INT: Wes Craven

When meeting a risk taker as prominent as Wes Craven, you don’t know quite what to expect especially when his name resonates fear and evokes memories of horrific images. Having single handedly invented and redefined the horror genre with his first film back in 1972, THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT marked the beginning of a long line of horror flicks, establishing him as the horror guru, hence making his name synonymous with the genre.

The writer-director-producer can proudly claim responsibility for provoking frightful nightmares and instilling artificial fears into millions worldwide. I personally have very fond childhood memories of a toasted Freddy Krueger paying me occasional visits throughout the night. Tag-teaming with his son Jonathan, the talented Craven returns to his roots to scare the living daylights out of thrill seekers yet again with his upcoming remake-sequel, THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2.

Unlike the original 1985 Hills 2, the updated remake is based on a group of brave National Guard trainees sent on a journey for a routine mission into the desert. Unaware that they are trespassing cursed mutant territory, they soon find themselves in a terrifying combat to save their lives against a vicious group of cannibalistic mutants freaks. If the first petrifying experience had you screaming mommy, then I suggest you mentally prepare yourselves for a whole new level of blood, guts and gore.

If you thought the content couldn’t possibly be more disturbing, think again. The Cravens have doubled up their intellects to put their vivid imaginations to work and produce bloody magic. What’s harder to digest is that this type of shocking repulsion can brew in the mind of a seemingly kind and pleasant gentleman. Wes Craven was ever so gracious when I had the pleasure of meeting him for an exclusive one-on-one last weekend at the NY Comic Con (unfortunately, I only had 5 minutes with him, so forgive the shortness of the interview). Check out what he had to say about penning horrors, Hills 2, Elm Street and The Last House on the Left.

Wes Craven

How did you become such a big horror director and why horror?

Originally I quit my job as a teacher and had gone to NY. I had about a year under my belt just learning the basics of how to make a movie because I had never gone to film school or anything and I ran into somebody who had been giving $90,000 to make a scary movie and he said ‘why don’t you write me something scary and if they like it, then you can direct it.’ That’s as informal as it was and as chance as it was. So I wrote Last House on the Left and obviously the backers liked it and so I went off and shot it and suddenly I was a horror film director. But I’ve always felt like if somebody said ‘we have guys with some money and they want you to write a funny film,’ I would have written a funny film or historic film or whatever.

It was a complete fluke?

Yeah, total fluke. I had never grown up watching horror films or anything like that so it was just one of those [things]. In philosophy we used to say “sui generis” it just comes from itself. And then once I made it, one of the more difficult things about the horror genre especially in those times if you make a horror film, they think ‘ok this guy is really sick, and that’s what his whole life is about and he wants to live in a cave and he probably kills people on weekends.’ So you don’t get offered other things.

So it was a matter of ok, am I not going to just not make another film until I can make a comedy or do I make another film and make it as good as I can. So it turned out to be a long series of horror films but each time I felt like it was an understanding that yeah it’s a genre film, but you can make it as good as you want or you can make it as original as you want. So when I started thinking that way, then you get a film like Nightmare on Elm Street , which a lot of people when they first read said ‘this is not going to be scary, I’ve never seen anything like it’. But that turned out to be the very thing that was good. It took people to a new place.

Speaking of which, has there been any talk about your return to Elm Street ?

Honestly I haven’t heard but I wouldn’t be surprised that New Line might be thinking of that. Sometimes these things take a while to filter through the studios that actually own the properties because when I wrote the original script it was just purchased by the studio. It was part of the deal to make the movie so New Line has always owned the rights to that. I came back and worked on the script for three and came back and obviously did the ten-year anniversary New Nightmare. All that stuff with Freddy vs. Jason was done by New Line cinema because they basically own the property.

Have there been any new developments on your upcoming remake of The Last House on the Left?

No, it’s still early. It turned out to be a complicated legal thing to get all the rights cleared up and who owned what about it. It had been owned by several studios and entities whatever. So it took almost a year to get it straightened out and that has been completed only recently. And we’ve been very involved with this film so right now it’s a matter of ok, we’ve got the legalities and we’re just about done with Hills 2. So we’re having the meetings to start the process for The Last House which is starting to look at movies for directors, starting to read scripts for a writer.

Talk about some of the similarities and differences between this Hills 2 and the one from 1985, and on collaborating with your son Jonathan.

I guess the most similar thing is that it’s about a group of people that are not a family. The group of people that are all the same age and same kind of generation I guess. But beyond that it’s quite different. I mean these are people that are half way through training with the National Guard and obviously are going to enter a life or death world so in that sense it’s a lot different than a bunch of people doing motorcycle racing. It’s much more hard edge than the other sequel.

Will it be a lot more gruesome?

Yeah, it’s much more gruesome and it’s very unusual. The things that happen to people [in this movie] are very unusual. So I think people will talk about it because there will be things in it that people have never seen before. Part of that came out of working with my son because he has a wild imagination of his own. So it’s almost like the old Wes Craven and the young version of Wes Carven. Even though Jonathan is his own guy, he also has a very great imagination, wicked wit and all of that.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

I guess not (laughs). I think also Jonathan can be writing comedy or anything else too abut this is something where I went to him and said we had to write this script and we have to do it fast. I can’t do it by myself so would you like to co-write this thing and do it in a month. He was up for it and off we went.

What is your all time favorite horror movie?

Hmmmm, I think The Hills Have Eyes 2 - the 2007 version is really fantastic!

Source: JoBlo.comAITH

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