Wes Craven

wes craven“What ever you do… don’t fall asleep”

On Sunday, 31 August 2015, at aged 76, we lost a genius of horror to brain cancer. Wes Craven, a novelist, screenwriter, producer and director, known for his ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ and ‘Scream’ franchise, demonstrated that he is a filmmaker with heart, humour and an expansive imagination that spilled across film, television and literature.

In the 1980s, Craven lived on Elm Street, next door to a cemetery, where his uninhibited creative mind envisaged the idea for the five ‘Nightmare of Elm Street’ films, where ‘Freddy Kruger’ terrified audiences around the world.

Jointly with Kevin Williamson, Craven created the hilarious slasher film franchise ‘Scream’ which was based around a sleepy little town of Woodsboro where there is a killer in their midst who has seen too many scary movies. With snippets from many other horror films, ‘Scream’ drew a popular cult following which starred Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Drew Barrymore and Skeet Ulrich to name a few. Reaching a new level of success, ‘Scream 1’ and ‘Scream 2’ grossed more than $100 million domestically.

‘Music of The Heart’ about a teacher in Harlem, is his only film to receive Academy Award nominations and starred the talented and award winning Meryl Streep. This was his one and only venture outside the horror film genre.

A gifted writer too, he completed and published his first novel in 1999, ‘The Fountain Society’.

Other popular thrill seeking horror movies Craven directed were ‘Swamp Thing’, ‘Deadly Friend’ and ‘The People Under the Stairs’.

Born in 1939 in Cleveland, he was raised by a strict Baptist family, graduating from Wheaton College with degrees in English and psychology, and later a masters in philosophy and writing from Johns Hopkins.

Launching careers such as Johnny Depp, Sharon Stone and Bruce Willis, he had an eye for discovering talent.

“I try not to look back too much. I think the important thing about staying creative and staying sharp and original is not to look back too much, and to kind of look to where your vision is going now.”

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