April 15, 2011 | 3:36 p.m.
Wondering whether you should answer the call and take a chance on “Scream 4” this weekend? Critic Peter Travers writes in Rolling Stone that despite the “diabolically funny start and a surprise climax” the movie isn’t worth your time, and Michael O’Sullivan’s review in the Washington Post offers one of the stranger metaphors in recent cinema criticism by calling the Wes Craven film “a 17-year-old bulimic girl … alternately bingeing on cheesy slasher-flick cliches, purging, by pointing out, over and over, just how gag-me-with-a spoon cheesy they are.” Roger Ebert just seemed weary after seeing the movie, reflecting on “one victim after another being slashed, skewered, stabbed, gutted and sliced, with everyone in on the joke” before shaking his head at the reader with this closing line: “Maybe that’s your idea of a good time.” The “good-start-but-slow-middle” assessment popped up […]
April 14, 2011 | 9:41 a.m.
The first three “Scream” films mocked the cliches of contemporary fright flicks and manufactured a few new ones, but when the credits rolled on the goofy third edition, everyone involved agreed it was best to send the franchise where killers never really die — the home-video shelf. This Friday, though, the team behind “Scream” takes another stab at success, but will anyone still jump? John Horn has a Calendar cover story in Thursday’s Los Angeles Times examining the brand’s box-office survival chances. Here’s a short excerpt: It’s been 11 years since “Scream 3” arrived in theaters, and franchises don’t normally relaunch themselves after such a long hiatus. Audience tracking surveys suggest that “Scream 4” will be eviscerated at the box office by the animated comedy “Rio,” but there are precedents that make “Scream 4” maker Weinstein Co. optimistic about its long-term prospects. […]
Oct. 11, 2010 | 2:51 p.m.
Gary Goldstein reviews “My Soul to Take” for the Los Angeles Times: “My Soul to Take,” the first film horror-meister Wes Craven has both written and directed since 1994’s “New Nightmare” (and his first picture in 3-D), is a thrill-free snooze that will certainly rank as one of the least — if not the least — effective entries in Craven’s nearly 40-year canon of cinematic shockers. The overly complex story goes something like this: Sixteen years ago in the town of Riverton, Abel Plenkov (Rául Esparza), a schizophrenic family man with seven personalities — one of which was that of a murderer — killed his pregnant wife and was then shot by local police, but not before the dying madman vowed to return one day to murder the seven local children all born that night. Nothing if not a monster […]
Oct. 07, 2010 | 6:00 a.m.
On Friday, legendary horror director Wes Craven will release his latest genre entry and his first project in 3-D, the R-rated thriller “My Soul to Take.” The story focuses on a group of seven teenagers, led by two best friends — Bug (Max Thieriot) and Alex (John Magaro) — struggling to survive the murderous legacy of a local serial killer, Abel Plenkov, a mentally disturbed man known as the Riverton Ripper who allegedly died 16 years earlier. The film marks Craven’s first full-length feature since 2005’s “Red Eye,” but he hasn’t entirely been absent from the screen: Three of his classic movies — “Last House on the Left,” “The Hills Have Eyes” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” — all got the Hollywood remake treatment (though Craven had no involvement with the last project, which starred Jackie Earle Haley as […]
July 30, 2010 | 6:51 p.m.
“Scream 4” is due in theaters next April and Wes Craven is back directing. The filmmaker posted the photo above on his Flickr account on Thursday. The two-word caption: “He’s baaack!” — Geoff Boucher Wes Craven’s retirement plan: “Die in my 90s on the set” VIDEO: 13 Wes Craven films reconsidered Craven: Horror is “hidden history” of America George Romero calls zombies the “gift that keeps giving” “Phantasm,” the 30-year cast reunion interview
May 02, 2010 | 12:08 a.m.
The Los Angeles Times review of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” was written by Robert Abele, here’s an excerpt… Now comes the return of “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” thanks in part to producer Michael Bay, who, when he’s not frightening movie snobs as a director, has made something of a profitable side job resurrecting scare brands — “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “The Amityville Horror,” “Friday the 13th” — from the pop-culture graveyard. This time around he’s coaxed back the estimably creepy Freddy Krueger from our bloody memories, but it’s hardly what you’d call a dream reunion. The first “Nightmare” was the brainchild of horrormeister Wes Craven, who looked to embolden the slasher era with a child killer let loose during sleepy time: Reality-bending imagery added to the usual rip-and-bleed gore craft. Although the fedora-sporting, finger-knived Freddy (iconically rendered […]
Feb. 18, 2010 | 11:06 p.m.
“MERCHANT OF NIGHTMARES: A TRIBUTE TO WES CRAVEN” AT THE AERO THEATRE For close to four decades, Wes Craven has been a true master of screen terror with films such as “The Last House on the Left,” “The Hills Have Eyes,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and the “Scream” trilogy. It’s startling, then, to learn that Craven was never a moviegoer as a child. He didn’t sit down in the dark with Hollywood until he was already teaching at Clarkson College in Potsdam, N.Y. His parents were strict Baptist who forbade him to see movies and his student years didn’t offer a reprieve. “I went to a Christian college,” says the 70-year-old Craven. “You would be expelled if you were caught in a movie theater. It was ridiculous.” Thankfully, there was an art house theater in Potsdam. “It was right during that time in the 1960s […]
Aug. 03, 2009 | 4:21 a.m.
Wes Craven was born 70 years ago today in Cleveland (ah, so that explains it) and few filmmakers have impacted a sector of cinema in recent decades as dramatically as he has in the horror genre. Here are trailers for 13 films directed by Craven (he also wrote a half dozen of them) and in them you can see some common threads — pretty young women, bickering victims, isolation and tension, implacable danger and a dash of the fantastic that never veers too far from the gritty real world. It’s a great year already for Craven with the March release of the remake of “The Last House on the Left” (although it didn’t fare as well with critics and fans as the jolting original) and the in-the-works reboot of “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” which wrapped in Chicago recently and is now in post-production. Scrub all you like, […]
Jan. 25, 2009 | 4:58 p.m.
It’s not every day you spend a morning at Wes Craven’s house chatting about the future of horror movies, but Hero Complex contributor Gina McIntyre was lucky enough to do just that last week. It was part of her research for a major article today in the Sunday Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times that stabs deep into the heart of contemporary horror. Gina is a big fan of the genre, and in this piece she really captures a sense that 2009 will make a big splatter in the history books. Here’s an excerpt… Moviegoers, beware. A host of masked, murderous slashers, demented fiends and demonic forces are about to converge on the multiplex, but it’s not your immortal soul they’re after. It’s your hard-earned dollars. Horror films are dominating the release schedule in 2009 — almost certainly, event […]