The 8 Best Wes Craven Movies

The legendary Wes Craven passed away last year on August 30th, 2015, leaving multiple generations of people mourning his loss and his amazing career. Craven’s first feature film was The Last House on the Left (1972), which he wrote, directed, and edited. From then on he would make some of the most iconic horror movies ever made. He became not only was a director but a producer of many other horror movies, helping others get their careers off the ground with movies such as Wishmaster (1997) and Carnival of Souls (1998).


Wes Craven may be gone, but he will live on in the hearts of his fans as they continue to reminisce his creepy stories. Here is a list of the best 8 Wes Craven movies that never grow old; ones that are very dear to our hearts.

Cursed (2005)

Although not the most popular one of his movies, it has become a fan favorite and has the audiences questioning if being a werewolf would be all that bad.

Two siblings are attacked by a beast in the woods after losing control of their car. Unsure of what the beast was, they try to move on with their lives like nothing happened. However, day by day changes with both sister and brother begin to happen, inside and out, making them more appealing to other people and heightening their abilities. These new changes have them wondering; could the attack be from a werewolf? And what they will do on the next full moon? Fun Fact: Some props of Freddy Krueger and the Elm Street house can be seen in the background at Tinseltown during the first scene – I love when movies do this!

The Serpent and the Rainbow  (1988)

This is such a bizarre movie. It made me never want to travel to Haiti… ever.

An anthropologist (Bill Pullman) goes to Haiti after hearing rumors about a drug used by people who practice in black magic that turns people into zombies. He wants to find out if there is any truth to it. However, this experience quickly turns into a horror story he never anticipated happening. Bill Pullman bravely acted alongside a jaguar, a viper and a tarantula during certain scenes in the film, but luckily they were all raised in captivity.

The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

As if being viciously murdered isn’t bad enough, add in the fact of the attackers being mutant-like creatures and the nightmare takes on a whole different level.

Not only directed by Wes Craven but written by him as well, The Hills Have Eyes tells the story of a family whose car breaks down in the middle of the desert and they then become victims of a group of murderous mutants. This movie originally had an X-rating, but they cut the film enough to make it an R-rating so that it would do better at the box office.

The Last House on the Left (1972)

This is one of Wes Craven’s most controversial films including being censored and banned in some countries.

This movie is an American exploitation-horror film and as mentioned before it was Wes Craven’s first feature film, being written, edited, and directed by him. It tells the story of two teenage girls who are on their way to a concert but decide to try to score some marijuana first and in the process find themselves hostages of a murderous group of sadistic assholes who brutally torture them. Just like The Hills Have Eyes, this movie started with an X-rating, but was cut down to an R. The film is still censored and banned in many areas. Wes Craven also used one of the killers names in this brutal movie, Krug, later for the villain in A Nightmare on Elm Street…Freddy KRUEGer; in both movies the name was used for teenage murders.

Shocker (1989)

“Well, what are you waiting for, dickhead? You wanna fry me, then get it over with you bunch of fuckin’ insects!” Ooooh, you just got to love Horace Pinker!

This is one of my favorite Wes Craven movies, a total 80’s cheesy horror fest, and it wouldn’t be the same without the character of Horace Pinker (Mitch Pileggi). After being sent to the electric chair, a serial killer uses electricity to come back from the dead to carry out vengeance on the person who turned him into the police. He remains crude and rude in his normal fashion even in his last moments. Although a great movie, it did not receive great reviews at the box office and therefore, the plan to make it into a franchise plummeted.

Scream (1996)

And this is where we are introduced to one of Wes Craven’s 2nd most popular horror icon, Ghostface!

This is a super fun slasher movie where teenagers are getting killed off, Wes Craven’s typical agenda, by an unknown masked killer(s). In popular fashion, there is a strong woman lead like in other past horror movies and franchises. Not only does Scream have a fun story with charismatic characters, it also recognizes other legendary horror movies throughout the scenes and lays down the fundamental rules of how to survive a horror movie… too bad the characters didn’t take their own advice!

The People Under the Stairs (1991)

Not your average family… not your average anything. Guess you can’t beat the bond between brother and sister?

This is one of Wes Craven’s most unique stories. Mommy and Daddy, the brother and sister who are landlords of several apartment complexes, are evicting a boy and his family due to past due rent. But when the boy and his friends go inside their house to discover the truth about the bizarre family, they run into way more than they bargained for. Not only are the brother and sister lovers, they have a basement full of captured children who look like vampires, a “daughter” named Alice who they torture, and a boy named Roach who lives in the walls. Saving their apartment has taken the back burner as they try to reveal the family for who they are and escape the house with their limbs intact! The tape recorder playing in the movie is a skewed version of “Now I Lay Thee Down To Sleep,” which is a nod to several of Wes Craven’s movies including A Nightmare on Elm Street when Nancy says the prayer before entering the dream world and facing off with Freddy. The prayer is also spoken in The House on the Left, and the name of one of his last movies, My Soul to Take (2010), is directly taken from the ending of that prayer.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

“One, two, Freddy is coming for you…”

And finally, one of the most popular movies of Wes Craven’s career and the first movie in his biggest franchise, A Nightmare on Elm Street. As everyone already knows, this movie tells the story of Freddy Krueger and his revenge on the teenagers of Elm Street through their nightmares. Freddy Krueger is among the most legendary of killer horror icons. His unique look and witty humor never grows old among fans. Craven wanted a killer that could communicate with his victims and wanted him to stand out amongst the masked killers who were also popular during this time: Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. In the original script, Freddy Krueger was written as a child molester, but due to the content and recent child exploitation’s at the time of the movie, Craven rewrote it. Hints of his pervy charm, however, are still evident throughout the movie and franchise.


And that wraps up the list of beloved stories brought to us by a true horror legend, Wes Craven. He will always be remembered by his impact on the horror world and if you’re ever feeling nostalgic, just a pick a movie from this list and head down memory lane.

Horror films don’t create fear. They release it.

  • Wes Craven.

About Tori Danielle

Tori has had a passion for Horror and music ever since she was a little girl. She got bit by the writing bug in high school where she was involved in both the school newspaper and the yearbook. While getting her Bachelors degree, she took Journalism and Creative Writing classes where her passion grew even stronger. Now, in between work and family, she spends all of her spare time indulging in music, Horror movies, and nerdy fandoms, all while running/assisting one of the biggest Horror groups on Facebook and writing for various websites.

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