On August 2nd, 1939, a baby named Wesley Earl Craven was born in a Cleveland hospital. With a name like that, his predetermined career and life-options were:
- Assassinate a president.
- Become a notoriously corrupt prison warden in the South.
- Write horror paperbacks using his full name for his penname.
- Shorten the first name to Wes, scratch the middle name and create horror movies.
Obviously going with the last option, Craven’s creations range from seminal to regrettable, classic to clumsy, Elm Street to Vampire in Brooklyn. It’s a testament to how great his best output is, then, that his missteps don’t jump to mind when thinking of him. His worst works are less than defensible than, say, the worst of John Carpenter, but people generally and rightly forget about Deadly Blessing, and don’t hold Vampire in Brooklyn, My Soul to Take or The Hills Have Eyes II against him, because this is the guy that gave us Freddy Krueger, Scream, the first Hills Have Eyes, Last House, and even the semi-underrated Red Eye. Craven was the power-hitter whose towering walk-off home run could erase memories of the four strikeouts he suffered earlier. His best was more than worth the dregs.