Thursday, September 03, 2015

Wes Craven R.I.P.

It was 1986.  Somehow, I'd gotten my mother to rent us a horror film from the local market (a tiny family-owned store on Main Street that sold candy, dry goods, a few groceries, and had, by then, converted one wall into a makeshift video store--as all markets did in those days) to watch on a Friday night.  My friend Steven had come over to spend the night, and I assumed that he was as into scary movies as I was.  The film for the evening was A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET.

We made it about halfway through.

Steven did not enjoy the movie, and when I suggested we finish it up the next morning, was less than enthusiastic.  He probably never watched a horror movie with me again.

But I was really impressed with it.  Like every unbalanced child of my generation, I became somewhat fixated on Freddy Krueger and his seemingly-endless series of slasher films (I had a big "Freddy's Revenge" poster on my bedroom wall that I would always avoid looking at late at night).  That was my first exposure to a Wes Craven film, though I vaguely recall wanting to see SWAMP THING when it came out.

I was disturbed watching SERPENT & THE RAINBOW at my Uncle George's place, and rolled my eyes at the end of THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS in the same house.  He directed my favorite episode of the Eighties version of "The Twilight Zone," the one where Melinda Dillon could stop time by saying "Shut up."  My friend Dennis recorded SHOCKER off of HBO and we watched the tape, only to discover the recording ended before the movie did.  And I laughed my head off when Anne Ramsay was beheaded by a basketball in DEADLY FRIEND.

In 1996, I saw SCREAM with my roommate John.    It took a while for me to embrace it like the people around me did, but when I did, I recognized it as a love letter to my favorite genre, and I thought, "This is what I should be/could be writing."  I probably loved SCREAM 2 more than the first one, also seeing that with John (on opening night).

Well, Wes Craven died this week, of brain cancer.  He was seventy-six, which sort of amazes me.

I only met Wes once, though I actually saw him speak at one of those Horror conventions I always felt out of place in for not having a tattoo of the Tall Man on my inner thigh.  He was a very patient, well-spoken man, and he signed my copy of SCREAM after a screening one night.

Unfortunately, that and most of my DVDs were stolen by a neighbor who, upon discovering a way to let himself into my apartment, came over from time to time, waiting, of course, until I'd gone to work.

But hey, I still have my memories.  And I never saw MY SOUL TO TAKE.  Maybe I'll do that this week.  

Thanks for the bad dreams, Wes.  Rest well.

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