Here’s some sad news to start off the week. Maverick horror filmmaker Wes Craven passed away on Sunday after battling brain cancer.
Craven is of course most famous for creating the ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ franchise, which introduced the world to the iconic figure of Freddy Krueger. The original 1984 film spawned five direct sequels, two movie spinoffs, one TV spinoff, one attempted reboot, plus numerous tie-in books and comics and action figures and more.
As if that weren’t enough achievement to rest on his laurels, Craven also went on to direct all four movies in the wildly popular ‘Scream’ franchise (though he didn’t create that one). Other horror properties of his that made some lasting impact include ‘The Last House on the Left’ and ‘The Hills Have Eyes’.
In 1999, Craven made a rare venture outside the horror genre with the inspirational teacher drama ‘Music of the Heart’. As much as that may have seemed like an odd choice of project for the director, it makes more sense when you realize that he had himself been a university professor before taking up filmmaking.
On a personal note, I vividly remember watching ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors’ (which Craven conceived the story for and co-wrote) after it hit HBO in late 1987 or early 1988. I was in middle school at the time. After it aired, a group of friends and I who’d watched it gathered at recess to excitedly discuss what we’d seen. I began quoting dialogue from the movie – a lot of dialogue – and acting out my favorite scenes. One of my friends stopped me to ask, “What, did you memorize the movie or something?” Well, I certainly hadn’t done it consciously, but yeah, I kind of did. That was one of the earlest times I realized that watching movies was a really important part of my life, perhaps more so than other kids my age.
Craven was 76-years-old. The last feature he directed was 2011’s ‘Scream 4’. He also served as Executive Producer of MTV’s ‘Scream’ TV series.
[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]