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Wes Craven: The Man and his Nightmares

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  202 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The life and film genius of A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream director Wes Craven

Wes Craven is one of the most successful and iconic horror movie directors in Hollywood. His masterful examination of the nightmarish nexus of dreams and reality helped spark a career that has spanned close to forty years. Then, with their mix of horror, sex, and humor, Craven's Scream movi

Paperback, 272 pages
Published (first published February 2nd 2011)
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Brian Joynt
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nice, simple bio for Wes, centered around his filmmaking career and the various inspirations that brought particular ideas out of the dark and into the theaters. There's not a lot of depth here, but it's an enjoyable recap for fans of the late master. John Kenneth Muir was quoted a lot, which has roused my interest in his book on Craven. I've read other film critique from Muir; he's a true horror archivist and a definitive scholar of the medium. ...more
Ethan Bayes
An interesting, if somewhat basic, look into the life and career of one of the best horror directors to have ever lived. It’s interesting seeing how he fell into it but also how he embraced and redefined it.
Oct 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the deepest of dives.
Horror DNA
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chris-shamburger
In his biography, Wes Craven: The Man and His Nightmares, writer and frequent Fangoria contributor John Wooley explores the roots of Craven's career condemnation. Much of the book has been written around a single interview between Wooley and Craven (early attention is given to Craven's overly religious childhood and, at one point, Craven compares Baptists to vacuum salesmen). But a majority of the book has horror fans in mind and focuses on Craven's work as a filmmaker, a career spanning nearly ...more
May 16, 2022 rated it really liked it
Not as deep of a dive like I thought it would be nor was a lot of the book filled with new facts/information to me except for his Evangelical upbringing which explains so much to me. His movies always felt like religion was the elephant in the room, like with Nightmare on Elm Street which I noticed a lot in the later films of the Elm Street franchise.

This man is deeply missed in the horror movie community. I’ll always be grateful for his work in both the horror and non horror movie world.
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this was a great book and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves any of Wes Craven's movies. It was really nice to learn more about him and was a really well written view into his life as a filmmaker. I especially appreciated the chapters on "A Nightmare on Elm Street." I'm also now watching "Invitation to Hell" (1984) thanks to this book. ...more
Angie Wallace
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Freddy was my first horror movie...I fell in love with him, Wes, and the genre as soon as I saw him. This book gives you insight into the movies that craven made and the process it took to make them. There is some interesting information about how he grew up and how he finally broke into the industry. I highly recommend this if you're a horror fan! ...more
Aug 04, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Garbage - not recommended
Feb 08, 2022 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars. Read in February 2022.
Nov 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: collection, paperback
"I've always admired his career. I've always admired Wes's intelligence. He's sort of the professor of horror." - Tony Timpone

Those words reflect my feelings about Wes Craven.

The year was 2011. Scream 4 had just been released. Imagine how excited little 10-year-old Christian was. He was so excited to go see it. Unfortunately, his parents wouldn't let him see it. Imagine the feeling Christian got when he received the film on DVD that Christmas. The smile lighting up his face, the joy he felt.
Feb 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wes Craven is my favourite director of all time! Not just in the horror genre, but all 'round. His movies terrified me when I was very young, especially Scream which is now my favourite movie. Many movie fans if asked "who's your favourite director" would probably say the likes of Steven Spielberg or James Cameron, but not me. Craven has an edginess in his films and he likes to take them a step further. His first movie in which he wrote, directed and edited - The Last House on the Left - is a gr ...more
Scott Johnson
May 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Chances are, if you're reading this site, you know who Wes Craven is. If you don't, you've probably stumbled onto this site by mistake. Either way, the man responsible for bringing Freddy Krueger and the Ghost-Face killer to the big screen is the subject of a new biography by John Wooley, Wes Craven: The Man and His Nightmares.

Starting from Craven's childhood in a rabidly fundamentalist Christian household, Wooley traces his career from his earliest days as a messenger and director of skin flick
Alex G
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was an interesting read on Wes Cravens life and reasoning behind his most horrific films. I remember watching "The Last House on the Left" and wondering what sparked the idea to create a completely new take on a horror film. Interestingly, Craven was handed the film and hired as the director, but he made it into an outstanding piece of work, despite it's adult/grotesque content. Everything in this film makes a point and causes us to question how far we would go to seek revenge in an em ...more
Shelby Lyons
Feb 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Although I enjoyed reading about Wes Craven (he is one of my all time favorite directors, and such an interesting human being), this biography was kind of flat. There was an slight focus on how his films were perceived, but I feel as though that aspect of it, being one of the core focuses of this book, simply skimmed the surface. I would have liked to see some analysis... something more, I suppose, on why his films were so impactful, other than the fact that he was depicting violence in a very r ...more
SB Senpai  Manga
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Plenty of interesting moments here, but this book could've went a lot deeper with Craven's life and filmography. It felt as if I was reading an extremely long magazine article instead of a biography, not to mention it did tend to dwell too much on Craven's lesser known films and barely touched on the ones that he's most known for. If you want to know more of Craven's smaller films, then you might like it. But if you want to know the intimate details of Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, you're ...more
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, audio
The description says that the book covers Craven's life and his movies. This is sort of true. Readers should know going in that this is NOT a biography of Wes Craven. The bulk of the book discusses Craven's creative endeavors and those aspects of his life which affected or were affected by them.

That being said, this is a great book for those who want an examination of the man and the films/TV shows/etc. that he created. It delves into each film and how these movies changed Hollywood (or the grin
Jackson Highfill
Jun 13, 2011 rated it liked it
This book tells the story of infamous director Wes craven. You may know him for directing movies such as nightmare on elm street , last house on the left and the hills have eyes. I enjoyed this book because I don't read too much non fiction. In this book Wes talks about growing up in a strict religious family in Cleveland and how he got interested in film and made such controversial films like last house on the left. I would suggest reading this book mostly to fans of Wes craven films. ...more
Aug 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: movies-horror
A good overview of Wes Craven's career, containing some information that I had not been aware of, particularly in the area of projects that never came to fruition. As a Craven fan, I did wish for more detail and more depth, but overall this hits the main events and is a good overview. The writing is very simple and straightforward, perhaps overly so on occasion. This did make me wish for a Wes Craven autobiography at some point. ...more
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This man is one of my heroes. Hell, he's one of the people who got me interested in film. So, I'm always willing to learn more about the man. This biography offers a lot of both parallel industry information, personal information, and professional information that helps put Wes Craven's work into a clear and cohesive context. ...more
Oliver Clarke
Feb 27, 2016 rated it liked it
This isn't loaded with jaw dropping insights. It has a bit less biography than I would have liked and the film criticism, while solid, isn't groundbreaking; but it's still and entertaining and interesting read for fans of Craven or the horror genre. ...more
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite directors. The Nightmare on Elm Street series is my all time favorite horror series. I loved learning about his life and career while learning where he got ideas for his film. The man is a gem.
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dive into the creator of Krueger!!

A very insightful glimpse into the world of Freddy's creator... I loved it!! If you are a true Craven, Freddy, or horror movie fan, this is a must read!!
E. T. Brother
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Good book, very interesting, Wes was the man.
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting view into a horror master’s life
Matt Jex
Last house on the left still makes me gag
Theresa Chapman
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wes Craven was who gave me my love for horror. Getting to read and learn where many of my favorite movies came from, is a great insight to the master of his mind.
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
More lightweight than I was expecting, which was a pleasant surprise. Having not known much of Mr. Craven's career, it was an insightful look into the mind of the man. ...more
Jens Hollander
rated it really liked it
Feb 20, 2022
Shadow Wolf
rated it really liked it
Nov 04, 2018
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