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Wes Craven
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Known aliases Wesley Earl Craven
Born 2 August 1939
Cleveland, Ohio
Died August 30, 2015 (aged 76)
Los Angeles, California
Occupation director
Years active 1971-2015

Wesley Earl Craven (born August 2, 1939-August 30, 2015) was an American film director and writer, perhaps best known as the creator of many horror films, including the famed Nightmare on Elm Street series featuring the iconic Freddy Krueger character.


Early lifeEdit

Craven was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Caroline (née Miller) and Paul Craven.[1] He had a strict Baptist upbringing.[2] Craven earned an undergraduate degree in writing and psychology from Wheaton College in Illinois, and a masters degree in writing seminars from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to landing his first job in the film industry as a sound editor for a post-production company in
New York, Craven briefly taught English at Westminster College and was a humanities professor at Clarkson University. With now ex-wife Bobby Chappel, he is the father of Jonathan and Jessica Craven. Jonathan is a writer and director with a few credits to his name. Jessica is a singer/songwriter in the group the Chapin Sisters.

Directing and writing careerEdit

Craven's works tend to share a common exploration of the nature of reality. A Nightmare on Elm Street, for example, dealt with the consequences of dreams in real life. Wes Craven's New Nightmare "brushes against" (but doesn't quite break) the fourth wall by having actress Heather Langenkamp play herself as she is haunted by the villain of the film in which she once starred. At one point in the film, we see on Wes Craven's word processor a script he has written, which includes the exact conversation he just had with Heather — as if the script is being written as the action is unfolding. The Serpent and the Rainbow portrays a man who cannot distinguish between nightmarish visions and reality. In Scream, the characters frequently reference horror films similar to their situations, and at one point Billy Loomis tells his girlfriend that life is just a big movie. This concept was emphasized in the sequels, as copycat stalkers reenact the events of a new film about the Woodsboro killings occurring in Scream. Craven was also set to direct Beetlejuice but dropped out to co-write and executive produce the third outing for Freddy Krueger. He says that he got the idea for "the" Elm Street by living next to a graveyard on Elm Street in his home town of Wheaton, Illinois.

Awards and nominationsEdit

During his career, Wes Craven won eight awards and received three nominations. He did well in the box office, since he was known for his thriller films. For the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA, he was nominated an award for Best Director in 1997 for his hit film Scream.

For the "Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival", he won a 'Critic's Award' in 1985, for his hit horror film: "A Nightmare on Elm Street".

In 1992, Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film gave him the Pegasus Audience Award for the thriller The People Under the Stairs. For Fantasporto, he won and was nominated for the International Fantasy Film Award for Best Screenplay and Best Film for New Nightmare, the final A Nightmare on Elm Street movie. He was also nominated for Best Film for the movie Shocker in 1990.

The Gérardmer Film Festival granted him the Grand Prize in '97, for the movie Scream.

In 1977, he won the 'Prize of the International Critics' Jury' in the "Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival" for his film The Hills Have Eyes.

Completing his Nightmare TrilogyEdit

Though there have been seven different Nightmare on Elm Street films (nine if one includes the crossover Freddy vs. Jason as well as the 2009 remake), only two have been directed by Craven himself. He has said in several interviews and discussions that he considers only his two films to be accurate depictions of his creation. For years it has been rumored that he would make one more film, essentially completing his trilogy.

Death Edit

On August 30th of 2015, Craven sadly passed away at age 76 from brain cancer and is currently being celebrated in a slew of tributes.

Horror filmographyEdit

Film Year Role
The Last House on the Left 1972 Director/writer
The Hills Have Eyes 1977
Deadly Blessing 1981
A Nightmare on Elm Street 1984
The Hills Have Eyes Part II 1985
Deadly Friend 1986 Director
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors 1987 Executive producer/writer
The Serpent and the Rainbow 1988 Director
Shocker 1989 Director/producer/writer
The People Under the Stairs 1991 Director/executive producer/writer
Wes Craven's New Nightmare 1994
Mind Ripper 1995 Producer
Vampire in Brooklyn Director
Scream 1996
Scream 2 1997 Director/producer
Wishmaster Executive producer
Scream 3 2000 Director
Dracula 2000 Executive producer
They 2002 Producer
Dracula II: Ascension 2003 Producer
Cursed 2005 Director
Red Eye
Dracula III: Legacy Producer
Feast Executive producer
Pulse 2006 Writer
The Hills Have Eyes Producer
The Breed Executive producer
The Hills Have Eyes 2 2007 Producer/writer
The Last House on the Left 2009 Producer
My Soul to Take 2010 Director/producer/writer
Scream 4 2011 Director/producer
The Girl in the Photographs 2015 Producer


  • Wes craven's son Jonathan Craven followed in his father's footsteps in the horror filming industry.

References Edit

External links Edit

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