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View Full Version : Wes Craven: Hero or Hack?


rhett
06-13-2005, 04:19 PM
Of all the big horror directors, no director seems to split audiences the way Wes Craven does. For all the people that dub THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and SCREAM masterpieces, there are just as many who absolutely loathe the films. While his ELM STREET films seem to get a more universal praise, most of the other films in his body of work also receive a similar polar batch of opinions. So what will it be, is Craven a great director or one that is extremely overrated?

Mok
06-13-2005, 04:28 PM
Mmmm, overrated for me, but the Elm Street films are classic. The first film is really solid, and there isn't even very much Freddy in that.

Ash28M
06-13-2005, 04:28 PM
I would lean toward hero. I wouldn't put him in the top of the list but he has made a lasting impact on the Horror genre.

Classics

The Last House on the Left
The Hills Have Eyes
A Nightmare On Elm Street

Other notable above average contributions

Scream
New Nightmare
The Serpent and the Rainbow
The People Under the Stairs
Deadly Blessing

Nemesis
06-13-2005, 04:32 PM
i'd have called him a hero.. but he lends his name to too many horrible films these days

Doombear
06-13-2005, 04:39 PM
The opening Drew Barrymore scene in Scream is a classic piece of cinema. Scream 2 (though hated by many) was my favorite. Scream 3 was no fun; not clever, hip or scary.

Nightmare on Elm Street 1 & 3 are works of art. 7 had tons of originality.

From his movies, you can tell he is a great fan of horror films too. He's one of us! I don't think he's out to screw us with his productions like some movie makers.

His films have followed very much like John Carpenter's, but different directing style and more of a polished edge than Carpenter.

I simply adore The People Under the Stairs, even though it is considered flawed and uneven. The Serpent and the Rainbow was a load of fun.

Most horror fans know him for what he is, and appreciate it. I think most of the media and general public tend to overrate him. Some of the works he has been Executive Producer on have not turned out so well.

Franco
06-13-2005, 05:25 PM
He has some masterpieces but some stinkers too -like many. It's a pity that directors don't take care about their reputation at 100%.

_pi_
06-13-2005, 05:31 PM
Although I do consider him a great director, the "has made some masterpieces but some stinkers too" option is a bit more appropriate.

But I did enjoy Cursed, if only becuse I could glimpse at what was probably originally conceived, and a new Craven film is always something to get excited over imo.

Ash28M
06-13-2005, 05:33 PM
The opening Drew Barrymore scene in Scream is a classic piece of cinema. .

Although done so much better in Black Christmas, When a stranger Calls and When a Stranger calls back.

Spacevis
06-13-2005, 05:34 PM
I think sometimes they don't have a choice if they wanna stay with their head above water. He made some classics and some stinkers, but hey, many great directors have masterpieces and stinkers.

tobaccoman
06-13-2005, 05:41 PM
And that's why when they do hit the spot, we call them their "masterpiece"!

Masterpieces and stinkers for me. Although more misses than hits fits well also. Especially when considering his producing record, but I'll keep it to direction where all of his movies have at least some redeeming value.

dwatts
06-13-2005, 06:02 PM
More hits than misses. I can't totally write the guy off, because Last House on the Left is a genre masterpiece. Hills have Eyes was great too. People Under the Stairs, which I watched recently, almost forced me to click "overrated", but I just remember the two films mentioned above to get me over that.

Basically, today, Craven isn't significant at all.

onebyone
06-13-2005, 06:21 PM
I went with "he has some masterpieces but some stinkers too," because well, He has some masterpieces but some stinkers too.

Mattster
06-13-2005, 06:42 PM
I went with "he has some masterpieces but some stinkers too," because well, He has some masterpieces but some stinkers too.

Agreed. A lot of people often include films that aren't even his when they consider his filmography. He has a lot of producer credits that often lead to his name being plastered on the poster.

Nemesis
06-13-2005, 06:47 PM
Agreed. A lot of people often include films that aren't even his when they consider his filmography. He has a lot of producer credits that often lead to his name being plastered on the poster.



which is why i said "but he lends his name to too many horrible films these days" several posts above ;)

Mattster
06-13-2005, 06:50 PM
which is why i said "but he lends his name to too many horrible films these days" several posts above ;)

You know I never read any of your posts. :D

KillerCannabis
06-13-2005, 06:54 PM
I admit (and agree) he's got some stinkers, but my vote went to him being a great director because he is. When you think of veteran genre directors, his name always comes up. He's had his missteps for sure, but he's made a lot of good contributions to horror and for that I consider him to be a great director.

KGBRadioMoskow
06-13-2005, 08:25 PM
Hills Have Eyes, Last House on the Left, Serpent and the Rainbow. Thats about it for me, in descending order of quality, and the first two mainly for simply having that "one of the first to do this" factor. Scream I found dull, old hat, and grossly over-rated. I don't know what film people who claimed it breathed new life and originality into the slasher genre were watching, it obviously wasn't the tired hack job (pun intended) I suffered through. A couple of the Nightmare films had some moments, flashes of interesting concepts (and Robert Englund is always fun on screen), but only just enough to redeem them to the point where I didn't consider them a waste of $10 and two hours of my life I'll never get back.

Basically everything Craven has done I'm forced to compare with other, better films - some done before, some done since - and conclude he deserves some credit for laying the groundwork a bit for other film makers but not enough for me to shell out time or money on most of his works. And to those who would consider him to be a "more polished" John Carpenter, repent ye heretics! You can toss down the three worst films Carpenter has made, and I'd be hard pressed to watch Craven's best three instead. Considering that's putting questionables like Vampires, Ghosts of Mars, and Village of the Damned on the list - not to mention outright sludge like Escape from LA - that's saying something. About the only thing Craven and Carpenter have in common is that their best films are clearly in their past, not their present or future.

speanroc
06-13-2005, 08:39 PM
I would lean toward hero. I wouldn't put him in the top of the list but he has made a lasting impact on the Horror genre.

Classics

The Last House on the Left
The Hills Have Eyes
A Nightmare On Elm Street

Other notable above average contributions

Scream
New Nightmare
The Serpent and the Rainbow
The People Under the Stairs
Deadly Blessing


i agree w/ ash

hell ya!
06-13-2005, 09:03 PM
He has more misses than hits.

Last House and The Hills Have Eyes are two of the best horror films of all time and NOES is a fantastic film as well. Other than thoes 3 the rest range from ok to crap.

KamuiX
06-13-2005, 09:50 PM
He's completely overrated. He's made 3 or 4 worthwhile films in nearly a 30 year career. That says to me he just got lucky a few times...

Cujo108
06-13-2005, 10:33 PM
Went with "He has some masterpieces but some stinkers too." I still consider his three best films to be The Hills Have Eyes, The Serpent and the Rainbow, and Deadly Blessing. While I think those are his best, I love Last House, ANOES, and New Nightmare too. Also, while I don't love em, and wouldn't consider them good films, Shocker sure is fun, and I like The Hills Have Eyes II a tad more than most people.

Everything else he's done is complete and total garbage. It would be nice to see him churn out a good film again, but I've lost faith in him these days.

Dave
06-13-2005, 10:43 PM
He's a washed up man, folks. He should just remake NOES.

Werner Von Wallenrod
06-14-2005, 07:46 AM
Tough to call, 'cause those statements aren't really mutually exclusive.

thrashard76
06-14-2005, 04:42 PM
He has some masterpieces but some stinkers too. I like most of the Nightmare series (except 2) but I really don't like the Scream series (the first was ok).

tobaccoman
06-14-2005, 05:01 PM
Were all of the NOES movies produced by Craven? I would just look at the box, but unfortunately for this occasion it is in the good care of a friend. Either way it doesn't affect my vote, I was just curious. I still love the first Scream so fuck y'all! I know it doesn't really offer anything new to the slasher genre, but it doesn't have to. It was a great film that kept you guessing and had a lot of "in-jokes/parody/tounge-in-cheek/whatever you want to call it", but most of all it IS a fun flick. No, I don't think it re-invented a genre although it has almost killed one, this movie is still one of the better horror films from it's time. I for one still think Wes can pull another trick out of his hat or at least out of another prime-time drama-queen's pantie-hoes.

He's not Cronenberg!

orville
06-22-2005, 01:57 AM
Last House on the Left is good as a period piece.

Nightmare on Elm Street is a ripoff of Dreamscape.

The Hills Have Eyes is his masterpiece.

Everything else is crap........ :fire:

Anthropophagus
06-22-2005, 02:43 AM
Deadly Blessing is an underrated gem.
Hills Have Eyes is ok (but I personally preferred Just Before Dawn by Lieberman).
The first Nightmare On Elm Street is classic, despite being cheesy in spots. Who can forget Heather Langenkamp!!
Last House On The Left is unique, but I cannot stomach it except for rare occasions-just too damn sadistic and close to the headlines I despise reading on a daily basis. However, if George Bernard Shaw was correct and "the secret of success is to offend the greatest number of people"-Craven triumphed with Last House.
Everything else is either mildly amusing or leaves me completely apathetic. Cursed sucked bigtime!!

X-human
06-22-2005, 05:20 AM
I don't have much respect for the guy at all, he just seems like such a copy cat. He's never gone out and done something original that really stands on its own two feet. I own the stinkers from John Carpenter and George A. Romero, even when they fall they at least still makes something worth seeing for me. But even when Wes Craven succeeds I know someone's already done it before him and done it much better.

But I understand the support he gets, he doesn't really make bad movies so much as mediocre ones. There's something to like and it's usually very polished, and a lot of people do like more of the same so there's nothing for them to complain about.

The Last House on the Left though I can't watch because of the REALLY bad editing. When combined with the bad screenplay and bad direction (although he has gotten much better since) I can't enjoy it as anything other than trash. When people call this a masterpiece I'm just left scratching my head. The Hills Have Eyes is also incredibly boring to me.

bigdaddyhorse
06-22-2005, 05:48 AM
He's got some greatness under his belt (damn I just set myself up for something, or you're welcome Wes :D), but a few sacks O shit as well.
Ergo, I went with that option.
NOES=Great
New Nightmare=Great
Hills Have Eyes=O.K. (kinda lame by today's standards, but holds up)
Scream X3=Great (I like at least parts of all 3, first one was killer IMO)
Last House=disturbing, but kinda boring
Serpent=good for what it is, kinda boring
Shocker=growing on me, used to hate it but after watching with comm. then without, I'm kinda liking it
People Under The Stairs=O.K.
Swamp Thing=total dogshit!

I can't think of or haven't seen the others. I won't bother with the shit he's attached his name to for money.

Mattster
06-23-2005, 04:42 AM
Just finished watching Cursed and I must say... not that bad. Certainly not as bad as people are saying it is.

Granted I watched the Unrated cut. I think people just went along with this popular opinion that it's "the worst film ever" like they do with anything that has Craven's name on it or comes out of Dimension Films. Boogeyman and The Ring 2 were much worse than this.

I'm a little disappointed with the DVD though. Dimension never fails to keep deleted footage locked away (Mimic, The Faculty, They), and, with a film like this, it certainly would have been nice to see all of the cut scenes. They probably could have filled a second disc with it.

Erick H.
06-23-2005, 07:22 AM
Though he can be erratic,Craven is still a significant name in horror.He turned out one of the more influential "Murder in the Sticks" flicks with LAST HOUSE(not really a fave of mine,but influential) then braoadened that canvas with HILLS HAVE EYES.He revived the just petering out 80's slasher cycle with his supernaturally twisted NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET,then,years later helped to launch the wave of "ironic" slashers with SCREAM.You can argue wether the films that followed in the wake of both are good or bad,but he certainly made his mark.I think DEADLY BLESSING and SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW tend to be somewhat underrated,in both cases they stood out as offbeat films when compared to what was hot at the time.He's made some shakey,underbudgeted,unfocused pics,but on whole he deserves respect.

Severn
06-28-2005, 07:19 PM
He's in the overated bin for me. The Last House on the Left didn't do much for me and doesn't deserve the label of classic. He just doesn't do much for me.

Grim
06-28-2005, 07:30 PM
I went with he has more misses than hits. The last good film I thought he did was the original scream. Had you asked me this question say 6 years ago, I probably would've answered differently. He has made some amazing films, though. Last Houshe on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, A Nightmare on Elm Street, etc.

Tad Ghostal
06-28-2005, 11:11 PM
He's made a few classics. Nightmare on Elm Street and The Hills Have Eyes are two of my favorites. I thought the first Scream was good, although it ushered in a wave of shitty teen slashers. I never really understood what was the big deal with "Last House". I rented it once and thought it was lame.

zombi3
07-05-2005, 03:37 AM
He has more misses than hits. I like Last House, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Serpent and the Rainbow. But I found all his other stuff that I've seen quite forgettable.

Luna
07-05-2005, 03:43 AM
I voted quite a while ago, but I chose "He has some masterpieces but some stinkers too" because... yeah. :lol:

maskull
07-10-2005, 05:45 AM
I went with the masterpieces/stinkers option.

He's made great movies like NOES, A New Nightmare, Last House On The Left, The Hills Have Eyes, and yes, I really enjoyed the Scream Trilogy....plus I enjoy Shocker and even the first 3/4 of Cursed. So yeah, he's got a good number of decent films.