Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wes Craven’s Tricks (and Treats) of the Trade 01.10.99

All directors who have been at it for awhile develop trademarks, sometimes subconsciously and at other times, completely self-consciously. These trademarks can manifest themselves as recurring themes, recurring characters and even recurring inside jokes.

Wes Craven began his career in 1972 with the cult horror classic, Last House on the Left. His resume from that point is a credit list that defines the horror genre in the last twenty-five years: The Hills Have Eyes, the Nightmare on Elm Street series, Scream. Throughout the span of his career, his trademarks have remained constant.

The Raimi Connection:
Wes Craven has an ongoing in-joke feud with fellow horrormeister Sam Raimi.

• In Nightmare on Elm Street, Nancy stays awake by watching Raimi’s The Evil Dead.
• Also in Nightmare, there’s a torn poster of The Evil Dead in the background of a scene,
• (This is tit-for-tat: In The Evil Dead, there’s a ripped poster of Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes.)
• Wes Craven’s New Nightmare spoofs a scene from Raimi’s Army of Darkness.
• (Again, this is in direct response to Raimi, who references Nightmare in The Evil Dead II.)
• Sam Raimi’s brother Ted also appears in Shocker.

Personal Digs:

• Freddy Krueger is named after a kid who bullied Craven in grade school.
• In Scream, Casey claims that all of the sequels to A Nightmare On Elm Street "sucked."
• Also in Scream, Fred the janitor (Craven) wears a green-and-red Freddy Krueger sweater.

Craven’s Posse:

• Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes I & II, Deadly Blessing, Invitation to Hell)
• Charles Fleischer (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Deadly Friend)
• Jeff East (A Stranger in Our House, Deadly Blessing)
• Robert Englund (All Nightmares, Freddy’s Nightmares, Nightmare Café, Wishmaster)
• Nick Corri (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, A Vampire in Brooklyn)
• Heather Langenkamp (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Shocker, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare)
• Mitch Pileggi (Shocker, Night Visions, A Vampire in Brooklyn)
• Joanna Cassidy (Invitation to Hell, A Vampire in Brooklyn)
• Timothy Leary (Shocker, Night Visions)

Craven’s Discoveries:

• Fran Drescher (Stranger in Our House, 1978)
• Sharon Stone (Deadly Blessing, 1981)
• Johnny Depp (A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1984)
• Penny Johnson (The Hills Have Eyes, Part II, 1985)
• Kristy Swanson (Deadly Friend, 1986)
• Bill Pullman (The Serpent & The Rainbow, 1987)
• Mitch Pileggi (Shocker, 1989)
• Jaime Kennedy (Scream, 1996)
• Skeet Ulrich (Scream, 1996)

Keepin’ It In The Family:

• Wife, Mimi Craven (Swamp Thing, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Chiller)
• Daughter, Jessica Craven (Shocker, Night Visions, New Nightmare)
• Son, Jonathan Craven (Last House On The Left, Shocker)

No comments: