One of the most creative, brilliant, and successful minds in the horror genre unfortunately passed away Sunday, August 30, 2015. Wes Craven had been battling brain cancer that ultimately claimed his life at the age of 76.
Craven is most known as the creator of A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Hills Have Eyes and Scream. However, his debut horror film, The Last House of the Left was well received and launched his horror movie career. He often worked alongside horror producer Sean S. Cunningham, director of Friday the 13th.
He was thrust into the spotlight with A Nightmare on Elm Street. The film launched the career of Johnny Depp and the film went on to spin off several sequels. A disgreement over the film’s ending between Craven and New Line Cinema ultimately created two endings to the film: Craven’s happy ending, where protagonist Nancy ceases to believe in Krueger and he disappears, and a twist ending demanded by the studio, where the film is a dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream, and Freddy kills all the survivors. The disagreement caused Craven to refuse to direct follow-up Freddy’s Revenge, although he would later return to write and produce A Nightmare on Elm Street III: Dream Warriors – which is unsurprisingly considered the best of the series after the original.
After A Nightmare on Elm Street his most famous film series is the “Scream” franchise. The original film challenged every trope the horror genre had fallen into.
Later in his career he continued to direct horror movies and a few times branches out in other genres. He directed Music In My Heart in 1999, earning an Oscar nomination for actress Meryl Streep. It was his first non-horror film, and the only besides his contribution to multi-director film Paris, je t’aime.
No one can ever measure up to what Craven gave the horror genre.
Craven is survived by his wife Iya Labunka, son Jonathan, daughter Jessica, three grandchildren and his step-daughter Nina.