The Best of Wes: 5 Movies to Marathon this Labor Day

Earlier this week on August 30th, famed director Wes Craven passed away after losing his battle with brain cancer. Wes was widely known for his genre defining horror films, often directing and writing some of his best works. His films and their themes could be shocking and gruesome, but the multi-talented man always presented himself as a humble, affable, and passionate personality. His presence in the film industry will sorely be missed.

Whether you’re an old fan or a new fan, here are five of his best movies to help you remember his talent:

The Last House on the Left (1972)

Wes Craven’s movies often deal with themes of fear that blur the lines between reality and fantasy. It’s easy to make a horror film that features simpering females and over the top monsters, but The Last House on the Left brought terror closer to home with a family that felt identifiable and a menace that could very well happen. Even though the movie was remade in 2006, the original is still startling and panic inducing enough on its’ own.


Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Few film makers are able to make a character with such a pervasive influence the he becomes an icon himself. Freddy Krueger (most often played by Robert Englund) would go on to star in several sequels and a TV anthology, in addition to receiving the satirical cartoon treatment in shows like South Park and Robot Chicken. If you’re curious just how hard Wes Craven had to work to get Elm Street made, the documentary Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy is worth checking out.


The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

Be clear on one thing before watching The Serpent and the Rainbow for the first time: this is NOT a zombie movie. Instead, Wes Craven presents a slow but intentional thriller that delves into the little known subject of Haitian Voodoo. A man who appears dead may rise from the grave, but did he ever really die?


Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)

New Nightmare is like the SkyNet of the Freddy franchise. Wes Craven took his most iconic feature and created a film that is almost self aware, displaying a creativity and uniqueness not many people could make or sell in Hollywood. Even more than that, it shows a real rarity by standing on par with its original source material.


Scream (1996)

Scream was the horror film that was able to attract the masses when others missed the mark. Not everyone can make a movie about a killer in a novelty ghost mask truly suspenseful, but somehow Wes Craven did, and would go on to do so for three more sequels. A TV show of the same name began airing this year on MTV, and while Wes is listed as an executive producer, he admitted in interviews that he had very little do with the actual production.


“If I am to be remembered at all, I hope it’s that I wasn’t predictable. That I have a sense of humor and was not afraid to go to dark places, rather than going around them and pretending they weren’t there.”
– Wes Craven

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About the author

Lindsay Arryn is a cute and cuddly creature of the night. She adores all things spooky and shiny, and can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and most other things @nopenotwendy.