Life After Wes: The 5 Most Influential Films by Wes Craven

In memory of the iconic thrasher-thriller director

Last night, we learned of the death of the iconic film director Wes Craven. In some way or another you’ve probably screamed, flinched, or felt that cold-shiver down your back thanks to this man. Wes Craven was a monumental writer and director, most commonly recognized for revolutionizing the thrasher-thriller horror genre. Sure it’s a bit sadistic, but thank you Wes Craven for your years of making us terrified.

In honor of his memory, take a look back at his 5 most influential films:

Nightmare on Elm Street

Wes Craven wrote and directed presumably one of the most influential and iconic horror flicks in this 1984 slasher film. Nightmare on Elm Street featured Freddy Kruger, a deformed psycho-killer who stalked and murdered teenagers in their nightmares, killing them in real life. Though it spawned a bunch of sequels over the years, only the original starred Johnny Depp before he was a huge celeb.


By the mid-90s, Slasher films were more popular than frosted tips. That’s why Wes, who partially was to blame for the onslaught of crappy off-brand sequels and remakes that his response was to satire the whole genre with Scream. Popularizing the Scream mask for Halloweens to come, the masked killer did his work a different way: through the use of a telephone. It’s somehow witty, scary and packed with 90s pop culture jokes. Honesty we’d be shocked if you were born in the 90s and haven’t seen this.

Music of the Heart

A different pace from his gory, blood-soaked thrillers, Music of the Heart was Wes Craven’s successful attempt at a dramatic film. Starring Meryl Streep as a Brooklyn violin teacher, the film centered around her work building up an arts program at a New York junior school. Craven’s usual screams were replaced by tears in this heart-wrenching story.

The Hills Have Eyes

No, not the crappy 2006 re-make, the original Wes Craven film was a twisted story about a family who are stalked and murdered by a bunch of cannibal mutants from the hills. While there were many spin-offs and sequels that came after, the original is still your best bet.

The Last House On The Left

When you have to advertise a film with “To avoid fainting keep repeating: it’s only a movie”, you know it’s going to be absolutely terrifying. The telling of a story about two girls who are kidnapped and tortured in the woods, wasn’t something most people in 1972 were ready for. Hence why it was banned from the UK on its initial release.