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) 87%

“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) 92%

“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) 89%

“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

Photos 20th Century Fox football See It Skip It crime HBO 2018 BBC America Funimation social media blockbuster ESPN 24 frames LGBTQ game of thrones political drama Tomatazos 007 GoT PBS Avengers 72 Emmy Awards 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards scorecard talk show thriller films Family Lucasfilm archives video natural history justice league Starz USA cancelled TV series zero dark thirty First Look ghosts Elton John blaxploitation Ghostbusters HBO Max 2019 Television Academy E! Superheroes Apple comic American Society of Cinematographers Vudu ViacomCBS Disney streaming service NBC CW Seed Super Bowl remakes First Reviews Logo mutant Pet Sematary Comedy Central women Comedy joker Star Trek TV renewals VOD independent TBS jurassic park unscripted canceled TV shows diversity Women's History Month rom-coms Song of Ice and Fire cartoon sag awards HBO Go cancelled TV shows Star Wars deadpool Syfy AMC Heroines dogs satire USA Network San Diego Comic-Con A24 revenge toronto Masterpiece BET Awards Warner Bros. SXSW Thanksgiving elevated horror Kids & Family Extras Emmy Nominations SDCC spanish science fiction witnail Apple TV Plus die hard stop motion Musical LGBT jamie lee curtis Fantasy Netflix Creative Arts Emmys Anna Paquin Hallmark Christmas movies Disney+ Disney Plus tv talk asian-american universal monsters Binge Guide Mystery El Rey romance Tubi OWN worst National Geographic spy thriller strong female leads Holidays sequels 2015 Sundance Cannes Disney Plus BET video on demand Esquire Box Office obituary Marvel Television Turner Tarantino Fox News psychological thriller Character Guide FX on Hulu franchise YouTube Red finale PaleyFest FOX GIFs Infographic cars Toys Mary Tyler Moore Grammys Western FX TLC DirecTV movies Britbox cults Freeform composers south america Winter TV The CW spanish language twilight child's play emmy awards australia 2020 spain best halloween tv sitcom dc toy story indie TNT CBS All Access rotten movies we love E3 CMT Marathons Interview Disney Academy Awards TCA 2017 adventure YouTube Premium versus Lifetime Christmas movies MCU Sony Pictures news Paramount Plus Comic Book Food Network Columbia Pictures Bravo psycho Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Classic Film Rocketman aliens Travel Channel fast and furious Dark Horse Comics 21st Century Fox Spring TV based on movie cops TruTV golden globes ABC Signature BBC superhero kids Teen TIFF VH1 japanese Nominations all-time casting renewed TV shows spinoff Marvel Studios green book ratings Television Critics Association mockumentary Biopics disaster Mindy Kaling Christmas Musicals Pop History TCA zombie mission: impossible The Witch Shondaland Election Crackle Horror Ellie Kemper Watching Series supernatural crossover rt archives The Purge latino children's TV streaming SundanceTV boxing free movies anime Baby Yoda Sneak Peek docudrama Premiere Dates The Walking Dead Lifetime Brie Larson police drama Amazon Prime Video criterion Epix politics movie cancelled television batman dragons Crunchyroll cats Podcast Peacock indiana jones X-Men halloween Discovery Channel series RT21 black Opinion Showtime harry potter Lionsgate Martial Arts Arrowverse sequel stand-up comedy Mary poppins richard e. Grant Summer documentaries nbcuniversal Pride Month Shudder Country nfl trailers CBS President 71st Emmy Awards Stephen King biography french Film canceled Walt Disney Pictures Video Games italian Trophy Talk classics hollywood foreign a nightmare on elm street teaser crime drama stoner war anthology Adult Swim miniseries werewolf Emmys cinemax ID romantic comedy facebook Cosplay Paramount Network christmas movies medical drama technology dark Set visit theme song pirates of the caribbean Pop TV Amazon TV One Sci-Fi Disney Channel breaking bad concert what to watch IFC Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt cooking Writers Guild of America Turner Classic Movies Superheroe PlayStation hist Rocky APB Black Mirror Rom-Com screen actors guild Nat Geo Trivia golden globe awards sports Pirates The Walt Disney Company 2016 robots transformers vampires Chernobyl slashers scary movies TCA Winter 2020 Winners comedies Drama binge Paramount reviews animated Music crime thriller DC Universe Valentine's Day discovery award winner doctor who Sundance Now chucky WGN Apple TV+ Countdown laika Polls and Games Ovation boxoffice Holiday Spike Certified Fresh space comiccon Calendar Awards Tumblr TCA Awards dramedy Reality Competition worst movies adaptation MTV Red Carpet parents Comics on TV TV Land singing competition Quiz TV New York Comic Con screenings YouTube Mary Poppins Returns Alien Pixar name the review Black History Month Reality RT History rotten true crime Hallmark ITV Captain marvel ABC Family dceu Oscars reboot zombies Fall TV venice travel Trailer CNN DC streaming service Universal critics The Academy comics book The Arrangement hispanic 45 2017 spider-man Marvel Action WarnerMedia IFC Films Best and Worst Cartoon Network nature Hear Us Out festival Fox Searchlight DGA 99% Spectrum Originals FXX TCM television historical drama Schedule cancelled Mudbound MSNBC Hulu 4/20 Animation Endgame Year in Review serial killer Amazon Prime james bond ABC fresh festivals DC Comics Amazon Studios period drama Awards Tour Sundance TV VICE quibi NYCC game show Netflix Christmas movies comic books YA BAFTA documentary Nickelodeon Film Festival Acorn TV BBC One OneApp Rock A&E GLAAD directors