the killer. 

8) The Hills Have Eyes 2
-  I know, I know. Many of you are asking why the hell did this movie make the list?! Well guess what, I actually really like this movie. I gave it a chance while it was streaming on Netflix and really truly enjoyed it. I wish Wes would of been given the time he needed to make the sequel he intended as well as deserved. I still feel Bobby should of had a bigger part and bring back Brenda. Nevertheless The Hills Have Eyes 2 is a movie that knows it's bad from the very beginning. Between the dog having a flashback, or everyone forgetting about day light's savings time, it's pretty laughable. Still, it strangely sets up for another pretty awesome movie where Ruby (now married to Bobby and going by the name of Rachel) is forced to fight off the clan of manics she once called family. With tons of actions, a pack of teenage bike riders setting up to be massacred, and some of the original villains returning, this is a run movie to re-watch and try to give another chance with.

7) Scream 4
- Don't even get me started on why part 3 wasn't on the list. Part 4 is really the sequel I had been waiting for since part 2. Years in the making, this was the next entry all of us fans were waiting for. The only thing I really didn't like about this movie was the opening. It seemed as if this movie was trying to be a little too clever for it's own good. Still it did something lots of 4th entries in films couldn't do. They got a brand new group of characters and make them likable. With some brutal kills, and a great twist at the end, the 4th after the original is one of my all time favorites to watch over and over again. I'm glad Wes ended the series with a bang with this one.

6) The People Under The Stairs
- So many memories of renting this movie at the video store as a kid. Wes Craven showed yet again as the 1990's began he still had plenty of staying power. The People Under The Stairs is one of his most underrated films of all time and still holds true as a classic today! The movie takes place in city showing the other side of how people live and how desperate they become to survive. Wes did something daring with movie and had a young 13 year old boy play the lead. Showing the madness of a couple who are complete insane with the idea of the perfect family, he turns a massive mansion into a character itself. The movie is filled with tons of traps, chases, action, and strange and weird visuals. A fun watch for anyone and one of my all time favorite settings for a film. That house was huge!

5) Deadly Friend
-  Another title I'm sure people are scratching their heads at for making the list. I adore Deadly Friend. I read the original novel, and complete see how this was yet another case of the studio trying to cash in on what was popular and completely took over for Wes destroying any chance he had at making the movie he wanted to. Still, despite all of it's flaws I really like this movie. Sure it's cheesy, and cut to holy hell, but still as strange as it was, I see what Wes really tried to do. He tried to make a twisted haunted love story from beyond the grave. Sadly this movie is often overlooked because of the silly over the top ending and gory basketball scene. I for one love watching this movie and always catch myself putting it on. One of the best scenes is when Sam aka BeBe is trapped by the police and she stares at Paul and slowly her old memory starts to take over. The music cue when this happens always gets me. 

4) Scream
- This was a movie I watched countless times growing up. It was the 90's take on slashers and it worked perfectly. With one hell of an opening, we watch a beautiful and blond Drew Barrymore completely helpless as an unseen stalker calls her house before attacking her. With a group of likable slick teenagers that seem to know more about movies than the actual audience, this movie is always a fun watch mostly if you grew up with it like I did. The film has some down right brutal deaths, and one hell of an ending. I always watch this movie whenever it's on simply because it reminds me of myself when I was younger and the great memories I had watching it with my mother and sister. 

3) Wes Craven's New Nightmare
- This movie proves how brilliant of a director Wes truly was. Taking place in "reality" the movie spins the entire Nightmare On Elm Street series and spins it on it's head. This was truly the ending of the series fans all deserved after the hot mess of Freddy's Dead. Making Freddy darker, more evil, and returning to it's roots, this movie shows just a brief glimmer of what could of happened if Wes was in charge of the entire series. One of my all time favorite moments is of course Freddy lunching out of the closet and looking down at Heather before saying "Nancy…"

2) The Hills Have Eyes
- One of my personal favorites on the list. Often overlooked by it's brutal remake, the original Hills Have Eyes was Craven's awesome follow up to Last House On The Left. This is one of my all time favorite horror movies by how downright terrifying and isolated the entire film is. In fact I own a down right stunning Mondo print of the movie with Bobby, Brenda, their mother, and the baby looking out the trailer door at night as one of the killers lurks below. One of my biggest dreams is to meet the entire cast of this movie. A must to watch.

1) A Nightmare On Elm Street
- Original, surreal, haunting, and brilliant are just some of the words best way to explain A Nightmare On Elm Street. Wes breathed fresh life into the slasher era and changed it for all time. Giving birth to Freddy, one of horror's most memorable villains, this movie has TONS of iconic images. (Tina getting dragged up the ceiling, the little girls all in white jumping rope, the mushy staircase, Nancy's white hair, Glen getting sucked down in the bed, the claw, Nancy getting pulled down in the bathtub, ect. Just think, all of these from one movie which spawned endless sequels and a series that will truly never die.

RIP Wes. A legend!
Stay tuned for my picks for top moments in a Wes Craven film!

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