A statement released by Craven’s family said he died at his Los Angeles home on Sunday after a battle with brain cancer.
Craven was born in Cleveland, Ohio on 2nd August 1939. He’s best known for his work on horror films, particularly slasher films. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he claimed that the idea for “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise came after “living next to a cemetery on a street of that name in the suburbs of Cleveland”.
Craven made his directorial debut with “The Last House of the Left”, a rape-revenge movie he wrote, directed, and edited in 1972. Although its confrontational violence resulted in heavy censorship and banning in some countries, it was generally well-received by critics and became a major box office success. It was remade into a 2009 film of the same name.
Craven then wrote and directed “The Hills Have Eyes” in 1977. The film became an instant cult classic and a sequel titled “The Hills Have Eyes Part II” was released in 1985. He disowned the sequel but later wrote the sequel to Alexandre Aja’s 2006 remake with his son Jonathan in 2007.
In 1984, Craven teamed up with his frequent collaborator Sean S. Cunningham to reinvent the teen horror genre through “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. Freddy Krueger, which was a character created by Craven in the film, horrified viewers for years and appeared together with Jason Voorhees in 2003’s “Freddy vs. Jason”. Jason is a character created by Victor Miller, Ron Kurz, Cunningham, and Tom Savini.
The first 5 “Nightmare on Elm Street” films, which were released from 1984 to 1989, accumulated a large fan following. His popularity later reached greater heights with the release of the “Scream” series. Released from 1996 to 2011, the series was a box office sensation as he “spoofed” the genre and referenced other horror movies.
Craven’s other hit films include 2005’s “Red Eye” and 2010’s “My Soul to Take”.
Craven helped launched Johnny Depp‘s acting career as he gave Depp his first major film role through “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. He also gave Sharon Stone her first starring role in 1981’s “Deadly Blessing”. Through an episode of the 1980s version of “The Twilight Zone”, Bruce Willis was also given his first featured role.
Upon hearing the news about Craven’s death, celebrities, fans and directors alike took to social media to express their shock and send their condolences.
RIP Wes Craven. You were one of a kind. Thanks for all the years of scares and fun.
— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) August 31, 2015
My friend Wes has left us too soon. He was truly an Old School director. I had a great time directing him. I'm… http://t.co/NCeEflbdhO
— John Carpenter (@TheHorrorMaster) August 31, 2015
— Sarah Michelle (@SarahMGellar) August 31, 2015
Thank you for being the kindest man, the gentlest man, and one of the smartest men I've known. Please say there's a plot twist. #wescraven
— Rose McGowan (@rosemcgowan) August 31, 2015
Today the world lost a great man, my friend and mentor, Wes Craven. My heart goes out to his family. x
— Courteney Cox (@CourteneyCox) August 31, 2015
Taking a break on a show night to pay respects to @WesCraven. LEGEND.
— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) August 31, 2015
Damn guys. @WesCraven died. A brilliant filmmaker, he brought quality & depth of character to every movie he made. Amazing library- bravo
— Seth Green (@SethGreen) August 31, 2015
#WesCraven was the maestro of my nightmares growing up throughout the 80's. And those same nightmares gave me my passion 4 horror films. RIP
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) August 31, 2015
RIP Wes Craven…you brought me many thrills and nightmares
— Gerard Way (@gerardway) August 31, 2015
— Wes Craven (@wescraven) August 31, 2015
Thank you for the nightmares, Craven. You will forever be missed.