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By James Whittington, Thursday 4th January 2018
"Horror films don't create fear. They release it."
Wesley Earl Craven, Wes to his friends, was born in Cleveland, Ohio August 2nd 1939 and became one of the most respected and acclaimed creatives of his generation. When he died on August 30th 2015 it came as a huge shock to all, especially those of us who heard the news whilst attending FrightFest. Gone was the man who gave the world Krug Stillo, Pluto and Horace Pinker as well as the career defining creation of Freddy Krueger. He made stars of Michael Berryman, Johnny Depp and Robert Englund and rejuvenated the horror genre not once but twice.
Horror will be celebrating the work of Wes Craven throughout January so here's a quick look at his cinematic life and his most famous pieces of work.
Craven started out as a teacher but soon moved into film editing where he honed his craft but didn't make an impression until he unleashed the censor worrying shocker The Last House On The Left in 1972. This brutal and uncompromising revenge flick woke up the horror movement and helped pave the way for other such genre defining movies such as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
It was in 1977 when the world sat up and took Craven seriously when The Hills Have Eyes hit cinemas. Not as brutal a LHOTL but still with a grindhouse vibe to it, this "cannibals on the rise" movie was one of the first big hits of the home video era which helped The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 to arrive in 1985. Infamous for its "dog daydream sequence" it wasn't Craven's finest moment but this is usually overlooked for in 1984 he delivered a true classic, A Nightmare On Elm Street.
This story of a child killer who returns from the dead to kill teens in their dreams was such a commercial hit that it lead to five direct sequels, the meta-movie Wes Craven's New Nightmare in 1994 and Freddy Vs Jason in 2003. With Robert Englund in the lead role the franchise made the slasher movie "fun" again and a once more a box-office favourite. Even on TV the character had his own anthology series, Freddy's Nightmares in 1988.
Craven's The Serpent And The Rainbow in 1988 was one of his most critically acclaimed movies. This tale of voodoo (supposedly based on true accounts) retained his grisly eye for detail but was also done completely straight and became one of his first movies not to worry the censor. Shocker in 1989 and The People Under The Stairs in 1991 showed Craven having fun with his audience, delivering big shocks but laced with acidic wit and social commntary.
Then in 1996 he changed the face of horror once more with a film that sparked resurgence in the slasher genre which paved the way for Michael Myers to return to the big screen a few years later, Scream. Released in 1996 Scream has everything, a superior cast, a tight script and tons of violence it proved that horror could be smart, intelligent and above all bloody good fun.
Craven was more than just a horror director, he was a writer, a producer, an actor, a man who loved the art of cinema. He could make big budget movies, small budget movies, movies with real heart and passion, movies that were made to entertain, to provoke a reaction and above all made with love. We may never see another "Wes Craven" but his influence on those who were inspired by him will live on for decades.
Throughout January, Saturday nights at 9pm on Horror will be devoted to a Wes Craven Season as Horror Channel presents a retrospective of the late great genre director's career. Four of his supernatural shockers and scream-filled slashers will be broadcast; including the network premieres of serial killer chiller My Soul To Take, his macabre masterpiece The Serpent And The Rainbow, his diabolically electrifying Shocker and the goofy, gory satire The People Under The Stairs.
Related show tags: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, JOHNNY DEPP, MICHAEL BERRYMAN, MY SOUL TO TAKE, ROBERT ENGLUND, SHOCKER, THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS, THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW, WES CRAVEN MORE FEATURES Get infected this April on Horror
Posted on Tuesday 20th March 2018
April on Horror Channel sees an Infection Season spread across Saturday nights with a highly contagious collection of outbreak action, headed by the network premieres of Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later and the equally impressive sequel 28 Weeks Later, starring Robert Carlyle. There are also welcome re-showings for Breck Eisner's critically-acclaimed remake of George Romero's 1973 movie, The Crazies, and M. Night Shyamalan's boldly unsettling survival movie The Happening.
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Posted on Sunday 25th February 2018
Hollywood: a place of constant invention and where everything should be shiny and new. Well, sometimes for at the moment it seems to be looking to the past for inspiration. This is not always a bad thing as sometimes a remake (or re-imagining as they like to call it!) hits the spot so perfectly that it can be considered an equal to the original so here's our Top 5 remakes! Do you agree and which movies would make your own top 5?
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Posted on Sunday 25th February 2018
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Posted on Saturday 10th February 2018
Come on, admit it! The biggest reason you watch a werewolf movie is to see the much talked-about transformation. You know, the bit of the movie that usually gets all the film budget (no matter how big or small) and the sequence where the rest of the movie will be measured.
Here's our top 5 but what are yours? Don't forget to catch Horror's Season of the Wolf, Saturdays at 10.55pm?
The Wolf Man (1941) Though not Universal's first werewolf movie, that was Werewolf of London in 1936, this was the biggie. Unleashed in 1941 it was a major success and made Lon Chaney Jr. a real star. His laconic take of a weary man cursed is truly engrossing but what probably makes the movie famous is the transformation scene, well the lack of it as unlike the sequels the main transformation is of his feet! There is a dissolve at the end, but this is backwards, wolf to man but its ...SHARE: READ MORE There's something in the trees... it's coming! Top 5 Werewolf Songs!
Posted on Friday 2nd February 2018
Of all the horror genres out there, probably the Werewolf genre has made the largest footprint on the charts. From Shakira's She Wolf in 2009 to Killer Wolf from Danzig in 1990, the hairy-side of horror has inspired many musical artists, obviously with varying levels of success.
In celebration of Horror's Season of the Wolf, here's our top 5 favourites from the last few decades.
No list worth its fur would start without Werewolves of London from Warren Zevon. Recorded in 1978 and taken from the album Excitable Boy, it's a mainstay of BBC Radio 2, whose listeners incidentally voted that it had the best opening line to a song. Its inclusion on the soundtrack to An American Werewolf in London gave it a cult status but hearing it in the Paul Newman/Tom Cruise 1996 flick The Color of Money gave it a new lease of life. The B-side, Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner was...SHARE: READ MORE The Howling - A franchise with bite
Posted on Sunday 28th January 2018
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Directed by Joe Dante in 1981, The Howling took the young director to new heights after cult hits Piranha in 1978 and Rock N' Roll High School the following year. Though the movie only took some of the ideas from the original story, it was strong enough to earn itself a lastin...SHARE: READ MORE Bark at the moon this February on Horror
Posted on Friday 26th January 2018
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The season starts on the 3rd as Dee Wallace, Christopher Stone, Patrick Macnee and John Carradine battle a brutal beast in Joe Dante's superb feature, The Howling. A female reporter is attacked by a notorious serial killer and to get over her trauma she is sent to 'The Colony', a remote mountain resort. But there her problems really begin, as the residents are werewolves. We bring you contemporary h...SHARE: READ MORE Horror's Top 10 Films of 2017
Posted on Thursday 21st December 2017
It's been quite the year for horror. From home invasions to adult nappies and right through to cannibalism and dancing clowns, the genre has seen a slew of critical and commercial success over the calendar year. But which were our favourites?
Below, take a look at Horror's favourite films of 2017. We couldn't bare to rank the excellencies, so we settled for alphabetical order. So kicking off with A, we have:
Attack of the Adult Babies
If you're after a movie that's almost beyond description, then Dominic Brunt's Attack of the Adult Babies is for you. At first this satirical shocker seems like Benny Hill on acid with plenty of leggy nurses dressed in seductive uniforms, but the movie...SHARE: READ MORE Wes Craven Season welcomes in 2018 on Horror
Posted on Friday 15th December 2017
Throughout January, Saturday nights at 9pm will be devoted to a Wes Craven Season as Horror Channel presents a retrospective of the late great genre director's career. Four of his supernatural shockers and scream-filled slashers will be broadcast, including the network premieres of serial killer chiller My Soul To Take, his macabre masterpiece The Serpent And The Rainbow, his diabolically electrifying Shocker and the goofy, gory satire The People Under The Stairs.
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Posted on Wednesday 22nd November 2017
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Posted on Thursday 19th October 2017
November on Horror Channel has a distinctive cutting-edge with a Saturday night prime-time Bloody British Season, celebrating the new wave of British horror movies that reinvigorated the UK horror industry in the early 2000s. There are 9pm network premieres for Neil Marshall's sensational werewolf debut feature Dog Soldiers (2002) (Saturday 11th), his monstrous all-female star cast follow-up The Descent (2005) (Saturday 25th), Christopher Smith's underground ghost train journey through hell, Creep (2004) (Saturday 18th), and Nick Hamm's psychologically gripping The Hole (2001) (Saturday 4th), with Keira Knightley in her first significant film role.
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Horror Channel has eleven film premieres in October, including the UK premieres of Southbound, a chiller compendium from the creators of the V/H/S franchise; Mitch Wilson's gruesome...SHARE: READ MORE Features Archive: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 PICK OF THE WEEK
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