Craven's career as a film auteur is comparable to Peter Bogdanovich's (himself an exceptional film director but renowned more for his high-minded, often eccentric film criticism), in that the two directors followed an unconventional education to become film experts, but whereas Bogdanovich was well-regarded in his time, Craven is most often known as the flawed, one-note auteur of The Hills Have Eyes and A Nightmare On Elm Street. The difference between the two directors is instructive because at heart, their work is complementary. Each is better than the auteur whose work precedes or follows their own.
For all his successful films, Craven is better remembered for his first three films, The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes and A Nightmare On Elm Street. Each of these films would go onto be listed into the pantheon of classic genre movies, and both were major hits at the box office, with The Last House on the Left breaking a number of records for ''independent'' horror films. And in the same way that mainstream horror films became a steady stream of moneymakers beginning in the early 2000s, so did Craven's films. His early mocking of violent or perverse aspects of society had a ready market audience and became instantly recognizable to contemporary horror fans.
By the time Craven decided to cash in on his notoriety he was aware that he had a fanbase, but this did not prevent this itself from being a difficult task, as he not only had to make a movie that would appeal to horror fans, but also one that would appeal to those who only saw his films on Netflix. The Haunting''s success was doubtful from the beginning, as despite glowing reviews, its $2.7M opening weekend was only very roughly double the box office of Scream 3 (it went on to make $35.81M).
But even for someone who rarely strayed from the horror path, Craven's career is surprisingly diverse and prolific. Beginning with The Last House on the Left, he directed two dozen feature films, including TV movies, slasher sequels, comic book adaptations, high-concept dark fantasy, and Oscar bait-y fare starring Meryl Streep. No matter what genre he worked in, or how close he was to the material, Craven always managed to bring a little something extra, a sense of thematic weight that made him one of the most accomplished genre directors of his generation. d2c66b5586