Wes Craven: father of Slasher Films

When people saw “The Last house on the Left” in 1972, they never would have thought that horror can be served with such violence and gore. There was criticism but it subsided with curiosity and there it started a new fan base for such films. Wes Craven was behind this beautifully horrific film which bent a lot of norms of presenting crimes in the purest form.

Craven started as a professor in humanities, he had masters in Philosophy and Writing from John Hopkins University. He had a hobby of making movies with his 16mm film camera, which later made him take up creative jobs in New York. He shifted to making Porn movies, he made hardcore movies in which he wrote, edited and directed scenes. It was in 1972 when he made his first feature film “The house on the left”, that’s what started his career in Horror films.

After his first feature, he experimented with some other movies in horror, but it was in 1984 Youth horror saw a new story which would become a cult for the coming generations. A Nightmare on the Elm Street had new perspectives on Slasher films, it was targeted at teens and it had an even more horrifying antagonist “Freddy Krueger”. Wes knew how to get into the minds of his audiences and he knew that the vulnerabilities of people can be best portrayed by these characters in his films.

He knew how to pop out ideas, be it an eye for fresh talent, creating genres, reading psyches of the perspective audiences and delivering a classic nightmare on the big screen. He created his own nightmare on the screen and it clicked well his fan following. His film style is something which needs to be highlighted here,  may be his studies in college made him study people in the most brutal and honest manner possible, that’s what made his characters so pure and antagonists so frightening on the screen. He played with dreams, reality, longing, desires, fantasies and asked questions to his audiences about their beliefs and he presented events in the scariest manner as much possible.

His work branched out to TV too, he was part of magazines too, and he wrote and produced mini-movies and feature films for his audiences. Some of his notable works include: The Hills Have Eyes (there remakes too, they were pretty cool), A Nightmare on Elm Street, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, Scream series, Inside Deep Throat, Scream (TV series), etc.

Surprisingly he made a romantic movie too named Music of the Heart, it had Meryl Streep, and she was nominated for an Academy award for the same. There was another romantic story with a twist of ghost in French ensemble production, Paris Je T’aime, it was critically acclaimed and Wes received recognition for adding a spirit (special spirit) in a romantic comedy.

With a lot of ghostly and creepy scenarios in his films, he painted quite a picture. He passed away in 2015 due to Brain cancer. He left a legacy of slasher films which will be used as a reference for young filmmakers to come.