"Horror films don't create fear. They release it."
Wesley Earl Craven (August 2, 1939 - August 30, 2015) was an American film director, producer and writer, and is the creator of many iconic and genre-defining horror films. He is probably best known for his creation of Freddy Krueger, the dream-haunting villain introduced in A Nightmare on Elm Street. He also found great success a decade later with the movie Scream, a Deconstruction of the slasher sub-genre that launched a slew of late 90's imitation horror films.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Craven was raised by a Baptist family and was reportedly a target for bullies (including one with the same name as his most famous creation). After leaving home, he gained an education in English Literature, Psychology, and Writing; he then married, and started a family. His marriage ended after five years, and his children left with his ex-wife. He moved to New York, and eventually directed The Last House on the Left, followed five years later by The Hills Have Eyes. The success of these movies made him a seminal name in horror cinema.
Additionally, he directed a lot of episodes of The Twilight Zone in the 80's.
His personal website is located here.
- The Last House on the Left (1972)
- The Hills Have Eyes (1977), and its original sequel (1985).
- Deadly Blessing (1981)
- Swamp Thing (1982)
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and its sixth sequel, New Nightmare (1994).
- Deadly Friend (1986)
- The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)
- Shocker (1989)
- The People Under the Stairs (1991)
- A Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)
- Scream (1996), and all of its respective sequels.
- Music of the Heart (1999)
- They (2002)
- Cursed (2005)
- Red Eye (2005)
- My Soul to Take (2010)
- Action Girl - Nancy Thompson and Sidney Prescott being the most notable examples.
- Adults Are Useless - Either that, or the adults are a serious part of the problem.
- Deconstruction - Scream was so successful that it made the 80's slasher impossible to take seriously anymore.
- Family-Unfriendly Violence - Virtually all of his movies.
- Final Girl - In most films, although Shocker features a Final Guy.
- Gorn - A Nightmare on Elm Street, in particular.
- Post Modernism: New Nightmare and the Scream movies take this Up to Eleven.
- Rape as Drama - His characters tend to either be raped, are implied to be raped, are raped as a backstory, or are rapists themselves.
- The Last House on the Left is a loose retelling (with a Setting Update) of Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring.
- In one scene during A Nightmare on Elm Street, Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead is playing on a TV in the background, which itself is a Shout-Out to Sam Raimi putting a poster of Craven's The Hills Have Eyes in the background of The Evil Dead.
- Slasher Film - Two of the most famous examples, too.