Wednesday, 2 September 2015

RIP Wes Craven: We lost not only a Master of horror but one of its guardians as well.

So unfortunately Wes Craven passed away a few days ago. I wanted to say something at the time but the truth was I was just too shocked to really know what to say. So I sat back and looked on as the heartfelt statements came out from so many of the people he had worked with. I could write a piece about his films celebrating his achievements but this has been done by so many, I also touched on this kind of thing when I posted a belated birthday wishes blog post. I also considered writing a piece about Wes Craven's new nightmare and the way it blended fiction and reality in a way that had never been done before but then my friend showed me an amazing article on this and I figured it had been done justice so then I wrote this.

Lots of people will have been upset by his passing because they grew up with his films, had seen him at various events and read about the man behind the films. Some comfort can be taken from the official statement released by his family which read: “It is with deep sadness we inform you that Wes Craven passed away at 1PM on Sunday, August 30 after battling brain cancer. He was 76 years old. Craven was surrounded by love, in the presence of his family at his Los Angeles home.'' Now while none of us really wanted him to die yet at least he was with his family and at home as peaceful as possible.

Lots of people know that Wes Craven was a writer and director they will have seen some or maybe all of the movies he was involved in but he was also in my opinion a great spokesperson for horror films.The horror film as a type of media sometimes seems to struggle to gain the recognition it deserves, it seldom seems to be adequately celebrated during the awards ceremonies in my opinion and this was something Wes Craven recognised “There was something really profound with the whole treatment of horror in culture at that time, which was, it was something kind of disgusting. Proper people didn't associate with it,”

A lot of people seemed at least at one stage to look at horror directors as hacks who were circling the gutter of society who were churning out this kind of thing because they perhaps didn't understand the complexities of more supposedly high brow forms of movie related art and yet Craven had an undergraduate degree in English and Psychology and a master's degree in Philosophy and Writing and he had been a teacher of both English and the humanities.He was able to use his skills to intelligently explain horrors place in the world and how it had always been there and he could defend it from this basis as can be seen in the following quote “I had been a college teacher. I had taught Greek mythology. I had taught The Iliad and The Odyssey, Greek tragic drama, and it’s all very bloody.''
While various government related busy bodies were trying to argue that horror films were pure garbage that served no purpose other than to warp and twist children Craven saw things in a much different way and while others might have lacked the words to fight back Craven was able to beautifully argue his point. “Stories and narratives are one of the most powerful things in humanity. They’re devices for dealing with the chaotic danger of existence.”

Wes Craven didn't just make his films and then shrug when people complained about them and there content, nor did he get mad and stamp and scream instead he met the complaints head of and argued his case beautifully.So yes I want to join in with others in celebrating the life and the films of Wes Craven but I also want to celebrate him as a role model.

Wes Craven was a writer, a director, a story teller but he was also a fine example to anyone who wants to fight there corner with intelligence and class. He is also a good example of someone chasing there dreams no matter what it takes. He left his teaching job behind, his stable contract and regular pay check in order to pursue the path he really wanted to take and how poorer would the world of horror be if he hadn't.

Goodbye Wes Craven thank you for the films and for the stories but most of all thank you for the example you set both in how to follow your dreams but also in how to argue for your cause in a diplomatic and heartfelt way.

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