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Wes Craven

Posted on September 4, 2015

Gwen’s Favorite Wes Craven Moments

Gwen

My list is slightly different than Dawn’s and Elizabeth’s. Instead of favorite moments I wanted to point out my favorite things from Wes Craven. If you are familiar with our site you might have come across my top ten horror films at some point. You will notice that People Under the Stairs (1991) is listed as one of my favorite horror films. That being said, I want to pay my respect to Wes Craven not only for making one of my favorite horror films, but also for making my favorite movie monster in Freddy Krueger.

I was a young teen when People Under the Stairs was released and for some reason it resonated with me. This film expressed ideas about suburbia, family, and the upper class that I didn’t know how to articulate at the time. I just knew that I felt like those people (suburban, upper class) weren’t all that better than me, they just hid their crazy a little bit better.  People Under the Stairs depicted an exaggerated display of this world on the big screen. This world emulated the world in my mind. It was one where the throw away kids mattered, one where good people looked different and were not always from the top of society.  The Robesons’ barbarism and callousness is deeply contrasted by the altruism of Fool (Adams), Alice (Langer), and Roach (Whalen).[i] These three kids learned how to survive their surroundings, help those around them, and make meaningful change.

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Posted on August 31, 2015

Elizabeth’s Favorite Wes Craven Moments

Elizabeth

Like many, the news of Wes Craven’s death last night left me stunned. As someone who writes about the cultural impact of horror, it is difficult to overstate Craven’s contribution to the genre. Leaving behind a catalog of work that provokes and challenges, Craven was a visionary who understood that the only way to truly understand what it is that scares us, is to look into the darkness unblinkingly. By continually manipulating horror tropes to keep pace with audience expectation, Wes Craven’s body of work stands alone for both its diversity and its longevity.

Here are my choices for the top three not-to-be missed Wes Craven moments.

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Posted on August 31, 2015

Dawn’s Favorite Wes Craven Moments

Dawn

The Last House on the Left (1972)

I was scared to watch this film for literally decades, and when I watched it for the first time only last year, I was blown away. I was not in the least bit prepared for the complexity of the film, the richness of the mise-en-scène, or the humanity of the “monsters”—Krug Stillo (David Hess) and his allies, who kidnap and rape two girls. In fact, my favorite moment comes in the aftermath of their stabbing and rape of Mari (Sandra Cassel), when the camera pans around the faces of those who participated in the act and we see their shame—realize they’re not as monstrous as we might want them to be. Craven’s camera shows us first that the rapists won’t look at each other, and then it turns to their hands—where we look, where they look. In that move, the camera functions to detach their hands, conveying how Krug and Weasel (Fred Lincoln) Sadi seem to feel, momentarily, that their hands acted alone: how could those hands have just done such a horrible thing to an innocent girl? The moment forces a kind of empathy for Krug and Weasel: haven’t we all done things we couldn’t believe we’d just done, as if our body acted without us . . . ?

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