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

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