Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 5, 2017


WES CRAVEN: THE ART OF HORROR. John Kenneth Muir. McFarland; 1998.

Wes Craven burst on the low-budget scene with the controversial Last House on the Left, then hit the big time with Nightmare on Elm Street. Craven had mixed success with the films that followed, but then came the Scream franchise which was extremely successful. Then as a producer, Craven's name was often attached to projects that he did not direct -- "Wes Craven Presents" -- such as Mind Ripper and Wishmaster. Muir follows a biographical/career section with lengthy essays on each of Craven's movies up until 1998. He also covers Craven's telefilms, the movies he produced but did not direct, and his short-lived television series, Nightmare Cafe. Craven tried unsuccessfully to mimic the success of the Nightmare on Elm Street films with the psycho Horace Pinker character of Shocker, but it didn't work. Muir obviously admires Craven's work (much more than this writer does), and while he may not convince anyone of Craven's genius, his analysis of the films is quite good, if a trifle pretentious at times. Illustrated.

Verdict: A must for Wes Craven fans. ***.

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