Wes Craven, who died this week at age seventy-six, was a horror master with few equals in contemporary American movies. The director of A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream may not often be spoken of in the same breath as the classic auteurs of European art-house cinema, but his career in feature filmmaking began under the influence of none other than Ingmar Bergman. Craven’s first film, The Last House on the Left (1972), was conceived as a remake of Bergman’s 1960 The Virgin Spring, a film that had made a huge impression on the young Craven. In adapting to a grimy B-movie aesthetic Bergman’s austere, medieval-set, Oscar-winning film about a father who exacts bloody vengeance on the men who defiled and murdered his daughter, Craven ended up making a vastly influential movie in its own right, one that kick-started the cycle of ’70s rape-revenge movies that has become one of horror’s most recognizable and notorious subgenres. Revisiting Bergman’s startling original now, you can see why a horror director like Craven was enamored; The Virgin Spring has a chillingly barbaric sensibility. Watch this astonishing clip of Max von Sydow as the father preparing to mete out justice to the unsuspecting villains.
From the Tarkovsky Archives
On what would have been his eighty-sixth birthday, we’re celebrating Andrei Tarkvosky’s legacy with a look back at some of the essays and videos we’ve published on his work.
From the Pasolini Archives
On the anniversary of his birth, we look back on the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini, one of the most radical figures of Italian cinema.
Words of Wisdom from This Year’s DGA Nominees
With the Oscars coming up this weekend, we gathered some highlights from an in-depth conversation with five of this year’s most-lauded directors.
When Jazz Icon Hugh Masekela Took the Stage at Monterey
With the recent passing of Hugh Masekela, we’re looking back at the South African jazz luminary’s unforgettable performance in Monterey Pop.