Horror aficionados wait for Wes Craven films the way Bond-ophiles anticipate the next 007 installment: with hearts pitter-pattering in excitement — and dread that yet another entry won’t measure up to the early, white-knuckle stuff. But with Scream, the creator of A Nightmare on Elm Street is back to the level of his hair-raising heyday.
The screenplay of Scream was so terrifying even Craven wasn’t sure he wanted to take it on. ”It was so scary and violent,” says the mild-mannered, gray-haired 57-year-old, who made eight trips to the ratings board before Scream was cleared for an R, ”and I’m trying to move away from the genre.”
Yes, Craven is determined to make a more mainstream drama than, say, his disastrous Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), which mixed Eddie Murphy and romance with bloodsuckers. But before that, he’ll have to display his knack for devilry once more. ”I sort of sold my soul to regain myself,” he says of his new two-picture deal with Miramax, which is distributing Scream. ”I’m going to do a picture called Bad Moon Rising, on werewolfism. And once I do that, I get the right to direct a movie I select.” For die-hard Craven fans, that could be a heart stopper.