Dash 10s…Wes Craven Films

   Hey kids, welcome back. Talk about a rough day yesterday, I’m sure everyone else is still just as upset as I am when we heard the news that acclaimed horror director Wes Craven passed away two days ago. I swear that still doesn’t sound right coming out of my mouth. But like I said before, I’m gonna push myself to remember how he lived. With that said, I think it’s time to start talking about horror again.

   Damn right, guys. In honor of the late great Wes Craven, I’m gonna count down some of his best work. As always, it’s all my personal opinion. So if I didn’t list your favorite Wes Craven movie, don’t hold it against me. However, I am interested in hearing and discussing any opinion you guys may have. With that said…this is for you, Wes.

#10-Shocker

Weirded out? Then we’re off to a great start. Some of you are probably what this movie is about…well, it’s about a crazed serial killer who sells his soul to the devil through a TV set and then becomes an unstoppable force after being executed via electric chair…

Yeah yeah, I know. Let me explain…After New Line Cinema basically went off on a tangent with the ‘Nightmare On Elm Street’ sequels, Wes Craven then decided to make a deal with Universal in hopes of creating a new horror franchise. The end result was a story so dumb that it wasn’t even deemed good enough for at least one sequel…AND IT WAS SO FRIGGIN’ AWESOME!

Who cares if it didn’t “WOW” critics back in 1989, I love every goofy minute of this flick. At a closer glance this film may look like a ‘Nightmare’ clone, but that doesn’t make it any less of a fun ride. Halloween’s just right around the corner, guys. Looking for scary movie that’s funny(whether intentional or not) Pop this movie in and enjoy its ridiculous plot, cheesy acting and “shockingly” awesome soundtrack.

Good for you. Now, don’t try and judge this movie too hardly. Give it a watch.

#9-The Serpent & The Rainbow

  You know what we hardly get to see in movies? Zombies!

No no no, not “Zombies”! I mean, “Zombies”. No disrespect to George A. Romero for recreating the famed movie monsters, but let’s not forget about Haitian folklore. Like ‘White Zombie’ or ‘I Walked With A Zombie’, I’m talking about that Voodoo that you do!

Beware kids, this movie is one hell of a trip. Oozing with atmosphere and delivering some pretty horrific moments, this movie will make you think twice before trying to poke fun and compare these zombies to the modern-day flesh eaters. A more fictionalized adaptation of a book of the same name, ‘The Serpent & The Rainbow’ follows a doctor’s trip to Haiti as he tries to unravel the mystery of people coming back from the dead. Is it all in his head? Are the zombies real? Sorry, not telling you jack!

Yes, sweetie. I know. Now, let’s move on.

#8-The Last House On The Left

Get ready to feel uncomfortable, guys. Just remember to keep telling yourself…It’s only a movie, it’s only a movie, it’s only a movie, it’s only a movie. Oh, and that it’s only Craven’s first movie. Yes, Wes Craven’s directorial debut…which just so happens to be one of the most controversial movies ever made. What else would you expect from a rape-revenge exploitation film?

I agree, it may be a little hard to recommend this one to some of you guys. It’s truly not for the faint of heart. Especially since the film is shot in such a way that it truly makes the film seem much more real, at least for 1972. Not to mention that the movie has been banned in a few countries, including the UK. Think about that for a second…’The Last House On The Left’ got banned before Russel Brand’s career.

   Despite all the controversy, the subject matter and the gritty film style, that doesn’t take away the fact that it’s Wes Craven at his best and it’s only the beginning. I only recommend it to only viewers with strong hearts and even stronger stomachs. Oh, and yes…there will be banjos.

#7-Vampire In Brooklyn

   Hey, look kids! It’s Eddie Murphy…and he’s funny! Much like ‘Shocker’, this movie takes a less serious approach and is really hilarious. Unlike ‘Shocker’…’Vampire In Brooklyn’ is intentionally funny AND does a better job at blending the comedy with the horror.

   Eddie Murphy plays the titular bloodsucker, of course. But much like some of Eddie’s other movies, he plays a whole bunch of other characters. Murphy handling the laughs while Craven handles the scares? I’m down. This movie is all kinds of entertaining. When I first saw this as a kid, I thought it was just going to be a spoof of vampire movies starring Eddie Murphy. While it was hilarious and is also one of my favorite Eddie Murphy films, it actually surprised me with its serious moments and genuinely effective scares. Highly recommended! Besides, who doesn’t find Evil Axel Foley hilarious?

 

It’s like finding a Legendary Pokemon. Alright, next up.

#6-Scream 4

Eleven years since the last ‘Scream’ movie, this fourth entry was a return to basics, a family reunion, an unofficial pilot for the TV Series and one giant “F-U” to bad horror remakes all in one…and it was glorious. Oh, I’m sorry. What’s that? You don’t like the fourth one?

Thank you, Veronica Mars. Now please, stop stabbing Sookie. Anyways, ‘Scream 4’ is one hell of a comeback for both Craven and writer Kevin Williamson, giving us all the shocking deaths, quirky dialogue, likable characters and fourth wall-breaking that we come to know and love. Hell, I had the honor of seeing this in theaters and the audience was so loud. Oh, but some people thought this movie was bad, right? Yeah…any of you got a roll of duct tape laying around somewhere?

Moving on!

#5-Scream 2

Here it is, the first sequel! Arguably one of the best horror sequels out there. So much so that many people argue that ‘Scream 2’ is better than the original. Hell, even some critics who didn’t like the original had nothing but good things to say about the sequel. While I may disagree with ‘Scream 2’ being superior, I can understand where some of you guys are coming from. Seriously guys, trust me on this one.

‘Scream 2’ takes some of the same elements of the first and basically improves on it. The scares, the laughs, everything. I really don’t like to give away spoilers when I talk about the ‘Scream’ movies, just in case some poor unfortunate soul hasn’t seem them yet. Let’s just say that while ‘Scream 2’ has a few minor flaws that keep it from possibly being higher on my list, its because of all the film’s pros that this 1997 sequel rests comfortably in the fifth spot on my list.

#4 Red Eye

Ha ha ha ha! Well now, I bet some of you were fooled by the trailer too. Don’t feel too bad, I’m pretty sure a lot of people also thought that this movie was gonna be some chick flick starring that chick from ‘Mean Girls’.

Yeah no! ‘Red Eye’ is what I consider Wes Craven’s love letter to Alfred Hitchcock. The entire movie is a basic plot with a clever twist, backed up by amazing acting from Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy. Of course, if you seen ’28 Days Later’ or Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’ Trilogy, then you know Murphy can act. Rachel McAdams on the other hand truly surprised me in this movie and helped me gain so much respect for her as an actress…just not as a Hockey player. Seriously, there’s High-Sticking and then there’s Aggravated Assault.

I mean Rachel is Canadian, she should know better.

#3 Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

Welcome back to New Line, Wes. Consider this movie to be the ‘Scream’ prototype. Blending horror elements with shades of reality. It was a new change of pace for the ‘Nightmare’ franchise and was seriously needed after years of, well…

Don’t get me wrong, I got no problem with Freddy being funny since it was the ever-growing silliness of the series that made Freddy an icon. On the other hand, Freddy Krueger IS A LIVING NIGHTMARE! Believe it or not, I grew up with the “Funny Freddy”. Hell, my first ‘Nightmare’ movie was ‘Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare’ which was Freddy at his most ridiculous. Once I saw ‘New Nightmare’…well, okay I’m lying. I couldn’t sit through ‘New Nightmare’ the first time because it was so friggin’ scary!

I mean, Jesus! Don’t call it a comeback, am I right? It’s great to see Wes Craven bring the Biggest Mouth In Horror back to his terrifying roots and as I said before, the film’s self-awareness is merely the first step in starting a fresh new take on the entire horror genre. Ooh, which reminds me…

#2-Scream

Yeah, I think Neve Campbell said it best.

  Damn right, baby! Hands down, one of the best horror films ever made. Why? WHY?!? Ha! That’s funny, you guys wanna know why. Before this movie, the Slasher genre was pretty much stagnating during the early 90s. Once ‘Scream’ came out, guys like Freddy, Jason, Chucky came back with a vengeance. It was all thanks this little gem, glorifying everything that’s awesome about horror movies as well as making fun of its tropes.

What? You wanna end up like Rose McGowan?

Too bad. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make that if it wasn’t for ‘Scream’, the Slasher genre wouldn’t have had its newfound resurgence in the 90s. There should be absolutely no reason why you haven’t watched ‘Scream’ yet. This movie will make you remember to be scared when watching a scary movie, but it’ll also make you laugh…and make you think twice before taking that Caller ID for granted.

God, I love that opening! Anyway, let’s get this over with. Oh gee, I wonder what’ll be in the #1 spot. I’m so excited, are you excited? I wonder what it is, okay here it is.

#1-A Nightmare On Elm Street

Did I shock you? Of course I didn’t! What else could possibly take the number one spot? Sure some of Craven’s earlier work was grittier or if his later work was more polished. ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’ is widely regarded by…well, everyone as one of the greatest horror movies ever made. This was the movie that redefined the Slasher genre 12 years before ‘Scream’ would bring the genre back. This was the movie that created Freddy Krueger, made Wes Craven an instant legend and…something else too. Oh yeah, IT STARTED JOHNNY DEPP’S CAREER!

Don’t worry, he’s fine. Anyway, if you thought ‘New Nightmare’ was scary…Ha! There is a reason why Horror elitists hate the sequels, and for good reason. This is Freddy Krueger at his absolute scariest. Movies like ‘Dream Warriors’ and ‘Dream Master’ may have made Freddy famous…but the original ‘Nightmare’ made the Springwood Slasher infamous. If you haven’t seen ‘Nightmare’ yet for whatever reason, I’m sure your reason sounds sillier than Freddy’s Power Glove.

  Yeah no, go watch ‘Nightmare’! It’s Robert Englund at his best, it’s Wes Craven at his best, all that should be good enough reasons to watch this movie. If not, you also have its truly horrific moments, iconic death scenes, likable characters, an iconic score, fantastic special effects for the 1980s and turned New Line Cinema into a household name. One can even make the argument that if it wasn’t for ‘Nightmare’, New Line Cinema wouldn’t have been responsible for some of the most iconic movies of all time; like ‘The Mask’, ‘Austin Powers’, and of course, ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ Trilogy.

With that said, I salute you Mr. Craven. Thank you once again for everything you have done for Horror and for film as a whole. Hope you’re resting in peace, and just so you know…you won’t just be missed, you will be remembered.

R.I.P. Wes Craven(1939-2015)

Videos & Photos:

Shocker(owned by Universal Pictures, Carolco Pictures & Alive Films)

The Serpent & The Rainbow(owned by Universal Pictures)

The Last House On The Left(owned by Sean S. Cunningham Films, Lobster Enterprises, The Night Co., & MGM)

Vampire In Brooklyn(owned by Universal Pictures & Eddie Murphy Productions)

Scream 4(owned by Dimension Films, Corvus Corax Productions & Outerbanks Entertainment)

Scream 2(owned by Dimension Films, Konrad Pictures & Craven-Maddalena Films)

Red Eye(owned by DreamWorks Pictures)

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare(owned by New Line Cinema)

Scream(owned by Dimension Films & Woods Entertainment)

A Nightmare On Elm Street(owned by New Line Cinema, Media Home Entertainment & Smart Egg Pictures)

Doctor Who(owned by BBC)

Supernatural(owned by Warner Bros. Television Distribution & Kripke Enterprises)

WWE(owned by WWE)

Sherlock(owned by BBC Wales & Hartswood Films)

Pride & Prejudice(owned by Focus Features, StudioCanal & Working Title Films)

Glee(owned by 20th Century Fox Television, Brad Falchuk Teley-Vision & Ryan Murphy Productions)

Chappelle’s Show(owned by MGM Television, Comedy Partners & Pilot Boy Productions)

Shaun Of The Dead(owned by Universal Pictures, Rogue Pictures, StudioCanal, Working Title Films & Big Talk Productions)

White Zombie(owned by United Artists)

Arthur(2011 Film)(owned by Warner Bros. Pictures, MBST Entertainment, BenderSpink & Langley Park Productions)

Mean Girls(owned by Paramount Pictures)

A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child(owned by New Line Cinema, Smart Egg Pictures & Heron Communications)

Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare(owned by New Line Cinema)

Freddy’s Nightmares(owned by Warner Bros. Television Distribution, Stone Television & New Line Television)

The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers(owned by New Line Cinema, WingNut Films & The Saul Zaentz Company)

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