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 is moving from channel 69 to channel 41 on Freeview from May 25th
Posted on Tuesday 24th May 2022
Horror Channel is moving to a new home on Freeview, find us on channel 41 from the 25th May 2022.
Go to Freeview for more information on how to continue watching.SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel continues to unlock The Vintage Vault this June with Sunday night classic genre double-bills
Posted on Thursday 19th May 2022
This June, Horror Channel once again journeys into the history of genre cinema with The Vintage Vault, presenting double-bills of classic sci-fi and horror films every Sunday night.
The vault is unlocked on Sunday June 5th with Nathan Juran's Ray Harryhausen inspired 20 Million Miles to Earth. This is paired with Fred F. Sears' rampaging alien bird yarn The Giant Claw. Then on Sunday June 12th, we have The Monolith Monsters, in which the world is attacked by thirsty giant crystals, followed by the beastly mutant classic The Deadly Mantis.
On Sunday June 19th, the brilliantly lurid The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), directed by Terence Fisher, hits our screens, followed ...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel launches assault of premieres for June plus further seasons of Farscape
Posted on Thursday 12th May 2022
Ryan Simon's British supernatural chiller Demon Eye, starring Darren Day, and Liam Fox, and Brad Baruh's Coen-sequel mystery thriller Night Drive, starring AJ Bowen and Sophie Dalah, both receive Friday night UK TV premieres on Horror Channel.
There are also channel premieres for John Carpenter's cult classic Assault On Precinct 13 and Finnish-German sci-fi Nazi horror spoof Iron Sky: The Coming Race, directed by Timo Vuorensola (Iron Sky) and starring Udo Kier, reprising his role as Adolf Hitler.
Plus, cult classic Farscape returns with the channel premieres of Season 3 and 4. This Australian-American Sci-Fi TV series, created by Rockne S. O'Bannon, has proved a big hit with Horror...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel celebrates history of genre cinema with The Vintage Vault
Posted on Thursday 21st April 2022
Starting in May, Horror Channel journeys into the history of genre cinema with The Vintage Vault, which will present double-bills of classic sci-fi and horror films every Sunday night.
The season premieres on Sunday May 1st with The Invisible Man, in which Claude Rains delivers a remarkable performance in his screen debut. This is paired with Bride Of Frankenstein, the celebrated sequel to the 1931 classic with Boris Karloff reprising his role as the monster. Then on Sunday May 8th, we have Christy Cabanne's frightening chiller masterpiece The Mummy's Hand, followed by Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman, featuring the original Wolf...SHARE: READ MORE Kim Newman dares to check out this weekend's Classic Sci-Fi event
Posted on Thursday 14th April 2022
Respected journalist, film critic, and fiction writer Kim Newman takes us through the celebrated B-movies joining Horror for our Classic Sci-Fi Weekend event running from 16th-17th of April.
The Horror Channel returns to a decade riven with fears of devastating climate change, imminent global war, mutating diseases and general paranoia... albeit in black and white, with miniature effects and make-up masks rather than CGI and the kind of urgency that means world-menacing phenomena can be invoked, allowed to run rampage and then dispelled in well under ninety minutes of crisp, sometimes poetic, sometimes bombastic melodrama.
The times weren't really simpler, and neither were the movies i...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel reveals raft of UK TV premieres for May plus channel premieres for Dalek movies
Posted on Thursday 7th April 2022
Stewart Sparke's award-winning dark comedic monster movie Book of Monsters and Audrey Cummings's grisly chuckler She Never Died, starring Olunike Adeliyi, are amongst the raft of Saturday night UK TV premieres on Horror Channel during May.
Also in prime-time slots are the UK TV premieres of gruesome action thriller Becky and Henry Jacobson's stylish crime chiller Bloodline, starring Seann William Scott. There is also a Channel premiere for Peter Medak's classic supernatural horror The Changeling, starring George C. Scott.
Plus, there are channel premieres for Dr Who and The Daleks and Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. The films star Peter Cushing as Dr Who and al...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel adds Channel premiere of Farscape to Sci-Fi Zone from Monday 4 April
Posted on Wednesday 30th March 2022
Horror Channel is dedicated to bringing great cult sci-fi programmes to its audience and this trend continues with the channel premiere of Season 1 of the 1999 Australian-American Sci-Fi TV series Farscape, created by Rockne S, O'Bannon and produced over four seasons.
Astronaut John Crichton (ben Browder), on an experimental space mission, is accidentally hurled across the universe to the midst of an intergalactic conflict. Taken on board Moya, a huge bio-mechanoid "living ship" desperately trying to escape captivity, Crichton is trapped among alien creatures wielding deadly technology and hunted by a merciless military race. H...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel celebrates Sci-Fi B-Movies with a second Classic Sci-Fi Weekend in April
Posted on Tuesday 22nd March 2022
It's back to terrify once more! Horror Channel once again celebrates the Sci-fi B-movie world of strange creatures, alien invaders and weird science with Classic Sci-Fi Weekend 2, a follow-up TV special to the popular Classic Sci-fi weekend broadcast in April 2020. The fifties are acknowledged as the Golden Age for Sci-fi movies and Horror Channel has picked ten of the most iconic, which will be broadcast on Saturday 16th April and Sunday 17th April.
The season includes five channel premieres: the heart-pounding Alien invasion classic It Came From Outer Space, pulp-horror favourite Tarantula, featuring an uncredited Clint Eastw...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel reveals raft of UK TV premieres for April
Posted on Tuesday 15th March 2022
Rob W King's gripping dystopian thriller The Humanity Bureau, starring Nicolas Cage, and Rob Grant's twisted survival drama, Alive, starring Angus MacFadyen, are amongst the raft of Saturday night UK TV premieres on Horror Channel during April.
Also in prime-time 9pm slots are the UK TV premieres of Owen Egerton's supernatural horror Mercy Black and Jonathan Zarantonello's sinister, psychological thriller The Butterfly Room, starring Barbara Steele and Ray Wise.
Plus, Padraig Reynolds's suspense-filled neo slasher Open 24 Hours, starring Vanessa Grasse, gets its channel premiere.
Here's all you need to know:
Our first UK TV premiere of the month arrives on the 2n...SHARE: READ MORE I am not a number. I am a free man! The Prisoner tries to escape this March on Horror
Posted on Tuesday 1st March 2022
Horror Channel is dedicated to bringing great cult thrillers to its audience and this trend continues with The Prisoner, a taut psycho-thriller about a secret agent who retires and finds himself thrown into a Kafka-esque world of mindplay and enigma - a man known only as No. 6.
A major cult following has built up around one of the most inventive and ground-breaking TV series ever produced. Multi-talented and twice winner of an Emmy, Patrick McGoohan who stars, also created and produced the series and wrote and directed many of the episodes.
Produced by Everyman Films for distribution by Lew Grade's ITC Entertainment, a single series of seventeen episodes wa...SHARE: READ MORE A tasty release from Burning Witches Records, A Banquet
Posted on Saturday 19th February 2022
On March 11th, London based composer, sound designer and recording artist CJ Mirra releases the OST to IFC Midnight and Hanway Film's A Banquet, which premieres at Cinemas on the same date. A limited run of Pea Green vinyl will be available via Burning Witches Records .
A Banquet is a visually arresting, slow-burning psychological horror that uses subtle supernatural elements to create tension within a family in the midst of a breakdown, exploiting the complicated bond between three generations of mothers and daughters. Variety likens it to Lars Von Tries' Melancholia and Jeff Nichol's Take Shelter. A Banquet sees composer CJ Mirra reunite with...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel announces Killer Thriller week for March
Posted on Tuesday 15th February 2022
Horror Channel turns up the tension in March with Killer Thriller Week, featuring the UK premiere of mystery thriller Paradise Cove, staring Mena Suvari and the channel premiere of cat-and-mouse road thriller Cop Car, starring Kevin Bacon. The ultimate 7-day suspense ride also includes Gus Van Sant's revival of the Hitchcock classic Psycho (1988), the 2014 version of erotic thriller The Loft starring Karl Urban, Colin Minihan's deliciously warped What Keeps You Alive, Rod Lurie's 2011 pulsating remake of Straw Dogs and Bad Samaritan, starring a cunningly murderous David Tennant.
Plus, there are four additional UK TV premieres, highlighted by the late Johnny Kevorkian's last fi...SHARE: READ MORE Features Archive: 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 PICK OF THE WEEK
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