Wes Earl Craven was born in Cleveland, Ohio on August 2, 1939. He attended Wheaton College in Illinois earning an undergraduate degree. He then went on to John Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD earning a masters in writing and philosophy. He worked teaching at Westminster College in PA and then at Clarkson College in New York before working at a high school for a year. He eventually got his first film industry job as a messenger in NYC. From there he was able to work his way up, doing sound editing and then directing movies.
His first feature film was Last House on the Left (1972), in which he was writer, director, and editor. His next film would be The Hills Have Eyes (1977), a movie about a family of cannibals living on an abandoned nuclear testing site that attack an unsuspecting family on vacation. A little under a decade later he made major waves in horror with his slasher, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). The concept was completely original and a far cry from the "run of the mill" teen slasher flicks that were flooding the film industry at the time.
In the 1990's he remastered the genre again with Scream (1996). It was different from what audiences had seen thus far in that it took a satirical look at horror films and built a mystery around the plot. The movie was highly successful and spawned three sequels. He continued to direct until his sudden death in 2015. Fans of his movies will always remember him for his innovation and the great impact he had on the horror industry.
Movies Known For
|Last House on the Left (1972)||The Hills Have Eyes (1977)||A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)|
|The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)||The People Under the Stairs (1991)||Scream (1996)|
Did You Know?
It has been rumored that "Freddy Krueger" was named for a boy who used to bully Craven in high school.
He was originally set to direct Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) but was replaced due to disagreements with Christopher Reeve.
The story of A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) came from a news story about a group of young men whi died in their sleep while having nightmares. There was no definitive cause of the deaths, the men were all physically healthy with no health issues.
Craven was having a drink with actor-producer Robert Evans on May 6, 1998. Evans suddenly suffered a stroke, collapsing in front of Craven. Evans later said, "I really scared the shit out of the king of horror."