Five Favorite Films

Five Favourite Films with Wes Craven

The horror master on those films that inspired him.

by | June 12, 2009 | Comments

Wes-Craven-600
(Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff / Getty Images)

 

No director in recent history has made their particular genre as much their own as Wes Craven. The legendary helmer virtually redefined the horror movies with the likes of The Hills Have Eyes and The Nightmare on Elm Street. His very first film was the horrifically violent box-office smash The Last House on the Left. Unlike Elm Street – which is being reinvented without any input from Craven – Last House is being remade with the director’s blessing, under the stewardship of Dennis Iliadis, and hits UK screens this Friday. RT had some time with Craven, and with the scaremongering legend on the other end of our phone, we just couldn’t resist asking him for his five favourite films.


Jungfrukällan (The Virgin Spring) (1960) 86%

“Firstly I’m going to go for The Virgin Spring. It’s a film that may surprise people but it really had an impact on me and I was just amazed by it. I saw it in a relatively short period of my life when I was teaching at college. When I was younger I hadn’t been allowed to watch any because I went to a Baptist College, but by this time I had put the religion behind me and that was one of the first art films I saw and I was very impressed by it. I mean, I could list you a dozen movies from that era by European by European film directors by Godard, TruffautBreathless, 400 Blows, all those wonderful European movies.”

To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) 91%

“Thinking about my upbringing, this was actually one of the first movies I saw. I was about 15. I was always told that films were evil and such, but I started to realise what a load of crap it was that something this good should be forbidden. I had been allowed to read as much as I wanted when I was younger, so I recognised great art when I saw it, I just didn’t realise it would be at the cinema as well. And so I walked away from that. To Kill a Mockingbird was so important because it was such adult film-making – to see something that dealt with such an important issue and had such an enlightened outlook on the world.”

Red River (1948) 100%

“For some reason. I think the combination of the gruff, tyrannical old man pursuing the unruly, rebellious son really appeals to me. The scenario is, in some odd way, almost as scary as Freddy Krueger, you know! The evil father is an idea that’s really fascinating to me. Hawks is great, The Treasure of Sierra Madre, The Big Sleep… He could do the Salt-of-the-Earth very well. He was a very smooth director; a very good film architect in terms of his storytelling. That’s how he constructed this film, and got so deep into the characters.”

Night of the Living Dead (1968) 97%

“I saw this movie when it first came out and at that point I’d never see a horror film, believe it or not! I had a girlfriend at the time, she was an anthropology student, and she said, ‘I heard there’s this new film called Night of the Living Dead, c’mon lets go.’ Eventually we left and when we got there the theatre was buzzing before the film even started. And then it starts, and we’re in the cemetery with the brothers and sisters bickering and then the zombie lurches towards them! Some people are screaming, some were saying the lines of the characters and suddenly I was swept into it and jumping and laughing and afraid, and I realised that this guy Romero was incredible.

“It also made me realise that with a genre film, as long as it scared you, you could say anything; about politics, about psychology. It made me realise as well that fear is one of the primary thresholds you experience things through. Fear of anything – even sex – is scary! The first time you do it you’re like, ‘Oh my God, what am I doing? Am I going to fail?’ And you get through it and you realise it’s a wonderful thing. That’s what’s great about the horror genre is that you’re getting a load of people together in the cinema at the same place and the same time, having them all experience extreme fear, and come out alive at the end. It’s an uplifting experience and there’s a sense of elation.”

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) 88%

“This really scared me coming out of it. You knew it was made for 10 cents – that was obvious – but it actually had some fabulous performances. Some of the moments – like when Leatherface kicks open the door and comes after them – I mean your blood just runs cold. It was just amazingly visceral visual storytelling. A few years earlier, I was at college and I wrote a synopsis for a novel and my teacher feedback was “this would make a great movie!” And I was crestfallen, but it made me realise I had a great visual imagination as well, and for years I fought it but eventually realised that was the thing I could do.”

Tag Cloud

spider-man revenge Grammys spy thriller Mary Tyler Moore Winners comic Nickelodeon APB Disney streaming service Walt Disney Pictures Quiz Premiere Dates The Witch Apple Nominations politics 20th Century Fox Mary Poppins Returns Universal disaster Thanksgiving doctor who Winter TV Summer HBO Teen TCM Kids & Family Country Fox News theme song DC Comics MCU President LGBT discovery USA Network cinemax psycho period drama MSNBC Tomatazos space Polls and Games Pride Month Cartoon Network Rocketman Mary poppins Rom-Com Sundance Now game show crime thriller Columbia Pictures ABC Sci-Fi police drama series ESPN technology Lucasfilm crime drama Holidays Crackle San Diego Comic-Con TCA 2017 green book singing competition MTV Creative Arts Emmys Comedy Emmys A&E crossover Film Bravo E! YouTube Red Paramount 2019 FOX travel Action supernatural dragons Interview GIFs 2015 true crime Showtime Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Christmas mutant sequel strong female leads festivals Cannes Family Cosplay ITV zombie Adult Swim Spike FX Elton John Sneak Peek Box Office cats 2017 Set visit blaxploitation Emmy Nominations mockumentary Shondaland witnail Superheroe spinoff Stephen King RT History See It Skip It DC streaming service TruTV 24 frames medical drama Anna Paquin sitcom Ovation thriller NYCC Rock casting TCA Pixar Fall TV Election dramedy Comedy Central psychological thriller Trophy Talk teaser science fiction Tarantino IFC Films Shudder CMT Star Wars Watching Series SXSW golden globes WGN Comic Book hist elevated horror Britbox political drama Toys OWN CW Seed BBC PBS Heroines natural history 45 History based on movie The Arrangement Song of Ice and Fire Superheroes finale quibi boxoffice Biopics vampires Countdown Vudu serial killer IFC BET ratings animated TLC Marvel Music Film Festival Logo Nat Geo Lionsgate Lifetime FXX ghosts Ghostbusters crime transformers Video Games TNT SDCC movies Chernobyl USA war Food Network aliens E3 richard e. Grant RT21 Binge Guide cars TIFF Syfy Disney Channel 007 TV Land what to watch LGBTQ CBS Disney Ellie Kemper VH1 tv talk justice league Sundance Comics on TV HBO Max anime American Society of Cinematographers Mindy Kaling Year in Review Amazon Prime Captain marvel Drama SundanceTV Animation Awards Netflix Red Carpet Tumblr biography children's TV DGA zero dark thirty Hulu Pirates Character Guide El Rey 2016 harry potter Extras cults Western Marathons Fantasy Musicals adaptation jamie lee curtis YA TBS Masterpiece Star Trek miniseries Writers Guild of America Horror Martial Arts anthology Calendar CBS All Access Podcast AMC Warner Bros. facebook Photos diversity PaleyFest zombies Amazon composers Acorn TV Sony Pictures NBC Awards Tour First Look cops Starz 2018 cooking Paramount Network Valentine's Day historical drama Freeform docudrama DirecTV kids National Geographic Pet Sematary Infographic television talk show Mystery DC Universe VICE Certified Fresh Opinion ABC Family unscripted award winner dc Brie Larson binge Schedule Reality X-Men WarnerMedia YouTube Premium romance social media Spectrum Originals Pop toy story Mudbound nature Chilling Adventures of Sabrina BBC America CNN The CW Dark Horse Comics TV Spring TV New York Comic Con 21st Century Fox Women's History Month Reality Competition streaming Esquire comiccon book Musical Trailer Amazon Prime Video Oscars dceu Rocky Super Bowl Trivia Epix sports adventure Black Mirror robots Best and Worst GLAAD GoT