Ask any horror fan if they know the name Wes Craven, and the answer will be a loud and prod “yes”. The new generation of horror fanatics know him by way of his genre defining horror Scream, while the older generation of horror fans (like myself) will remember Craven’s magical days when he re-invented horror with A Nightmare on Elm Street.
I can’t imagine there is a horror fan on the planet who does not know the name Freddy Krueger, and it was thanks to Craven that this vicious, often hilarious monster invaded our nightmares for decades. Proud horror fans will pass films like A Nightmare on Elm Street on to new genre fans, telling them that this was from a time when horror was exciting, and Craven was one of a handful who lead the way.
He already made a name for himself before Elm Street with the classic cannibal horror The Hills Have Eyes, and the controversial The Last House on the Left. However, one of my personal favourite Craven films was his voodoo chiller The Serpent and the Rainbow, which came after the heights of Elm Street.
It’s fair to say that the Master of Horror defined the genre for many generations, and he was, and always will be beloved by not just horror fans, but film fans the world over. The news of Craven’s passing, at the age of 76, shocked the movie world. Craven died of brain cancer, and a little piece of the horror community died with him, but his legacy, his influence and his spirit will live on in our genre for ever.
Tributes have come from all different walks of the film world, and rightly so, so let’s take a look at a few:
RIP Wes Craven, my director, my friend. A brilliant, kind, gentle and very funny man. A sad day on Elm St and everywhere. I’ll miss him.
— Robert B. Englund (@RobertBEnglund) August 31, 2015
Heartbroken about the loss of Wes Craven. He was an incredible inspiration as a director and, more so, a very kind man. — James Gunn (@JamesGunn) August 31, 2015
It gives us a way of thinking rationally about our fears. Horror films don’t create fear, they release it- Wes Craven pic.twitter.com/vrIY2bZmw6
— Scott Derrickson (@scottderrickson) August 31, 2015
He directed me in Scream3 and I directed him in J&SB. Fare thee well horror-Gretzky WES CRAVEN. Talented, good guy. https://t.co/LZB0EGzxfV
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) August 31, 2015
So sorry to hear of Wes Craven’s passing. We cast him years ago in Stark Raving Mad (yes, he acted) and he was a lovely guy. #WesCraven
— Steve Levitan (@SteveLevitan) August 31, 2015
RIP Wes Craven. You were one of a kind. Thanks for all the years of scares and fun. — Paul Feig (@paulfeig) August 31, 2015
— Sarah Michelle (@SarahMGellar) August 31, 2015
Wes Craven. There goes another outlier. RIP — Joe Carnahan (@carnojoe) August 31, 2015
RIP Wes Craven! A pioneer in the genre!
— Joe Dante (@joe_dante) August 31, 2015
So sad to hear the news about Wes. An amazing man on set and off and I owe so much to his talents. He will be sorely missed by many… — Skeet Ulrich (@SkeetMe1) August 31, 2015
So sad to hear of the death of Wes Craven. One of the greats of the genre. pic.twitter.com/4CzuS78Brv
— Paddy Considine (@PaddyConsidine) August 31, 2015
Weren’t we lucky to have that first Nightmare on Elm Street? Weren’t we lucky to have Wes Craven? — Joe Hill (@joe_hill) August 31, 2015
Tears, my friends. Tears in public. RIP @wescraven
— Todd Farmer (@todd_farmer) August 31, 2015
Any horror fan says goodbye to Wes Craven with a heavy heart. He gifted my generation with so many memories. Films seen through my fingers ???? — Leigh Whannell (@LWhannell) August 31, 2015
Clive and Wes on the Dr. Ruth show. RIP Wes Craven. https://t.co/nSS12ydijZ
— Clive Barker (@RealCliveBarker) August 31, 2015
American McGee spoke about the failed video game-to-film adaptation of American McGee’s Alice, also explaining that Craven’s cancer may have been a part of his life for many, many years:
Sad news today on the passing of Wes Craven. I didn’t know him well, but did have the pleasure of working with him in the early stages of “Alice” feature film development. This was back in 2001, when we’d just optioned the Alice rights to Miramax/Dimension, attached Wes as director, and attracted the writing talents of a young John August. At that time it was the early stages of Wes’s battle with cancer that derailed the project. Here’s hoping Wes has gone to a better Wonderland. His talents and creativity were unique.
Bob Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company and Dimension Films, issued the following statement:
I am heartbroken at the news of Wes Craven’s passing. 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 and I are eternally grateful for all his collaborations with us. Our deepest sympathy to his family.