Remembering Legendary Horror Director Wes Craven

Wes Craven, a horror movie icon. Photo Courtesy / Robyn Twomey
Wes Craven, a horror movie icon. Photo Courtesy / Robyn Twomey

Wes Craven, a horror movie icon.
Photo Courtesy / Robyn Twomey

By Crystal Smith
A&E Editor

On Sunday, Aug. 30, the legendary horror director and producer Wes Craven lost his fight with brain cancer at the age of 76.

Known for his box office hits such as the Scream and Nightmare on Elm Street series, Craven had a pivotal effect on how the world saw horror.

He directed his movies with sass and a tongue in cheek attitude that won over audiences all over the world.

Thousands of fans and celebrities took to social media to express their sorrow and condolences for the lost legend when the news broke.

Craven’s name was trending on Twitter with over 400,000 tweets of users expressing their love for the deceased director.

Wes Craven saw the horror world and reimagined it with characters such as Ghostface and Freddy Kruger.

Kruger and his long metal fingers first sharped his claws in 1984 when Craven gained inspiration from living next to a cemetery in the suburbs of Cleveland.

The film went on to be a series of five box office smashes from 1984-1989.

Kruger can be remembered as one of the most famous and recognizable horror characters among Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers. The film cost $1.8 million to make but grossed over $25 million.

Wes Craven was born on Aug. 2, 1939 in Cleveland. He grew up in a blue collar family and was forever thankful to be able to create movies for the past 40 years.

His father passed when he was only five and he was raised in a strict Baptist household. Craven graduated from Wheaton College and Johns Hopkins and briefly taught English at Westminster College.

Craven’s first film, The Last House on the Left, which he wrote and directed in 1972, was low budget and extremely gory and violent.

He then went on to direct his next film, The Hills Have Eyes. Both films were successful and were remade but not under the direction of Craven.

Not only was Craven a director, but he had an eye for fresh Hollywood talent such as Johnny Depp, Bruce Willis, and Sharon Stone who all had their first roles in Craven’s films.

In addition to horror, Craven’s name was on the film Music of the Heart which earned Meryl Streep an Academy Award nomination for best actress.

Before Craven’s death, MTV released a new series on their television channel entitled “Scream,” which focused on teenagers harassed via social media, though a different mask was used.

Craven allowed his name to be used in the credits but took no part in directing. The series lacked the iconic Ghostface mask, which viewers were anticipating.

Craven was also working a number different projects before his death. He was an executive producer of the upcoming feature The Girl in the Photographs. The movie will appear next month at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

Along with directing and writing horror, Craven focused on his other passion: birds.

Craven enjoyed nature and served as a longtime member of the Audubon California Board of Directors.

Craven will be remembered through not only his films but also his fans. New horror fans are born every day when they open their Netflix accounts and click on a Wes Craven film.

“All of us have our individual curses, something that we are uncomfortable with and something that we have to deal with, like me making horror films, perhaps.”

Rest in peace, Mr. Craven.

Email Crystal at:
csmith123@live.esu.edu

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