HOLLYWOOD—On Sunday, August 30, horror director Wes Craven passed away at his Los Angeles home from brain cancer. He was 76 years old.
Craven is known for his dealings with the horror genre. He is recognized for his creation of Freddy Krueger, the main antagonist in the “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” series who would stalk and kill his victims in their dreams. He also had his hand in the films “The Hills Have Eyes” and the “Scream” franchise.
Wes Craven did not start off his career in film. He was born on August 2, 1939 in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Psychology from Wheaton College in Illinois. Then he went on to receive a Master’s Degree from Johns Hopkins University in Philosophy and Writing. After earning his Master’s, Craven went on to teach English for a brief period of time at Westminster College. He also taught humanities at Clarkson College of Technology.
After his time as a professor, Craven moved into the film business. His first job in the industry was as a sound editor for post-production company in New York City. Craven also had a short stint in adult film industry. His directing debut came along in 1972 with the thriller “The Last House on the Left,” a controversial exploitation-horror movie that gained a cult following, despite it being banned in several countries.
He worked as a producer when the film was remade in 2009, and said that the film was about “the painful side effects of revenge…The headlines are full of people and nations taking revenge and getting caught up in endless cycles of violence.”
He started the iconic “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise in 1984, and although he directed only the first movie, Craven returned for a writing credit for “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.” He also returned to direct, write and star in 1994’s “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare.”
His highest grossing venture was the “Scream” franchise which was adapted into an MTV television series in 2015. The last film Craven directed was “Scream 4” which was released in 2011. He continued to produce films until his death; he had several projects in the works, including a television version of his 1991 film “The People Under the Stairs” and a movie adaptation of “We Are All Completely Fine,” a book about horror-movie-style outcasts who form a support group.
He leaves behind his wife, Iya Labunka, his children, Jonathan and Jessica, his stepdaughter, Nina and three grandchildren. New Line Cinema is currently working on another reboot to Craven’s classic “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” The movie was rebooted in 2010 starring Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger, a role made infamous by Robert Englund.