LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Wes Craven - The Nightmare Man
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 Horror Channel to present a Halloween double-bill of Corin Hardy's The Hallow and Ante Novakovic's Fright Fest.
Posted on Tuesday 15th September 2020
October boasts eleven premieres on Horror Channel, including a hellish Halloween night double-bill of Corin Hardy's impressive Irish monster movie debut The Hallow and Ante Novakovic's rampant Halloween slasher Fright Fest. Both channel premieres will be broadcast on Saturday 31 October, at 9pm and 10.55pm respectively.
There are also four prime-time UK premieres: Demon chiller Firstborn, with Misfits star Antonia Laura Thomas, hashtag horror Selfie From Hell, the haunting, award-winning Echoes Of Fear and the pint-sized gold-digger is back in the sequel, Leprechaun Returns.
There are five further channel premieres: Pet, a twisted tale of obsession and ...SHARE: READ MORE Carpenter, King and Hodder usher in Horror Channel's September line-up of prime-time premieres
Posted on Thursday 20th August 2020
Carpenter, King and Kane Hodder... genre royalty ushers in Horror Channel's September line-up of prime-time premieres, including the UK TV premiere of outlandish Brit Zom Com Shed of the Dead, starring Ewen MacIntosh, Lauren Socha, Emily Booth, Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, Michael Berryman and Brian Blessed, followed by the Channel premieres of hard-core space thriller John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars, starring Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Jason Statham and Pam Grier, and A Good Marriage, a gripping psychological thriller based on the Stephen King novella.
There are also UK TV premieres for supernatural heist thriller The Vault, starring James Franco, and Blumhouse...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with acting legend Barbara Crampton about her role in Reborn
Posted on Wednesday 19th August 2020
Ahead of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Julian Richards' Reborn, on Saturday 22 August, actress, producer and genre icon Barbara Crampton reflects on how You're Next changed the direction of her career, the joy of discovering new talent and the possibility of directing one day...
HC: Talk about art imitating real life! Reborn is about a B-Movie actress trying to get back in the game after a career rough patch. Is that what you responded to in the script?
BC: That was certainly something I could relate to. As I hit my late 30's, jobs started to dry up and the phone didn't ring as often. I was married around that time and my husband convinced me to move to San F...SHARE: READ MORE Arrow Video FrightFest announces August Digital Edition line-up and Horror Channel sponsors talent-seeking First Blood strand
Posted on Tuesday 28th July 2020
The UK's most popular horror and fantasy film festival celebrates its 21st bloody year with a special Digital edition, showcasing twenty-five films, from Thursday 27th August to Monday 31st August, including seven world premieres and sixteen UK premieres. Ten countries are represented from four continents in a deadly, daring and diverse programme exclusively presented to UK audiences.
Passes and tickets will go on sale Saturday 1 August and details on how to access the event and choose which films to watch are on the FrightFest website. All film screenings will be geo-locked to UK audiences and only accessible from within the United Kingdom.
The men...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel highlights six summer weekend shockers in its August premiere line-up
Posted on Thursday 16th July 2020
August is a wicked month on Horror Channel, as the UK's most popular small-screen destination for genre fans presents six summer weekend shockers, five FrightFest hits including the UK TV premieres of Julian Richards, Reborn, a Carrie for the Z Generation, starring horror icon Barbara Crampton, Jordan Barker's Witches In The Woods, an unrelenting assault of pure terror, Alistair Legrand's highly unusual genre-blending chiller, The Diabolical and Milan Todorovic's sharp-teethed, seductive Killer Mermaids. All these films received FrightFest premiere screenings.
There is also a channel premiere for another FrightFest title, The Windmill Massacre, where Friday The 13th...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel brings suspense and splatter to its July line-up
Posted on Tuesday 16th June 2020
Horror Channel brings plenty of suspense and splatter to July's line-up with the UK TV premiere of The Rezort, where 'The Walking Dead' meets 'Jurassic World'. Starring Dougray Scott and Jessica De Gouw, this fast-paced, gory horror is directed by Outpost franchise helmer Steve Barker.
There are also channel premieres for Damien Mace and Alexis Wajsbrot's cleverly sinister Don't Hang Up, where an invisible predator turns the tables on two online prankers, and Paul W.S Anderson's cult gaming adaptation Resident Evil, with Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez in blistering form.
Plus, there are welcome returns for No One Lives, director Ryuhei Kitamura's taut, tension-laden cat-and-mouse thriller,...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel brings shocks aplenty in June with star-studded Spine-Chiller Season
Posted on Thursday 21st May 2020
There are star-studded shocks aplenty on Horror Channel in June, courtesy of the Spine-Chiller Season - a selection of supernatural mysteries to get your summer off to a very scary start. Scheduled for Saturday nights at 9pm, the season is headed by the Channel premiere of the moody and violent chiller Gothika, starring Halle Berry, Robert Downey Jr. and Penelope Cruz. Other titles include Kevin Bacon's career launcher Stir of Echoes, the gripping US-remake of The Grudge, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, and the terrifying supernatural thriller Pay the Ghost, starring Nicholas Cage.
There are also UK TV premieres for the sharply eerie Nails, starring Shauna Macdonald and Ross Noble and the deadly Viral, ...SHARE: READ MORE They killed his wife. Framed him for murder. Now he hunts them! First Wave coming to Horror
Posted on Monday 27th April 2020
If its action packed, sci-fi infused drama you are after then First Wave is the series for you. With Hollywood legend Francis Ford Coppola on board as one of the Executive Producers the series ran for 66 action-packed episodes which managed to combine high-quality drama with a cool conspiracy theory strand.
The series concentrates on former thief now Security Specialist Cade Foster (Sebastian Spence), as he struggles to uncover an alien conspiracy by deciphering prophecies from Nostradamus as well as being on the run for a murder he did not commit. Along the way he meets The Gua, an alien race of hybridised genetic clones who are focused on enslaving the human race.
Now, the problem with informi...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel marks May with the return of the monstrous Victor Crowley and David Tennant in sadistic mood
Posted on Wednesday 15th April 2020
Apocalyptic nightmares, the return of the monstrous Victor Crowley, David Tennant in sadistic mood and an all-star classic vampire tale... Horror Channel marks May with eight prime-time Channel premieres, including armrest-clutching shocker Bad Samaritan, starring a serial-killing David Tennant, Victor Crowley, Adam Green's horrifying rebooted journey back to the haunted, blood-drenched bayou, Francis Ford Cappola's powerful Bram Stoker's Dracula, starring Gary Oldman as the immortal Count, and Cell, best-selling horror author Stephen King's acclaimed tech-inspired apocalyptic nightmare, starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson.
Further premium premieres include Russell Mulcahy's iconic s...SHARE: READ MORE Kim Newman looks to the future and reports on Horror's up and coming Classic Sci-Fi Weekend
Posted on Monday 6th April 2020
The 1950s are remembered as the rock 'n' roll years - Bill Haley and Elvis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry - but also as the dawn of the atomic era, the height of the cold war, and the decade when science fiction movies reigned. A fad for futuristic design meant cars sported sharkfins like Flash Gordon's spaceship, and refrigerators were streamlined behemoths like the lumbering robots of pulp magazines. It was an uneasy, nervous decade - caught between optimism and terror, envisioning future homes full of gleaming labour-saving devices but also beasts from outer space or the dawn of time rampaging across the land, leaving radioactive debris in their wake. At the end of the classic The Thing From Another World (1951), ...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel has such sights to show you with broadcast of Hellraiser Trilogy
Posted on Wednesday 1st April 2020
Fridays on Horror brings you a box of not so nice delights as we open a puzzle known as the Lament Configuration and deliver Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II and Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth.
We begin April 3rd at 10.50pm with Clive Barker's Hellraiser. Frank Cotton (Sean Chapman) has solved the mystery of the Lament Configuration puzzle box, a sort of evil Rubik's cube. Unfortunately he inadvertently opens a doorway to Hell and, in death, enters the world of the Cenobites, a race of sadistic supernatural beings led by a bald Cenobite (Doug Bradley). Brought back from the edge of damnation by the blood of his brother, Larry (Andrew Robinson), Frank rises to feed on the souls of others. But he needs ...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel celebrates Sci-Fi B-Movies with Classic Sci-Fi Weekend in April
Posted on Tuesday 24th March 2020
Horror Channel also celebrates the Sci-fi B-Movie with a Classic Sci-Fi Weekend, featuring the channel premieres of mutant octopus-rampaging It Came From Beneath The Sea, Fred F. Sears' saucer-invading caper Earth Vs The Flying Saucers, Sears' rampaging alien bird yarn The Giant Claw, Jack Arnold's thought-provoking classic The Incredible Shrinking Man and Nathan Juran's Ray Harryhausen inspired 20 Million Miles To Earth.
Broadcast on Saturday 11 April and Sunday 12 April from 2pm, the season also includes more strange creatures and alien invaders with The Thing From Another World, This Island Earth and Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun.
Full film details in transmission order...SHARE: READ MORE Features Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 PICK OF THE WEEK
Sunday 4th October
Tuesday 29th September
Saturday 3rd October