Wes Craven was a visionary director most famous for some of the most influential horror movies over the last few decades. Sadly, Wes passed away earlier this week and we thought it’d be appropriate to find all of his best works across Netflix to celebrate his life and his successful career. While Wes Craven was best known for writing and directing horror movies, he was equally at home in other genres – he directed Music Of The Heart starring Meryl Streep and the anthology Paris, je t’aime. He also wrote a novel – “The Fountain Society”
Wes won multiple life-time achievement awards as well as too many to count for his individual movies.
5. Music of the Heart (1999)
One of Wes Craven rare but phenomenally successful ventures outside the horror genre, Music of the Heart is the true story of Roberta Guaspari. Guaspari battles the board of education in Harlem to teach underprivileged kids the beauty of music through the violin. She loses everything but, in the end, her determination delivers inspirational results.
Starring the multi-talented and multi award winning Meryl Streep, this is a feel good movie in the vein of Mr. Holland’s Opus. This is perhaps not Streeps finest performance (although she actually learned to play the violin for the part) but Music of the Heart is an eminently watchable movie. Like many movies with music, watchable more than once.
Music of the Heart is streaming on Netflix in the USA.
4. The Hill Have Eyes (2006)
The Hill Have Eyes was originally written by Wes Craven in 1977 and he produced a sequel in 1984. This is a remake produced by Craven and is one of those very rare things – a remake that is better than the original.
The premise is fairly simple. The Carters – a perfect American family – get lost in the desert and then their car breaks down (it could only happen to a perfect American family). And then their troubles start. The local inhabitants, affected by nuclear testing in the past, are out to get them.
There are arguably too many false scare in the remake but this is about the only criticism. The mutants are an excellent horror creation and will appeal to all horror fans.
This title is streaming on Netflix in most European countries excluding Ireland and the United Kingdom
3. Scream (1996)
Directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson (who went on to be one of the main creators of The Vampire Diaries), Scream stars a 21 year old Drew Barrymore, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette amongst many others who have excelled in more than just horror. There’s even a cameo from The Fonz.
The horror in Scream comes from the serial killer being a human in a mask. There’s an element of whodunit here but the script keeps us guessing right through to the gruesome climax. Scream is essentially a satire of the horror genre. And, as such, there are laughs in this movie, more evidence of Wes Craven talent. Which all add to the power of the horror when it comes.
Scream is streaming on Netflix in the USA and UK.
2. Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010)
If you’re a fan of the Elm Street series, it’s worth watching this documentary that explores the origins of “dream demon” Freddy Krueger. It goes behind the scenes of the best horror franchise in movie history and includes special features and extra footage.
This is not a cynical money making cobbled together bodge like so many “documentaries” but a worthy piece of work that serves as a fine tribute to Wes Craven.
Never Sleep Again : The Elm Street Legacy is streaming on Netflix in the USA.
1. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Robert Englund was Freddy Krueger. In the films and TV spin-offs he took the Wes Craven horror creation and made it his own. And this is no mean feat as the use of dreams in movies, and more particularly horror movies, is very over worked. The subtlety with which Nightmare on Elm Street moves between dreams and reality is what sets this movie (the series indeed) apart.
We won’t trouble you with premise of the movie; if you don’t know it by now you should watch the movie and if you do know it you should watch the movie again. What is important is that Wes Craven understood that anticipation in horror movies is far worse than the final result. He delivers this over and over again in a classic that, if not seminal, took the horror genre to new heights and spawned one of the most successful series of sequels in cinema history.
This title is streaming on Netflix in Brazil, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.