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Screams & Nightmares: The Films of Wes Craven

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It might sound absurd that Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring inspired Wes Craven’s debut slasher, The Last House on the Left, and that Craven himself walked out of a screening of Reservoir Dogs because he felt ”the film-maker was just getting off on the violence.” But if this clumsy career chronicle of the soft-spoken ”guru of gore” proves anything, it’s how contradictory his life has been. In Screams & Nightmares: The Films of Wes Craven the filmmaker’s rise from English teacher to Hollywood heavyweight (A Nightmare on Elm Street; Scream) is fascinating — but unfortunately, it’s rendered in stilted, fawning prose. C+