Sunday, August 1, 2010

August 2

Today's the birthday of Wes Craven, and if you pay attention to movies, you probably know his name already: as a film director and writer, he's shaped the American horror film for decades, from 1972's The Last House on the Left, to the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and the Scream series. Today, we're going to take a look at his excursions beyond the horror genre.

1982's "Swamp Thing" was his comic book movie, his attempt to show that he could handle action films, big stunts, and big-name actors (the film starred Adrienne Barbeau, Louis Jordan, and Ray Wise. The film garnered enough of a cult reputation to inspire a sequel and a popular TV series.

At one point, Craven was signed to direct "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace". Those legendary "creative differences" (with star - and eventual director - Christopher Reeve) got Craven replaced.

How did Wes Craven end up directing the Meryl Streep movie "Music of the Heart"? He demanded it. In fact, he only agreed to direct a third Scream movie if he got to direct "Music". At the time, Madonna was attached to the biopic about a music teacher in New York that was saving the world one violin at a time. Madonna and Craven had "creative differences", but Craven got to stay in his chair this time.

The film would end up nominated for two Oscars. Critics spoke well of Craven's directing, surprised by his understated handling of the film's melodrama.

"Vampire in Brooklyn" should have worked. Craven and Eddie Murphy wanted to work together; Murphy wanted something darker than his typical urban comedies, and Craven knew how to inject humor into his macabre movies. And "Brooklyn" has real-deal horror fx, plus Eddie Murphy in multiple roles; it's got the two great tastes...

...that taste kind of off. Was Murphy trying too hard to be a leading man(is it a coincidence that he got the gothic mullet look, ala Tom Cruise's Lestat one year prior?) or was he leaning too much on his comedic timing? Was Craven trying too hard to make a comedy, or did he just lose control of the film? "Brooklyn" has its fans, but most people call it an Eddie Murphy film...

Finally, we feature Craven's contribution to the motion picture menagerie known as 'Paris Je T'aime'. As befitting the theme, it's a short romantic comedy about love in Paris, and the most supernatural element is Oscar Wilde.

Apparently, this was Craven's concession to his reputation as a horrormeister. (BTW, "Paris Je T'aime" is a warm and fuzzy film, but the chapter before Craven's has a hot and savage vampiress versus Elijah Wood... so everybody's happy!)

No comments:

Post a Comment