RIP Wes Craven, director and writer: 1939-2015

Wes CravenWes Craven, the man behind such classic horror films as The Last House on the Left, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, has died. He was 76.

Craven made his debut as feature film director and writer in 1972 with The Last House on the Left, a picture that remains controversial for its uncompromising portrayal of violent murder. He followed this up with the 1977 film The Hills have Eyes, inspired by the legendary cannibal clan of Sawney Bean.

Although Last House was noted for its raw realism, Craven’s subsequent films showed a marked interest in supernatural themes. In 1984 he scored a major hit with A Nightmare on Elm Street, a film that took delight in blurring dreams and reality.

A Nightmare on Elm Street launched one of horror’s biggest franchises, although Craven did not return to the series as director until the seventh installment. Released in 1994, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare was a self-referential film that explored the relation between the Elm Street movies and their viewers and creators; it even featured a guest appearance form Craven, playing himself.

Craven later teamed up with screenwriter Kevin Williamson to create another horror classic, 1996’s Scream. Another heavily self-referential film, Scream both parodied and homaged slasher conventions while working as a successful slasher in its own right. It gave rise to three sequels, all directed by Craven.

Wes Craven’s filmography also includes titles such as Swamp Thing, The Serpent and the Rainbow, Shocker, The People Under the Stairs and Vampire in Brooklyn. In addition to his work in cinema, Craven wrote the 1999 novel Fountain Society and the 2013 comic series Coming of Rage.

On Twitter, novelist and film critic Kim Newman remarked that “Wes Craven reinvented horror at least four times – most directors don’t even manage it once.”

(Image source: Bloody-Disgusting)