Wes Craven: “Thanks for the Screams”

Welcome to the 13 Days of Halloween

Today’s post is a special installment of the “13 Days” as I take a moment to pay homage to the “maestro of horror”, Wes Craven. I’ve looked at quite a few lists that rank Craven’s movies from best to bestest, and for the most part, all are in agreement as to which Wes Craven movies will definitely scare the shih tzu out of you. So, here’s how this is going to go: I’m picking the most popular movies of the top 5 rankings and featuring them here. They will be listed according to my “freakability” and may or may not be summarized or critiqued. Are you ready?

The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

An anthropologist goes to Haiti after hearing rumors about a drug used by black magic practitioners to turn people into zombies. This film is not only fascinating and strange, it scares the fecking shit out of me. For gore’s sake, I can’t even rifle through the movie images on Google without involuntarily closing my eyes. This movie is definitely an underrated shocker. Let’s take a look:

I dig Bill Pullman–just sayin’. I mean Casper–am I right?

The movie is based on this book which is based on a true story.

Taken from Goodreads: A scientific investigation and personal adventure story about zombis and the voudoun culture of Haiti by a Harvard scientist.  . . . The Serpent and the Rainbow combines anthropological investigation with a remarkable personal adventure to illuminate and finally explain a phenomenon that has long fascinated Americans.

Behind the scenes stills:

Image source: MovieStillsDB moviestillsdb.com
Image source: Deep Fried Movies mattmulcahey.wordpress.com

The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

On the way to California, a family has the misfortune to have their car break down in an area closed to the public, and inhabited by violent savages ready to attack. Dude, they’re freakin’ inbred cannibals! I mean, seriously, could you imagine? Any family who has set out on a road trip, and has watched this movie, prays to Garmin that their GPS never fails them. Never–ever–ever–NEVER! Anywho, here’s some tidbits I dug up on this movie:

This movie was made in the days when movies relied on pure psychological terror instead of special effects. See for yourself:

Great little clip on how Michael Berryman got into showbiz:

Here’s some trivia (which can be found at IMDb) about the movie:

  • Wes Craven’s original title for the film was ‘Blood Relations’. Producer Peter Locke, however, disliked the title. Numerous titles were then considered and the film tested best under the title ‘The Hills Have Eyes’, though Craven himself initially disliked the title. Personally, I like the original choice of title; it has layers.
  • The dead dog used as a stand-in for the family’s slaughtered Alsatian ‘Beauty’, widely believed to be a dummy dog, was in fact a real (already dead) dog that director Wes Craven and producer Peter Locke had bought from the county sheriff’s department. So–like–the guts and shizz you see flying around in the movie are–like–real.
  • The similarities to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) were intentional as Wes Craven was a huge fan of Tobe Hooper’s film. He considered his film in part an homage to it. Awww, everyone deserves an homage. FEELS!

The Last House on the Left (1972)

A pair of teenage girls are headed to a rock concert for one’s birthday. While trying to score marijuana in the city, the girls are kidnapped by a gang of psychotic convicts. OK, so I’ve never actually watched this movie because it’s one of those movies that I can’t even make it through the first few seconds of the trailer. That’s right, I admit it! This movie is not only shockingly gruesome it also makes me extremely uncomfortable–E-X-T-R-E-M-E-L-Y! But hey, I think even the most seasoned horror fan would squirm watching this one. So there!

Here’s the trailer:

You’ll have to let me know how it was . . . because I didn’t watch it!

Here’s some trivia:

  • There are claims that this movie is based on a true story buuuut it’s actually the reworking of the short story “The Virgin Spring” by Ingmar Bergman.
  • The Last House on the Left was Craven’s directorial debut. The movie was also Sean S. Cunningham and Steve Miner introduction to the horror world. They returned with the classic “Friday the 13th”.
  • The films soundtrack was actually composed and performed by the leading actor, David Hess.  The hell . . . you say.
  • Shockingly enough  the movie was refused a certificate for cinema release by the BBFC in 1974 due to scenes of sadism and violence. It was even banned through most of the 80’s and part of the 90’s. Well done, Mr. Craven. Well done.

Scream

Attempting to cope with her mother’s murder, Sydney and her horror movie-obsessed friends are stalked by a murderer who seems to have a hard time letting the past go. This is my favorite Wes Craven movie. Back in the day, this is the movie I watched every Christmas Eve while wrapping the kids’ presents. I mean, what is Christmas without traditions . . . right?  Plus, Courtney and Drew rock.

“Hello, Sydney.” Classic!

A fun behind the scenes clip:

Good times!

Time for some fun facts (that I found here) about Scream:

  • Drew Barrymore’s fear is very real when the killer smashes through the window and she bashes him over the head with the phone. Wes Craven was actually the man behind that mask–tah dah!
  • The tears are real when Barrymore’s character is chatting up Ghostface on the phone. Turns out Craven was actually on the other end freaking her out with grotesque animal abuse stories.
  • Apparently, Ghostface is based on the famous painting “Scream” by Edward Munch. Oddly enough, production of the movie was almost shut down because producer, Bob Weinstein, thought the mask looked idiotic and wanted an alternative. Luckily, after seeing Ghostface and Barrymore’s character in action, he changed his mind.
  • Barrymore was originally suppose to play the lead but decided it would be cooler to play Casey because she loved the opening scene (reminiscent of classic horror movies) and it would totally mess with audiences when they saw her die within the first few minutes of the movie. This was my reaction to her dying. Bravo, Drew. Bravo.

Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. When the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won’t lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep.

Two things remain prominent in my mind when I think of this movie. Three things remain prominent in my mind when I think of this movie:

 #1 Johnny Depp’s film debut

OmigawdhiIloveyou!!!!
No-No-No–DON’T FALL ASLEEEEP!!!
uh . . . muh . . . guh . . .
FAAAAAAAWK!!!

#2 Because of this scene . . .

This was ruined for all time . . .

But only sausage . . . I’m not completely crazy!

#3 And . . . well . . . and this . . .

SIIIIIIIIIIICK!!!!!!

Enough of that shizz . . . how about some trivia?

image source: strawberige.com
  • The film was shot in 30 days. Shut the front door!
  • Freddy Krueger has under 7 minutes of screen time. And that is more than enough time!
  • Heather Langenkamp beat over 200 actresses for the role of Nancy Thompson, some of the other actresses who auditioned for the role of Nancy were Jennifer Grey, Demi Moore, Courteney Cox and Tracey Gold. Crazy, right?
  • One of the main reasons Johnny Depp was chosen was because the director’s daughter thought he was “beautiful”. Thank you.

Plenty more trivia where this came from, just click here.

image source: flicks.co.nz

Before I sign off, I’m going to just leave this right here . . . click play . . . if you dare . . .

Until next time . . .

Happy Haunting

wes

3 thoughts on “Wes Craven: “Thanks for the Screams”

  1. Ok- I did not click on videos.. Just saying that up front. I heard every bit of each one when Randis was reading/watching them. That was enough..But it was great!! I have not seen most of those movies actually.. Scream yes- once right after it came out. Nightmare on elm street yes- also shortly after it came out. Let’s think about that.. I remember watching that when I was like 4 or 5 years old. What the fuck mom.? How is that ok? I guess those were the days before monitoring what your children watch- with that being said, I never realized that Johnny Depp was in it. Wha?! Shame on me. Great info. Great humor. Did Wes craven a solid 👊🏼

    Like

    1. “What the fuck mom?” HA! Isn’t that the truth? I can totally remember watching the movie Amityville Horror and not being able to blink for a straight month because I thought the dishes were going to start flying around and shit. I completely agree that those were the days before “monitoring”, but then, things were chill back then–you know–have a Coke and a smile kinda stuff. Anywho, thanks for the props; I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      P.S. Can’t say that I blame you for not watching the videos. I was straight messed up the rest of the night after I wrote this one.

      Like

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