The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Wes Craven Horror

By Stephanie Bajzik


As Halloween draws frighteningly close, horror movie marathons are a must for October. While Wes Craven has become a household name when it comes to scare tactics, most would agree that his collection of films include both hits and misses. Being one of the genre’s most prolific directors, there’s bound to be controversy over fan favorites and those that are widely deemed utter failures. Whether you love him or hate him, this comprehensive list will cover the good, the bad and the ugly of Wes Craven horror.

The Good

Last House on the Left burst into theaters with the warning “To avoid fainting, keep repeating – it’s only a movie.” With a brutal crime followed by an unsettling revenge sequence, the flick struck fear in the hearts of viewers on numerous levels. For Craven’s directorial debut, he certainly managed to make an impression on movie goers everywhere as a director with the ability to portray true evil on screen. As a huge hit upon its release, the film still maintains a cult following to this day.

In 1984, A Nightmare on Elm Street presented fright seekers with a brand new monster to lose sleep over. The debut of Freddie Krueger’s reign of terror coincided with the deadly Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees, making for an interesting year for horror in cinema. Achieving box office success, Krueger went on to return in numerous sequels, attaining icon status.

The Bad

Returning to the big screen after a five year hiatus, Wes Craven brought excited and impatient fans his written and directed flick called My Soul to Take. With a villain referred to as the Riverton Ripper, it almost seemed as though Craven stopped trying completely. In typical horror film fashion, a diverse group of teenagers are terrorized by this “Ripper” character making for one of the most predictable and honestly quite boring teen slasher movies in existence. Despite Wes Craven’s attempt to get a slice of the 3D pie, the movie was a massive box office flop.

Although many fans will fervently disagree, the Scream series simply wasn’t one of Craven’s best. While it was hugely successful in terms of box office draw (largely due to a star studded cast), critics’ reviews were mixed. Admittedly, the characters were quirky and borderline endearing, but the plot was mediocre at best.

The Ugly

Eddie Murphy and horror? Well, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. While Craven tried to place some of his signature fright tactics into the mix, he just couldn’t seem to manage maintaining a balance of the comical components with the elements of terror. Vampire in Brooklyn which featured Eddie Murphy as a “terrifying” yet seductive vampire was a total misfire. All in all, it resulted in a movie with absolutely no sweaty palm style tension or any dramatic draw whatsoever. While the story was largely developed by Eddie Murphy and his hilarious brother Charlie, Wes Craven seemingly directed the piece without any effort at all.