Let's talk Wes Craven.
I happen to like Craven's work. He approached horror from a vastly different standpoint than most studio-driven fare. He was akin to a filmmaker like George A. Romero or David Cronenberg, who used horror as a mode of commentary.
It often makes his output frustrating. Incredible ideas bubble beneath his movies, yet in many cases his movies are marred either by overacting or studio interference. This is true of even an acknowledged classic like The Serpent and the Rainbow and the underrated Shocker.
With all of that out of the way, I love A Nightmare on Elm Street. It's a slasher a movie, but when I saw it at sixteen, I was blown away by the fact that a supernatural element drives it. And the concept is remarkable. There's very little more terrifying than having a dream you cannot escape; when a psychopath threatens to kill you in your own dreams, it becomes even more so.
The dream sequences themselves possess a surreal quality, adding an otherworldly feel that often was lacking in horror. Nearly forty years later, A Nightmare on Elm Street has lost none of its ability to scare. It remains one of my all-time favorites.
Do you have a favorite Wes Craven movie? Let me know in the comments.
Derek Austin Johnson has lived most of his life in the Lone Star State. A member of the Turkey City Writer's Workshop, his work has appeared in The Horror Zine, Tell-Tale Press, Skull Fragments: A Skelos Sampler, Rick Klaw's Rayguns Over Texas!, Nova Express, Moving Pictures, Her Majesty's Secret Servant, and Revolution SF. His film column "Watching the Future" appeared each month at Hugo Award-winning SF Signal.
He lives in Central Texas.