Wes Craven: 1939-2015

The influential horror director, best known for A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, was 76.

by | August 30, 2015 | Comments

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)

 

Wes Craven, the influential horror director behind such genre classics as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, died Sunday, Aug. 30 after a battle with brain cancer. He was 76.

Craven’s films are among horror cinema’s most indelible and iconic. Freddy Krueger, whose blade-fingered reign of terror began in Craven’s 1984 classic A Nightmare on Elm Street, is arguably the definitive big-screen boogeyman of the 1980s, and his Scream films showed that Craven could juggle self-referential laughs with bone chilling scares.

Born in Cleveland in 1939, Craven worked as a professor at several colleges before getting a job as a sound engineer at a post-production company in New York City (he also worked on adult productions using a pseudonym). Craven’s first film was a major success; the low-budget proto-slasher movie The Last House on the Left was a brutal tale of murder and revenge that sparked controversy and threats of censorship as well as admiration for its uncommon intelligence (its story borrowed heavily from Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring). Craven went on to direct The Hills Have Eyes (1977), about a family of cannibals, and Swamp Thing (1982), based on the DC comics character, before hitting the jackpot with A Nightmare on Elm Street (featuring Johnny Depp in his big-screen debut).

In addition to his work in horror films, Craven also directed the 1999 drama Music of the Heart starring Meryl Streep as a violin teacher; and the Hitchcockian thriller Red Eye, starring Rachel McAdams as an airplane passenger trying to outwit a terrorist played by Cillian Murphy. Craven’s last directorial credit was Scream 4, though he was an executive producer on the 2015 Scream TV series. He is survived by his wife, Iya Labunka, and two children from a previous marriage.

Craven shared his Five Favorite Films with RT in 2009. For Craven’s complete filmography on Rotten Tomatoes, click here.

Tag Cloud

documentaries The Arrangement politics TNT satire true crime Chernobyl series Set visit nature robots hollywood Fantasy Photos crime drama Pirates The Witch USA Network GLAAD renewed TV shows animated supernatural Warner Bros. Apple TV Plus Calendar Reality Competition die hard Trivia stoner psycho game of thrones Shudder APB sag awards universal monsters cancelled TV series Marvel video dceu Funimation Bravo Watching Series mutant Writers Guild of America teaser screenings Video Games transformers Year in Review zombies Biopics green book halloween Arrowverse kids strong female leads obituary cops Brie Larson composers ratings mission: impossible PlayStation children's TV The Walking Dead Columbia Pictures Winners Cartoon Network VOD Nominations Mindy Kaling Rock BBC Cosplay Mystery YA cartoon Marvel Studios romantic comedy Disney+ Disney Plus GoT Sundance TV Black History Month vampires nbcuniversal TruTV cancelled television FOX Star Trek 2015 critics serial killer Polls and Games Amazon Prime superhero Tomatazos Drama movies Character Guide Film Festival Podcast Infographic documentary breaking bad hispanic YouTube Red sports Hulu cooking Epix USA crossover zero dark thirty Mudbound Cannes Ellie Kemper Horror President parents Star Wars miniseries Universal Tubi comic 2020 police drama casting Paramount toronto television TV Land blaxploitation VICE cats Christmas Lifetime Christmas movies PaleyFest news spain cults IFC disaster Peacock 20th Century Fox Hallmark 72 Emmy Awards comedies comiccon 2017 slashers classics biography Musicals TCA Winter 2020 Apple BET Awards singing competition SDCC elevated horror political drama BBC One Black Mirror Comic Book Toys 4/20 Comics on TV Shondaland indiana jones medical drama Creative Arts Emmys ESPN Ovation Adult Swim emmy awards venice Britbox TV GIFs jamie lee curtis a nightmare on elm street independent worst movies canceled Binge Guide Musical golden globes RT21 Sundance Now Red Carpet Women's History Month reviews Sony Pictures BBC America scary movies Hallmark Christmas movies based on movie cinemax MCU Freeform Pride Month WGN christmas movies HBO Max spanish language chucky Lucasfilm NYCC mockumentary aliens FXX boxoffice LGBT Academy Awards Premiere Dates VH1 best asian-american Awards Marathons TCA National Geographic Superheroes discovery festival Apple TV+ Hear Us Out Holidays New York Comic Con richard e. Grant Elton John historical drama Family Music revenge Rocketman PBS TV renewals HBO Go Anna Paquin First Reviews cars Esquire Awards Tour Thanksgiving zombie Spring TV Country Endgame cancelled natural history free movies Acorn TV Pet Sematary festivals AMC Vudu YouTube BET unscripted laika toy story Baby Yoda Avengers Amazon Prime Video Trailer finale E! Turner Sci-Fi travel Nickelodeon MTV Crunchyroll franchise The CW reboot rotten YouTube Premium Pop TV criterion Starz sequel OWN Marvel Television Fall TV technology diversity scorecard Netflix Emmy Nominations Quiz Chilling Adventures of Sabrina FX Sundance Mary Tyler Moore doctor who quibi El Rey FX on Hulu 71st Emmy Awards romance streaming Schedule Reality Winter TV ITV Election Discovery Channel Rom-Com CBS All Access witnail Action south america nfl sequels Captain marvel Box Office Holiday tv talk Lifetime talk show anime DGA A&E 21st Century Fox Rocky Amazon BAFTA justice league blockbuster Extras Logo TCM werewolf Television Critics Association comics Disney Lionsgate science fiction Summer HBO OneApp Superheroe History DC Universe Masterpiece Super Bowl spinoff Mary Poppins Returns TLC Crackle war Mary poppins crime Comedy Central Song of Ice and Fire DirecTV Martial Arts Tumblr Television Academy stand-up comedy RT History First Look Disney Plus TCA 2017 psychological thriller indie directors Grammys Turner Classic Movies Disney Channel E3 Interview Pixar batman all-time Kids & Family Film Opinion spider-man remakes cancelled TV shows Pop dogs book canceled TV shows 45 Nat Geo social media ghosts Classic Film child's play twilight name the review adaptation American Society of Cinematographers 2016 space Disney streaming service Ghostbusters films dragons award winner video on demand fast and furious Showtime Heroines NBC dramedy Spike TBS Spectrum Originals latino spy thriller SXSW harry potter SundanceTV CNN Walt Disney Pictures Western Sneak Peek Fox News period drama Certified Fresh worst Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt CMT what to watch Best and Worst thriller LGBTQ CW Seed TIFF crime thriller 24 frames 2019 adventure Comedy hist Food Network facebook IFC Films Netflix Christmas movies Countdown stop motion dc Stephen King See It Skip It game show joker 2018 theme song DC Comics San Diego Comic-Con Paramount Network movie TCA Awards DC streaming service ABC Valentine's Day concert Tarantino Dark Horse Comics WarnerMedia Syfy Emmys Travel Channel docudrama Animation CBS Amazon Studios rotten movies we love anthology Teen Trophy Talk MSNBC versus dark Oscars 007 ABC Family binge sitcom The Purge screen actors guild football X-Men A24 foreign