FAMED HORROR MOVIE MASTER HAS DIED …
If its a horror movie that made you lose sleep, or be afraid to be in a home alone or have to check the closet, beneath the bed or under the stairs, then most likely you had just seen a horror movie made by Wes Craven. Wes (Wesley) Earl Craven, the master of the horror film genre died on Sunday after his battle with brain cancer at the age of 76. Craven is survived by his third wife, Iya Labunka, also his sister Carol, son Jonathan, daughter Jessica, grandchildren Miles, Max and Myra-Jean and stepdaughter Nina.
Craven is the man who wrote and directed such horror classics as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Freddie Kruger, The Hills Have Eyes, The People Under the Stairs and directed the Scream movies. Then there was his first movie, The Last House on the Left, which may have been his most disturbing of all. Why that film was suggested as a date movie is a an entire story for another day. Wes Craven truly pushed the limits of the horror film genre to the disturbing and yet had it not been for Craven, so many other classic cult horror flicks may not been possible.
Rest in Peace
Wes Craven, the famed maestro of horror known for the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream franchises, died Sunday after a battle with brain cancer. He was 76.
Craven, whose iconic Freddy Krueger character horrified viewers for years, died at his home in Los Angeles, his family announced. Survivors include his wife, producer and former Disney Studios vice president Iya Labunka.
Craven was a longtime summer resident of Martha’s Vineyard, where he moved permanently three years ago before returning to L.A. for work and health reasons.
Craven claimed to have gotten the idea for Elm Street from living next to a cemetery on a street of that name in the suburbs of Cleveland. The five Nightmare on Elm Street films were released from 1984-89 and drew big crowds.
Similarly, Craven’s Scream series was a box-office sensation. In those scare-’em-ups, he spoofed the teen horror genre and frequently referenced other horror movies.
Craven’s first feature film was The Last House on the Left, which he wrote, directed and edited in 1972. A rape-revenge movie, it appalled some viewers but generated big box office. Next came another film he wrote and helmed, The Hills Have Eyes (1977).
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare trailer (1994)
Wesley Earl Craven was born Aug. 2, 1939 in Cleveland. His father died when he was 5. Raised in a strict Baptist household, he graduated from Wheaton College with degrees in English and psychology, then earned a master’s in philosophy and writing from Johns Hopkins.
If you can judge a film-maker’s influence by how many copycats they inspire, then Wes Craven has to be seen as one of the most influential. Three times he changed his mind about what horror movies should be, and three times we were promptly flooded with all manner of dodgy knock-offs.
And yet The Last House on the Left captured the public mood. It was released into a world reeling from the Manson murders, Vietnam, Altamont and Nixon, and it hit all its marks perfectly. The fact that it was made for less than $90,000, which gave it a rough-and-ready vérité look that just made the horrors seem more real, only magnified its impact. Without The Last House on the Left, there’d be no Texas Chainsaw Massacre, no I Spit on Your Grave, no Halloween. Its advertising campaign (“It’s only a movie, it’s only a movie”) handed more power to marketers and films as varied as Fargo and Paranormal Activity owe a lot to its “The following is based on a true story” misdirect.