Saturday, September 5, 2015

Creepy Campfire Quarterly and Some Thoughts About Wes Craven

      As I just put up in the previous post, the cover for Creepy Campfire Quarterly has been created.  The names of all the authors whose work will be featured are included on it.  We've also started the editing process, so things are going well, and I think the announced publishing date (in January of next year) will be easily reached
     Moving on, the horror community has recently lost one of its greats--Wes Craven.  Mr. Craven succumbed to brain cancer earlier this week at the age of 76.  He was one of the best horror directors/writers out there.  He made four incredibly influential classics--1972's "The Last House on the Left," 1977's "The Hills Have Eyes," 1984's "A Nightmare on Elm Street," and 1996's "Scream."  (Of the rest of his films, my personal favorite is probably the underrated 1991 movie "The People Under the Stairs.")
     Like many other hugely successful horror movie directors, Craven seemed the opposite of what you'd expect.  The same guy whose movies had the most extreme, most dark and disturbing events and characters in them always came across as being so nice, shy, modest, and intellectual.  This presumably was shaped by his childhood.  He was raised in a strict religious family, and wasn't  allowed to see practically any movies throughout his early life.  After receiving his undergraduate degrees in English and psychology (from Wheaton College in Illinois) and a Masters in philosophy and writing from Johns Hopkins, he settled down as a teacher and began to raise his own family.  But, his marriage struggled, and he found himself professionally unfulfilled, so he turned to the film industry.  Only a few years later, he had edited porn movies, and then made some of the most controversial and horrific films of our time.  I remember reading that, not surprisingly, his mother never saw any of his films, and was puzzled by his dramatic life and career change.
     One of the things I most admire about Craven was his durability.  He had many periods where he was unsuccessful, with long stretches without any movies, or with some that were both critically and popularly reviled.  But he was kind of the John Travolta of horror movie directors--every time people thought his career was about over he would come up with a new, great film.
     So, RIP Wes Craven.  And for anyone out there looking for an effective, chilling horror movie, you might want to check out one of his movies, especially his classics.  Several of his best ones have been remade in the past decade,  But, as if usually the case, these are usually pale retreads of the awesome originals, in my opinion.

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