Wes Craven

Wes Craven – The Last House on the Left [+Extras] (1972)


Wes Craven’s first film was a crude but shocking horror opus that, like George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968), became a grind house hit largely because it went much further than terror films before it had been willing to go. Often compared to Ingmar Bergman’s stark medieval rape drama The Virgin Spring (1960) (though one wonders whether this was influence or just coincidence), Last House on the Left follows a group of teenage girls heading into the city when they hook up with a gang of drug-addled ne’er-do-wells and are brutally murdered. The killers find their way to the home of one of their victim’s parents, where both father and mother exact a horrible revenge. Like Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre two years later, Last House on the Left was an unrelievedly dark vision of contemporary horror that inspired many future films which copied its effects without achieving its visceral impact. — Mark Deming (AMG) Read More »

Wes Craven – The Hills Have Eyes (1977)


Sandwiched between his notorious saga of rape, revenge, and realist horror, Last House on the Left (1972), and his franchise-initiating fairytale of supernatural serial killing, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes tends to get lost in critical discussion of America’s reigning horror auteur. This may be truer today than ever, considering Craven’s meteoric rise to mainstream respectability after the staggering box office success of his Scream trilogy (1996, 1997, 2000), for which he was ‘rewarded’ with the opportunity to direct a Miramax melodrama (Music of the Heart, 1999). A relentless chronicle of violence against and within the bourgeois family unit, Hills usually occupies the role of Craven’s ‘cult classic’ – celebrated by the director’s hardcore fans, appreciated for its low-budget aesthetic, generating semi-ironic readings which praise its archetypal allusions as well as its exploitation movie themes. Read More »

Wes Craven, Andrzej Kostenko & Karl Martine – The Evolution of Snuff (1978)


Clarke Fountain, allmovie.com wrote:
Rather than being just another exploitation documentary, designed to re-use footage from unprofitable porn films, this feature explores the social circumstances which gave rise to the legend of the “snuff” film, and the conditions present (in 1976) in the porn film industry in general. Sex performers and all the others involved in making such films are interviewed about their work and why they do it. The filmmaker, himself well-known for making “soft”-porn films, was so incensed by the snuff-film trend that he made this exposé of the hard-core pornography industry. The Evolution of Snuff includes a forward by Roman Polanski, who was experiencing legal difficulties in the U.S. at the time. Read More »