For many fans, the news of Wes Craven’s death this afternoon wasn’t a surprise as had been battling brain cancer. He was 76, and recreated the horror genre more than once beginning with his shocking 1972 classic horror film “The Last House on the Left,” then shaking things up in the 80’s with his “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise and then making fun of it in the 90’s with “Scream.”
Craven wrote and directed A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984. His Scream franchise was reported to have grossed more than $100m in the US.
He wrote, directed and edited his first film, The Last House on the Left, in 1972.
A tweet from his Twitter account featured a picture of him with the dates 1939-2015.
He had more recently signed deals to develop television programmes, including the new Scream series for MTV. He had also been working on a graphic horror novel series.
Reflecting on his career, he once said in an interview: “I tried to make movies where I can honestly say I haven’t seen that before and to follow my deepest intuitions and in some cases literally my dreams.”
Actors posted tributes on social media including actress Courtney Cox, who starred in Craven’s 1996 Scream and appeared in the franchise’s three subsequent films.
She said: “Today the world lost a great man, my friend and mentor, Wes Craven. My heart goes out to his family. x”
Rose McGowan, who also featured in the original Scream, said: “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.”
Similarly, Craven’s Scream series was a box-office sensation. In those scare-’em-ups, he spoofed the teen horror genre and frequently referenced other horror movies.
Craven’s first feature film was The Last House on the Left, which he wrote, directed and edited in 1972. A rape-revenge movie, it appalled some viewers but generated big box office. Next came another film he wrote and helmed, The Hills Have Eyes (1977).
“We had a very difficult time getting an audience into a theater on my name,” he said in an interview with writer-director Mick Garris in October. “In fact, we moved toward downplaying my name a lot on Music of the Heart. The more famous you are for making kinds of outrageous scary films, the crossover audience will say, ‘I don’t think so.’”