“Who is your favorite famous person?”
It is a question many teachers ask around the first month of school in an attempt to get to know you. I was in first grade when that question got thrown my way. The other kids all said names I heard on the TV every day, but didn’t care much about. Shyness that sometimes consumed me started to creep up. It was my turn.
“Wes Craven,” I said. All the kids laughed and whispered things about me. I knew it wasn’t the popular answer, but I didn’t care. It was the truth. None of the other kids knew who he was, but I certainly did. I could’ve written a book about him already. At a time in my life when I felt so very alone, he was my hero.
Nightmare on Elm Street was the first horror movie I had ever seen. Right then and there, a lifelong horror fan was born. I became fascinated with mostly everything the genre had to offer. At five years old, I read, researched, watched, and learned. (Yes, I was a strange kid, you need not remind me.) My knowledge on film production, direction, writing, and special effects began to grow.
Many people didn’t and still don’t know Wes was also a gifted writer. When I first heard him speak about it, I soaked up everything he had to say.
A seed was planted. I realized I wanted to do something in this field. Every time Wes came out with a new movie, from that point on, I would almost “take notes”, because I recognized him as a brilliant man with a special talent for what makes us scared. I remember an interview he gave a while back where he said he would write down his dreams, especially the bad ones. The next day I started keeping a “Dream Journal” complete with illustrations.
The list of influences he’s had on my work is extensive and detailed. I could go on for days about the genius of this man.
So I will.
Throughout the month of October I will be paying tribute to Wes by creating one horror-inspired something every day up to (and including) Halloween. The horror art series I was already planning for October will be worked into this. It will be titled: 31 Nightmares.
Some of my favorite Wes projects:
- Nightmare on Elm Street
- The People Under the Stairs
- The Last House on the Left
- Nightmare on Elm Street 4
- Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
- Scream 2
- Red Eye
- …and just about every interview or documentary he was ever involved in. He is very interesting to just sit back and listen to.
Wes Craven’s full filmography can be found here: Full Filmography and Credits
To all of my horror fans out there reading this, I’m there with you. This one hurts. We lost the Godfather of Horror, but I have no doubt, a lot of us will make him proud.