DEC. 7-12, 2001

American Cinematheque Presents...

Merchant of Dreams: A Tribute to Wes Craven In-Person!

We’re very excited to welcome director Wes Craven to the Egyptian Theatre for the first major Los Angeles retrospective of his films!

Wes Craven, Collin Fowler/ WES CRAVEN FILMS; Lisa Oropeza / NEW LINE CINEMA; John Kirk, Irene Ramos / MGM/UA; Janet Hill / MIRAMAX; Elizabeth Clark / DIMENSION FILMS; Lisa Finnegan / HEARST ENTERTAINMENT; Paul Ginsburg / UNIVERSAL; Anthony Timpson

Series compiled by Dennis Bartok, Chris D. and Gwen Deglise.

Program Notes: Chris D.

Tickets available 30 days in advance.

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Director Wes Craven (the SCREAM trilogy; creator of NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET) will appear in-person for the American Cinematheque’s presentation of MERCHANT OF DREAMS: A TRIBUTE TO WES CRAVEN (Dec. 7 - 12, 2001), the first major Los Angeles retrospective of his films. Audiences will have the opportunity to be chilled by Craven’s work of the past four decades – from his 1972 directorial debut (LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT) through his recent work on the phenomenally successful SCREAM trilogy, plus Craven’s beautifully crafted departure into adult drama, the critically acclaimed MUSIC OF THE HEART (which proved that his full range as a director has yet to be tapped). Not only does he have the innate ability to tell a ripping good yarn, he’s also on intimate terms with the nether regions from whence our primal fears spring -- whether it’s a world totally reverting to barbaric savagery, a long-buried evil assuming supernatural form, or just the average individual’s sense of powerlessness in a seemingly cruel universe.

Watching director Wes Craven’s films you might guess he hailed from an educated background. You’d never know, though, that this movie buff who got his break in 1972 when FRIDAY THE 13th creator Sean Cunningham offered to let him write and direct a horror film (LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT) started out as a humanities professor. But Wes Craven is also blessed with the instincts of a carnival showman: he possesses an unerring sense of what scares people. All films directed by Wes Craven.

 

Friday, December 7 – 7:00 PM

Wes Craven & Heather Langenkamp In Person!!

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, 1984, New Line Cinema, 92 min. Wes Craven created one of his most famous movie milestones with this supremely entertaining horror opus, melding influences from Polanski to Bunuel to Argento to achieve a bizarrely subversive box office hit. NIGHTMARE… went on to become a certifiable goldmine of a franchise and ushered in surrealism to the masses. Dead child killer/dream demon Freddie Krueger (Robert Englund) proves a formidable homicidal anti-hero but finds a more than worthy opponent in feisty, brainy teen Heather Langenkamp. With Johnny Depp, John Saxon, Ronee Blakely. Discussion following with director Wes Craven & Heather Langenkamp.

 

Friday, December 7 – 9:30 PM

Double Feature!!

LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, 1972, MGM/UA, 83 min. Wes Craven’s directorial debut is an audacious, grueling and all-too-believable grindhouse remake of Ingmar Bergman’s VIRGIN SPRING. A pack of degenerate psycho killers led by the deliciously slimy David Hess unknowingly find a night’s lodging with one of their teen victim’s families, to their ultimately gory woe. Along with contemporaries George Romero and Tobe Hooper, Craven proved with LAST HOUSE… to be in the vanguard of a startlingly imaginative, high voltage rejuvenation of world horror cinema.

THE HILLS HAVE EYES, 1978, 89 min. A New York family on vacation in the California desert accidentally becomes stranded on a former A bomb test site and finds themselves doing battle with their doppleganger, a literally ‘nuclear’ family made up of outcast mutants! Ingenious, scary, witty and thrilling with a cast of largely unknown performers that makes the premise all the more disturbingly plausible. Director Craven’s second feature film was ample, certifiable proof that the new horror wunderkind was no flash-in-the-pan! With Robert Houston, Dee Wallace, Michael Berryman.

 

Saturday, December 8 – 5:00 PM

Wes Craven In Person!!

SCREAM, 1996, Miramax / Dimension, 110 min. Aided by Kevin Williamson’s canny screenplay, SCREAM sees Wes Craven reinvent the tired teens-in-peril slasher genre, adding in satirical high school soap opera ala Aaron Spelling and lovingly sending up masked maniac movie cliches. What’s amazing is he still manages to be faithful to the horror premise, a highwire act that never fails to deliver chills and thrills on a way-over-the-top funhouse fright ride. One of Craven’s most popular films and the first in another extremely successful scare franchise. With Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox. Discussion following with director Wes Craven.

 

Saturday, December 8 – 8:00 PM

Double Feature!!

SCREAM 2, 1997, Miramax / Dimension, 120 min. The bent reality of the first SCREAM is further twisted as the killings chronicled in reporter Gale Weathers’ (Courtney Cox) bestseller become a runaway hit horror picture. A new series of murders commence at the movie’s premiere, once more propelling heroine Sydney (Neve Campbell) down a warped hall of mirrors. Kevin Williamson fashions another clever screenplay which never fails to allow shivers expert Craven to balance the nervous laughs with a wealth of spinetingling. With Liev Schreiber, Laurie Metcalf, Sarah Michelle Gellar.

SCREAM 3, 2000, Miramax / Dimension, 116 min. Just when everyone thought the well was dry, Wes Craven revives the series aided by Ehren Kruger’s (ARLINGTON ROAD) razor sharp scenario. Horror movie sequels and their ‘rule-breaking’ cliches, tabloid reporters, teen angst, vain performers, intrepid detectives and small town Americana are all literally skewered as now-reclusive Sydney (Neve Campbell) is once again sucked into a dizzying vortex of slasher killings. Adrenaline-inducing shocks, genuine suspense and more accomplished tightrope-walking from frightmeister Craven. With Parker Posey, Courtney Cox, David Arquette and Patrick Dempsey.

 

Sunday, December 9 – 5:00 PM

Wes Craven In Person!!  Double Feature!!

WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE, 1994, New Line, 112 min. Almost a dry run for SCREAM 2 and 3 as Wes Craven, producer Robert Shaye, cast members Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon and Robert Englund -- all playing themselves working on a new NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET picture – are plagued by a murderous demon in the guise of Freddie Krueger. This is the only other NIGHTMARE…film Craven directed himself.

MUSIC OF THE HEART, 1999, Miramax, 124 min. With subject matter about as far off the beaten track as one could imagine for a Wes Craven picture, MUSIC…deftly relates the true story of Roberta Guasperi (Meryl Streep) who became a violin instructor in an East Harlem school after being left by her husband, initiating a resoundingly successful music program. A tale obviously close to former teacher Craven’s heart, Guasperi’s refusal to give up on either herself or other people is inspirational evidence that it’s never too late to make a difference in what often seems a cold, uncaring world. With Angela Bassett, Aidan Quinn. Discussion with director Wes Craven between films.

 

Wednesday, December 12 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature!!

DEADLY BLESSING, 1981, Hearst Entertainment, 92 min. Fire-and-brimstone fanatic Ernest Borgnine, leader of a community called the Hittites that make the Amish ‘look like swingers’, believes his son was ruined by outsider wife, Marin Jensen. In the aftermath of the son’s seemingly accidental death, Jensen is comforted by old friends Sharon Stone (in her second film) and Susan Buckner and persecuted by the Borgnine-led zealots as an incubus. More gruesome deaths soon follow in this surprisingly scary shocker. With Lois Nettleton, Michael Berryman.

THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW, 1988, Universal, 89 min. Wade Davis’s non-fiction bestseller about Haitian zombies becomes Wes Craven’s most adult horror film with not a teenager in sight. Dedicated anthropologist Bill Pullman is on the track of an elusive toxin used by voodoo priests to simulate death and feign zombie resurrection. He meets beautiful Cathy Tyson (MONA LISA) and devilish Zakes Mokae, invaluable guides to both a tropical paradise and an exotic hell of supernatural evil seldom glimpsed by North American eyes. With Paul Winfield, Michael Gough.