Wes Craven, the director behind the Nightmare on Elm Street and the Scream franchises passed away today after a battle with brain cancer. He was 76.
Like a lot of film fans, the first love for many of us was the horror genre, and in the 1980s and 1990s, there were three names that every hardcore horror movie fan knew: Rick Baker, Tom Savini, and Wes Craven. Craven basically kept video stores in business for a decade, churning out movies that half of the teenagers in America were watching during the Blockbuster era. In addition to the Nightmare movies, he gave us Shocker, The Hills Have Eyes, The People Under the Stairs , and the original Last House on the Left (actually, several of his films should be prefaced with “the original,” since so many of his movies have been rebooted in recent years).
After nearly 20 years of making horror films and popularizing particular conventions and tropes, Wes Craven — in a way — reinvented the horror film with the popular Scream franchise, which would lead to another two decades of conventions and tropes, many of which are still coursing through most of today’s horror flicks.
Craven may have passed, but I assure you that his movies — and his influence — will likely live on for decades in remakes, reboots, and sequels, but do yourself a favor, and seek out the originals, and if it all possible, watch them on VHS.
Rest in peace, Mr. Craven.