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Never Sleep Again: iHorror’s Memories of Wes Craven

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As we’re sure (and saddened) you have heard by now, Wes Craven passed from brain cancer yesterday aged 76.

For a generation and beyond, Craven’s films were delightful nightmare fuel that left us not only sleeping with the lights on, but grateful to be doing so.

The horror giant was the catalyst for many memories, and we at iHorror felt compelled to share some of our personal recollections with you as an homage to the man who brought us A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, The Hills Have Eyes, Last House on the Left and so much more.

Craven trophyPaul Alosio

I remember seeing the original A Nightmare on Elm Street and not being horrified, but instead intrigued by Johnny Depp’s death scene. It looked so amazing and out of this world to me that I just needed to know how Craven and the crew did it. It laid the foundation for what I now feel is at the core of my horror obsession: Human ingenuity.

There’s more to a film that just blood and guts, they come from one person’s brain and then, through numerous tricks and effects, come to life on screen. It was Wes Craven’s imagination that helped bring everything to life for me.

Jonathan Correia

For me, Wes Craven was one of the guys who not only influenced what I watched, but also my love for making films.

Craven approached his movies with a fuck-you-attitude which began when he with stole an “R” rating for Last House on the Left and continued throughout his career, which subsequently allowed him to change the genre multiple times.

Craven’s work also had a profound effect on me growing up. When I was a child I suffered from sleep paralysis and would wake up most nights screaming. Being in a Catholic school at the time, I was told they were demons coming to take me to hell. It terrified me because there was nothing I could do about it. Until I watched A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Here was this terrifying, nightmare demon who scared these kids like I was, and they fought back! They ultimately didn’t defeat him, but still, they fought back. Oddly enough, Nightmare helped me with my own nightmares.

I will always be thankful for the terror and humor Craven’s work brought into my life. RIP.

James Jay Edwards

I never met Wes Craven, so all of my memories of him are purely from his films. The one that sticks out in my mind is opening night for Scream 2.

For the first half of the nineties, the horror genre had been fairly stagnant, but the first Scream was able to twist that fact and use it in its own favor, mocking the tropes and stereotypes that had become commonplace. I knew Scream had been a hit, but I had no idea that it had resonated with so many people until that sequel was released, when opening night for Scream 2 was like the Super Bowl.

There was an energy and electricity in the crowd that I had never seen before or since. The audience was a lot like the one in the first scene of the movie — loud, playful and rambunctious. The theater even had an employee dressed as Ghostface stalking up and down the aisles, looking for hapless people to scare.

Once the movie started, everyone quieted down, but at that point I knew the horror genre was on the upswing, because those people were excited. It was all the more impressive that the hoopla was for a sequel, because to quote Randy Meeks “Sequels suck…by definition alone, sequels are inferior films!”

Wes Craven may not have singlehandedly saved horror in the nineties, but he and his Scream movies sure gave it a hefty boost.

Wes Craven poses for a portrait in Los AngelesLandon Evanson

Scream was not only a fantastic film, it just made it seem as though what Billy and Stu were doing was, for lack of a better term, fun. How many phone calls were made across the country (and the world) with the sole intent of freaking people out around the time that film was released? I know I was one of them, and that’s the memory I cling to.

My sister was babysitting for my aunt one night, so like any responsible brother, I used that as an excuse to traumatize her. My aunt’s house had a garage which you could climb onto, and with the house just a step away, it provided the opportunity to have some fun at the expense of a sibling. Some phone calls were made, just breathing at first, but messages slowly began seeping through. “What are you up to?” “Are you alone” “Have you checked on the kids?” We had snuck outside the house to peer through the windows and gleefully watched her sense of security wane, and that’s when it was time to take a brief walk on top of the house.

Taps on the windows and more phone calls followed, and at one point we were all hunkered down in the back as a neighbor came out to take his garbage. He was startled by our presence, but with a simple “I’m messing with my sister,” he chuckled and headed back into the house. Talk about neighborhood watch.

About the time she was calling people in tears, we took that as our cue to exit stage left before the cops showed up.

I waited till she was home for the night to let her know it was me and some buddies, for which I took a bit of a beating, but it was worth it. She swore she’d get me back, but my laughter only allowed for a “Good luck topping that!” A year later, some Mormons stopped by to tell me about the book of Jesus Christ for Latter-Day Saints because “your sister said you were interested in learning more.” So, turns out I was wrong. But it was all inspired by a film, yet another Wes Craven film that simply made you want to be a part of that world. And I will never forget it.

Patti Pauley

I remember the first time I saw A Nightmare on Elm Street. I was really young (like six or seven) and it scared the piss out of me. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen, so dark and the music shook me up.

Later in life, seeing films like The People Under the Stairs and New Nightmare, you really see this man who created these films was something more than a horror director, he was a legend. If you can’t see his passion through his films (in which case you’re blind), you could definitely see it in his eyes when he talked about it in the Never Sleep Again documentary. Craven almost teared up at one point talking about New Nightmare.

It’s a beautiful moment with a beautiful man. This world really lost something special, but his memory will live on through his art in films.

Craven glove finalTimothy Rawles

My first memory of Wes Craven was when I was five-years old. I was fascinated by theater marquees and how the “black” spaces in between the lights seemed to travel around the perimeter of the sign. Within those traveling lights, as my dad would drive through the city in 1972, I remember seeing the words Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left. I was first amazed that a person could have so many “Ws” and “Vs” in their name, but the intrigue of the movie’s title always fascinated me.

At that time, I thought the film was about a haunted house and that was incredibly beguiling to me. Eventually in the VHS boom of the mid-eighties, around the time of A Nightmare on Elm Street’s theatrical run, I finally go to see Last House and discovered it wasn’t about a haunted house, but things much worse. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen, it was a movie like no other and I wondered if what I was watching was real.

Later, I discovered a little “big” book called Video Movie Guide by Mick Martin and Marsha Porter (the IMDB of its time), and I quickly looked up Craven’s name and discovered he had done other films — The Hills Have Eyes and to my surprise Swamp Thing! From then on, after Nightmare, I looked forward to every Wes Craven movie that came out and I would stand in line with my high school friends to watch his latest offering.

My love of horror can be traced back to that weird marquee with the hypnotic, moving lights and the man with the funny name. And I have been mesmerized by his work ever since.

Michele Zwolinski

I was working an office job which I truly, truly hated, and to make the day slightly more tolerable I downloaded movies onto my phone and would listen to them with ears buds while I worked.

For three weeks straight, I listened to all four Scream movies back-to-back because it worked out perfectly for the length of my day.

Doesn’t sound like much, but that job literally had me crying every day that I was there, it was horrible. Scream made it less God-awful and gave me something to smile about.

You’ve gotten a sense of our memories, so please feel free to take a few moments and provide us with what made Wes Craven special to you in the comments section below.

 

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Barbara Crampton Joins ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ in Latest DLC

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Gun has been knocking it out of the park recently with their massively successful Texas Chainsaw Massacre game. And now horror fans have something else to be excited about. The horror legend herself, Barbara Crampton (From Beyond) will be making an appearance in the game’s newest DLC.

Barbara has told Fangoria that she will be added in the game as a new mom character. Fans of Gun’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre game have already applauded the company for their fan service and their ability to respond to fans and keep the game updated with new features. This just shows how much the company truly understands horror fans.

Turns out, Barbara Crampton is a huge Texas Chainsaw Massacre fan from way back. In an Instagram post, she had the following to say: “probably my favorite movie of all time is The Texas Chain Saw Massacre… I was 22 and I couldn’t finish it.”

Not only that, but she is also friends with the amazing Gunnar Hansen (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre). Here is what she had to say about him: “My favorite character is Gunnar Hansen as Leatherface… He sat right next to me at my first convention and helped me… we became good friends after that.”

Barbara Crampton in Re-Animator (1985)

So not only do we have horror royalty joining the game, but Barbara Crampton is also friends with the OG Leatherface as well as being a lifelong fan. Hopefully, this will spell success for the game’s upcoming DLC. Not that it was unlikely to be a hit with horror fans in the first place. Gun has a proven track record of delivering just what fans are hoping for.

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‘Tales from the Crypt’ Publisher, EC Comics is Being Brought Back to Life at Oni Comics

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Tales From

After seventy years of being shut down, the iconic EC Comics is coming back by way of Oni Comics. Originally founded as an educational comics brand, it would later become a publisher known for its horror comics and tales to keep you up late at night. William Gaines lead the way and during his time we were gifted with a run of comics such as Tales From the Crypt, The Haunt of Fear, The Vault of Horror, and of course Weird Science among others. Founded in 1944 and running to 1956 it was eventually shut down due to claims that comic books were affecting the minds of our adolescents. After reaching Congress the issue was large enough to take down the small comics publisher.

Crypt
Original Cover art for EC Comics Tales From the Crypt.

Of course, later on, HBO would take Tales From the Crypt and reboot it for television with a whole new generation. However, for comic collectors, it was up to either visiting select digital archives online or purchasing old issues by way of auction. It is exciting to hear that Oni Comics is going to bring EC Comics back to life.

“EC Comics is one of the most artistically important and culturally significant publishers of all time. In ways both artful and shocking, EC confronted the darkness lurking behind the thin facade of American society — a throughline of radically confrontational storytelling that we intend to both uphold and escalate with the first new EC tales in decades. We’re challenging ourselves to evolve EC’s relentless energy and fearless sensibilities in ways never before attempted. These are intense comics for our intense times.“ Oni Comics Publisher, Hunter Gorinson said.

Tales
Cover art from EC Comics Tales From the Crypt.

The first two comics under the new partnership are two new anthology titles that both lend themselves to the flair of their classics. First up Epitaphs from the Abyss followed by Cruel Universe. You can check out the cover for Cruel Universe at the bottom of the page.

Although the partnership is said to not be about nostalgia, we are still hoping that following some of these new titles we do get a special revisit for Tales from the Crypt or one of the other classics.

Epitaphs From the Abyss is due out in stores beginning this July. Cruel Universe is set to arrive in August.

What do you think about the Oni Comics bringing back EC Comics? Let us know in the comments section.

EC
Cover for EC Comics upcoming title.

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Images and a Poster Have Arrived For Eli Roth’s ‘Borderlands’

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Borderlands

Eli Roth’s Borderlands is well on its way to a theater near you. The Gearbox Software game adaptation looks to take its characters, costumes, and the world of Pandora right from the game. So, that is a good sign. However, we are still on the fence with this one. We will have a better idea of what to expect when a trailer drops tomorrow. Today we have our first look at some images from the film along with a hyper-neon fun poster.

Borderlands
Photo: Cate Blanchett as Lilith in Borderlands. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lionsgate.

The synopsis for Borderlands goes like this:

Lilith (Blanchett), an infamous outlaw with a mysterious past, reluctantly returns to her home planet of Pandora to find the missing daughter of the universe’s most powerful S.O.B., Atlas (Ramirez). Lilith forms an alliance with an unexpected team – Roland (Hart), a former elite mercenary, now desperate for redemption; Tiny Tina (Greenblatt), a feral pre-teen demolitionist; Krieg (Munteanu), Tina’s musclebound, rhetorically challenged protector; Tannis (Curtis), the scientist with a tenuous grip on sanity; and Claptrap (Black), a persistently wiseass robot. These unlikely heroes must battle alien monsters and dangerous bandits to find and protect the missing girl, who may hold the key to unimaginable power. The fate of the universe could be in their hands – but they’ll be fighting for something more: each other.

Borderlands stars Cate Blanchett, Kevin Hart, Edgar Ramirez, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ariana Greenblatt, Florian Munteanu, Haley Bennett, Olivier Richters, Gina Gershon, Cheyenne Jackson, Charles Babalola, Benjamin Byron Davis, Steven Boyer, Bobby Lee, Ryann Redmond, Penn Jillette, and Janina Gavankar, and Jack Black.

Borderlands

Borderlands arrives in theaters beginning August 9. Are you excited about this one? Let us know in the comments section.

Borderlands

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