Hey ya'll, I wanna get super emotional and real with you really quick. Today would be Wes Craven's birthday if he were still alive. He's been dead three years now and the horror world still feels the loss deeply.
Of all the horror directors, Wes was the one closest to my heart. I wanna share my personal Wes Craven love here today. I was going to do some sort of like "top ten" list for his flicks, but I just couldn't bring myself to write it. Because he's so much more than a "top ten" list.
So here we are!
Horror started to become important to me when I was 11 years old. I was given full reign of the small video rental place on the army base and given no restrictions. I gravitated instantly towards horror flicks because I'd always loved Goosebumps, Witches, and was just learning about serial killers. I read my first Jack The Ripper book when I was like 9?
Regardless, I was 11 and suddenly able to watch real horror movies. The first one I EVER grabbed was The Blair Witch Project and watched it alone in my basement scared SHITLESS. My friend's older sister had told us all about it because she got to see it in theaters. This was finally my chance. And oh boy did it light a fire under my ass to explore all aspects of horror. (Blair Witch was not my first horror flick by any means. But was my first modern horror. I'd been raised on Hitchcock flicks, Jaws, and Hammer Horror).
The second film I grabbed was Scream. At 11, it scared me really badly, but I instantly felt connected to Sid and Dewey and Billy and just....everyone. I felt such a strong connection to this film. It scared me, it made me laugh, it was gory but not disgusting for my 11 year old eyes. And I felt like I finally GOT IT.
I then went back and immediately got Scream 2. It was 1999 so Scream 3 hadn't been released yet and I was too young to really use the internet and know that a Scream 3 was coming. I also lived in a very small town on an army base that didn't exactly have the normal type of advertising. Scream 2 made me incredibly happy and I grew to love Sid even more. I wanted to be her! I wanted to be this strong, adult, confident woman who wouldn't let some asshole in a mask push her around.
So imagine my surprise when Scream 3 showed up in my video store and I felt like I'd gone to heaven. When DVD's started coming into the normal rotation, I quickly got Scream 1 - 3 on DVD and watched them religiously. I still know Scream off by heart, word for word.
I got into Nightmare on Elm Street late in life compared to most. I watched it for the first time when I was in high school. My horror love at that point was a mostly solo affair. My best friend, Oprah, who I talk about a lot on here, was really the only person who would watch that stuff with me. My Dad would sometimes sit through Halloween or Friday the 13th. But mostly I was alone in my basement devouring every film I could find. Nightmare on Elm Street didn't hit me like Scream did but it still frightened me. And considering it was like 2005 when I watched it, it shows the durability of Wes's films.
When I left art college in a confused state of woe is me, what shall I do with my life, I turned back to horror. Only this time I studied it much like it was my new college course. I learned about Wes Craven and all of his incredible movies. I learned about how amazing he was as a director and how kind and loving he was to every actor, producer, crew member etc. I just knew he was a good guy.
And as I continued to grow and became a begrudging adult, I started a little blog. It was just a stupid little public journal where I wrote "humorous" observations to get through my depression. But then we moved to a brand new city and I didn't have a job and I unpacked all my DVD's, I found Scream again. And even though I was lost in my life, I could always turn on Scream and feel grounded again. But now that I was a 12 hour drive away from my best friend instead of a 5 minute walk, and I hadn't made any new friends in this new city, I started transforming the blog into Horror Bound.
6 years later and you're reading it and I'm still writing it. And that's all thanks to Wes Craven and his movies.
While the Scream franchise obviously sticks out as my favorite, all of his movies make me feel like I'm coming home. There's just something he puts in his movies that make them feel irreplaceable and timeless.
On August 30th in 2015, we all found out that Wes Craven had died because of brain cancer. Four weeks after his 76th birthday. He was too young. He was still pumping out content, a very much active brain giving us horror treats that was taken away from us, and his family, too soon.
So on his birthday I want to celebrate him and mourn him. He was one of the first directors who I took an interest in and took inspiration from. He truly captured my imagination from a very young age. And what I loved most about him was that he just genuinely loved horror. He cared for his movies and talked passionately about the genre. It wasn't an embarrassing blemish on his resume, or a paycheque to him. He was creating horror because he loved it, and he was fucking good at it.
Happy Birthday Wes! You are one of the greats and will go down in history alongside Romero, Hitchcock, Hooper and Carpenter. Without you, generations of teenagers would've gotten a good nights sleep and not been afraid to answer the phone.
This is just my story, my connection with him. I'm sure there are countless of you out there who have your own connection, whether it be Nightmare on Elm Street, The Hills Have Eyes, or maybe it was Red Eye, My Soul To Take or The Last House on the Left. Regardless of the movie, Wes brought the horror world together, over and over again.
Love you bud. Thank you for everything.