Wes Craven

  • Died: August 30, 2015
  • Location: Los Angeles, California


Wes Craven

Horror master Wes Craven dies at 76

Wes Craven, the iconic film director whose "Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Scream" movies redefined the horror genre, has died after battling brain cancer

By DAISY NGUYEN and JAKE COYLE, The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Wes Craven, the prolific writer-director who thrilled audiences with iconic and bloody suburban slashers like "Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Scream" that made his name synonymous with horror, has died. He was 76.

In a statement, Craven's family said that he died in his Los Angeles home Sunday, surrounded by family, after battling brain cancer.

A prolific writer, director and editor, Craven is credited with reinventing the teen horror genre with the 1984 release of "A Nightmare on Elm Street" starring a then-unknown Johnny Depp. The movie and its indelible, razor-fingered villain Freddy Krueger (played by Robert Englund) led to several sequels, as did his 1996 success, "Scream."

Besides his work in horror films, Craven also directed the drama "Music of the Heart," which earned Meryl Streep an Oscar nomination.

Wesley Earl "Wes" Craven was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on Aug. 2, 1939. Though he earned a Master's Degree in philosophy and writing from John Hopkins University and briefly taught as a college professor in Pennsylvania and New York, his start in movies was in pornography, where he worked under a pseudonym.

Craven's feature debut under his own name was 1972's "The Last House on the Left," a horror film about teenage girls abducted by thugs and taken into the woods. Made for just $87,000, the film, though graphic enough to be censored in many countries, was a hit. Roger Ebert said it was "about four times as good as you'd expect."

"Nightmare on Elm Street," however, catapulted him to far greater renown in 1984. The Ohio-set film about teenagers who are stalked in their dreams, which Craven wrote and directed, spawned a never-ending franchise that has carried on until, most recently, a 2010 remake.

The concept, Craven said, came from his own youth in Cleveland, where he lived next to a cemetery on an Elm Street.

Along with John Carpenter's "Halloween," ''Nightmare on Elm Street" defined a teen horror tradition where helpless teens were preyed upon by supernatural villains in morality tales; usually promiscuous girls were the first to go.

The formula would work again for Craven with "Scream."

Craven is survived by his wife, producer Iya Labunka, a son, a daughter and a stepdaughter.


Coyle reported from New York.

Condolence & Memory Journal

Rest peacefully. I am still heart broken if your passing and been a fan since I was a kid. You were one of my inspirations in horror. My condolences to your friends and family. You are missed and loved by many. You're now an beautiful angel. Freddy and ghost face being my all time fav characters, thank you for the scares and thank you for your imagination.

Posted by Justin Santos - South Gate, CA   July 23, 2017

Loving mastery of how we view what scares us most losing a loved one in death our family hearts are with your families in missing you love family of jewel

Posted by jewel horton - aberdeen, NC - Student   August 01, 2016

I never been in horror movies that much but Scream was wonderful. I really loved the trilogy then Scream 4 was perfect as well. RIP. You'll be missed.

Posted by simon - montreal, NE   September 09, 2015

He was the best and will surly miss him,God be with his family..

Posted by Betty Brooks - Watertown, WI - fan   September 09, 2015

I will miss Wes,his movies were so awesome!Freddy is my favorite and I sent my love to his family,a lost like this is so difficult to go through, I know because I lost my dad four years ago to cancer and there are no words to really comfort you through a bad time like this so sent love and prayers to his loved ones may Wes rest in peace.

Posted by Melissa - Roseburg, OR - just a fan   September 06, 2015

Without a doubt, the Greatest horror director of all time. Will definitely be missed by horror fans throughout the world. Mike, Horror Fan, Longmont, CO

Posted by Mike Kirmaier - Longmont, CO - Fan   September 06, 2015

Thank you for haunting my dreams when I was a child! You will be missed.

Posted by Jenn - San Mateo, CA - Horror Fan   September 05, 2015

Thank u Wes for all your horror films u were one of the greatest

Posted by anthony - Farmington, WI - Fan   September 03, 2015


Posted by United State of America - City, USA - human concern   September 02, 2015

SOrry to hear...

Posted by Frank    August 31, 2015

Super sad, he was one of the greats. He will live on through his films and the people they inspire.

Posted by Crystal - Bend, OR - Long time fan   August 31, 2015

Each and every horror fan is mourning your loss right now Wes. Thank you so much for the incredible films you have bestowed upon us, they will live on forever. You will never be forgotten. My condolences to your family and friends. A truly sad day for fans of film.

Posted by Jeff Brown - Toronto - fan   August 31, 2015

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Wes Craven