Sunday, American Horror film director Wes Craven died at the age of 76.
- American Horror film director Wes Craven died at Los Angeles, a representative confirmed.
- The director was battling brain cancer.
Wes Craven was an American film director, writer, producer, and actor known for his work on horror films, particularly slasher films. He was best known for creating the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise featuring the Freddy Krueger character, directed the first installment and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, and also co-wrote A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors with Bruce Wagner.
Craven also directed all four films in the Scream series featuring Ghostface. Some of his other films include The Hills Have Eyes, The Last House on the Left, The Serpent and the Rainbow, The People Under the Stairs, Vampire in Brooklyn, Cursed, Red Eye and My Soul to Take.
“I am heartbroken at the news of Wes Craven’s passing,” Bob Weinstein, co-chairman of the Weinstein Company and Dimension Films, said in a statement. “We enjoyed a 20 year professional relationship and more importantly a warm and close friendship. He was a consummate filmmaker and his body of work will live on forever. My brother and I are eternally grateful for all his collaborations with us.”
Director Wes Craven was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Caroline (née Miller) and Paul Eugene Craven. He was raised in a strict Baptist family. Craven earned an undergraduate degree in English and Psychology from Wheaton College in Illinois and a master’s degree in Philosophy and Writing from Johns Hopkins University.
Craven briefly taught English at Westminster College and was a humanities professor at Clarkson College of Technology (now Clarkson University) in Potsdam, New York. His first job in the film industry was as a sound editor for a post-production company in New York City.
Craven left the academic world for the more lucrative role of pornographic film director. In the documentary Inside Deep Throat, Craven says on camera he made “many hard-core X-rated films” under pseudonyms. While his role in Deep Throat is undisclosed, most of his early known work involved writing, film editing or both. In 1972 Wes Craven directed his first feature film The Last House on the Left.
Craven frequently collaborated with Sean S. Cunningham. In Craven’s debut feature, The Last House on the Left, Cunningham served as producer. Later, in Craven’s most famous film, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Cunningham directed one of the chase scenes, although uncredited. Their infamous characters, Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, appeared together in the 2003 slasher film Freddy vs. Jason with Cunningham acting as producer, while screenwriter Victor Miller is credited as “Character Creator”. Later, in The Last House on the Left remake, both Cunningham and Craven share production credits.
Craven had a major hand in launching superstar Johnny Depp’s career by casting him in 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, Depp’s first major film role.
Although known for directing horror/thriller films, he had worked on two that were outside this genre: the 1999 film Music of the Heart, and as one of the 22 directors in the 2006 collaboration Paris, je t’aime.
Craven created Coming of Rage, a five-issue comic book series, with 30 Days of Night comic book writer Steve Niles. The series was released in digital form in 2014 by Liquid Comics with a print edition scheduled for an October 2015 debut.Image/AP Photo/Matt Sayles