When Wes Craven died in 2015, it took me a while to think of anything to say. I only met him a handful of times over the years, and he obviously wasn't the first or last of my Hollywood heroes to pass, but for whatever reason that one really hit me hard. I think all I could manage to even tweet was a simple "No", and I remember just trying to focus on playing with my kid (who took his first steps while I was watching the Shocker bonus features, incidentally), because I couldn't really comprehend it just yet. It took me over six months to finally write up some semblance of a tribute, in a sort-of review of the Serpent and the Rainbow blu-ray, which gave me new appreciation of the film and helped me finally accept that he was gone.
So it's a fitting film to show in his honor at this year's Screamfest, which kicks off next week and will once again deliver a strong mix of new independent genre fare and repertory screenings of confirmed classics. In between new films like The Amityville Murders, The Final Wish, and The Golem, producer Gale Anne Hurd will be presented with an award at a double feature of Aliens and The Terminator, and Don Mancini will be on hand for a 20th anniversary of Bride of Chucky. Tickets are on sale now, so head on over to the Screamfest site and plan out your week!
But if you'd like to win a pair of tix for Serpent - which screens at 9:30pm on Wednesday October 10th - all you have to do (besides be in Los Angeles and have a way to get to the TCL Chinese 6 in Hollywood) is comment below with your earliest memory of being aware of who Wes Craven was. Not necessarily the first of his movies you saw - few if any of us paid attention to the credits as curious seven or eight-year-olds watching R-rated movies on cable - but the first time you saw the name "Wes Craven" and realized it meant something exciting. For me, no surprise here, it was the Shocker soundtrack, because his name was above the title on the cassette cover (I owned the album before I owned the movie) and I knew I should pay attention to it should I see it again on something; I don't even think I realized he created Freddy Krueger at that time!
Please include your Twitter handle or some other equally simple way to reach you; I'll be contacting the winner on Tuesday the 9th. The screening will include a Q&A with producers David Ladd & Bob Engelman (moderated by yours truly). If you don't want to pin your hopes on winning a contest, you can buy tickets here for the low price of $11. Hope to see you there!