Writer-director Wes Craven died at his home in Los Angeles after battling brain cancer. He was best known for his razor-fingered creation of Freddy Krueger in ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ and the ‘Scream’ franchise. He was 76. VPC
Wes Craven, a master horror director whose nightmarish creation Freddy Krueger clawed to life on the big screen, died Sunday in Los Angeles after a battle with brain cancer. He was 76.
“It is with deep sadness we inform you that Wes Craven passed away,” his family confirmed in a statement to DailyBouncer. “Craven was surrounded by love, in the presence of his family at home in Los Angeles.”
The auteur made his writing/directing debut with the X-rated The Last House on the Left in 1972, unnerving moviegoers five years later with road-trip slasher The Hills Have Eyes. Hills spawned four sequels, including two reboot installments in the mid-2000s (Craven co-wrote 2007’s The Hills Have Eyes 2 with his son, Jonathan Craven).
But he made his most indelible mark with A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984, introducing the fedora-wearing, metal-glove-clad serial killer Krueger (played by Robert Englund) to pop culture. Starring Johnny Depp in one of his earliest roles, the horror triumph was continued by eight sequels (the most recent, a 2010 reboot of the same name).
Craven’s other horror touchstone includes the tongue-in-cheek Scream franchise, revived this summer as a MTV series of the same name (on which he was a producer). The first movie in the series (1996) starred Drew Barrymore, Courteney Cox and Neve Campbell and made off with $103.1 million. The slasher series revolves around the masked “Ghostface” killer, whose creepy get-up — a Halloween costume favorite — had unremarkable origins.
“To tell you the truth, we were just looking for a simple costume that would hide every inch, our actors were all about the same height.” Hollywood reacted quickly as word of Craven’s death spread Sunday evening.
“I am heartbroken at the news of Wes Craven’s passing,” Scream producer Bob Weinstein said in a statement to USA TODAY. “We enjoyed a 20-year professional relationship and more importantly a warm and close friendship. He was a consummate filmmaker and his body of work will live on forever. My brother (Harvey Weinstein) and I are eternally grateful for all his collaborations with us. Our deepest sympathy to his family.”
Other collaborators took to Twitter to share their grief. “Please say there’s a plot twist,” wrote Scream star Rose McGowan, who praised him as “the kindest man, the gentlest man, and one of the smartest men I’ve known.”
“I (would) have no career if it were not for Wes Craven,” tweeted Jamie Kennedy, another star of the first Scream. “Thank you for believing in me and giving me a chance.”
Craven’s four-decade-plus career also included films with Meryl Streep (1999 drama Music of the Heart), Eddie Murphy (1995 comedy Vampire In Brooklyn) and Rachel McAdams (2005 thriller Red Eye). He was developing his 1991 horror film The People Under the Stairs for the SyFy channel at the time of his death.