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) 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) 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

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