Darick T. Earney
Legendary horror film pioneer, Wes Craven, died at the age of 76 on Sunday, Aug. 30, after a two year long battle with brain cancer.
Craven is survived by his wife, Iya Lebunka, and two children, Jonathan and Jessica, who were conceived during a previous marriage.
The filmmaker had worked in cinema for over 40 years, beginning his career as an editor and producer in the early 1970s before making his directorial debut with “The Last House on The Left” in 1972.
With a few directing credits in the 70s, Wes Craven’s big break didn’t come until 1984, after the release of “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” It was this film that introduced the world to the iconic horror movie villain, Freddy Krueger, and future Hollywood superstar, Johnny Depp.
Following commercial success in the 80s, the director stayed popular in the 90s with “New Nightmare,” a loose remake of “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” and the first installment of his teen slasher movie franchise, “Scream.”
“Wes Craven was an old school 1970’s director who learned that the underlying implication of a story is scarier than what is on the surface,” Art of Film Professor Jim Price said, “From ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ to ‘Scream,’ Craven focused on ways to tell a meta-story that deconstructed the very idea of what a horror film was. While critics often missed this connection, audiences reveled in them.”
Before beginning a career in motion pictures, Wes Craven was an Ohio native, raised by Baptist parents, Paul and Caroline Craven. He attended Wheaton College, in Illinois, earning a bachelor’s in English and Psychology, and a master’s in Philosophy.
After serving a few brief stints as a college teacher in New York, Craven eventually landed a job as a sound editor for a movie company owned by famous folk singer, Harry Chapin.
It was through working with Chapin that Craven would gain more interest in pursuing a filmmaking career, and be remembered by many as a master of horror cinema.
Fans and movie lovers can now stream “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “New Nightmare” on Netflix, in honor of the late director. Needless to say, while his movies will continue to terrorize the dreams of his viewers, Wes Craven himself can now rest in peace.