Wes Craven: Master of Horror (1939-2015)

“A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “The Hills Have Eyes,” “Scream.” These three films all have two things in common: they both resurrected the horror genre and were directed by the legend himself, Wes Craven.

Craven has always been known as a master of suspense, giving audiences some truly original thrills, while also developing many memorable characters and universes.

The director started his career with the highly controversial, and cult classic, “The Last on the House on Left,” in which a family exacts brutal revenge on a group of killers that murdered their daughter.

Craven became known for the film, though it was only initially a mild success, putting him on the map as a director not afraid to delve into some truly dark areas.

Craven then followed it up with another cult classic, “The Hills Have Eyes,” which is considered his first major success and his first big dive into the horror genre.

Craven’s earlier work, though labeled as horror films, did give the world a look at his craft and the master ability he had of putting audiences on the edge of their seats, but his next film became the one that audiences lost sleep over.

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” follows teenager Nancy Thompson as she and her friends are tormented by an evil entity named Freddy Krueger, who haunts and kills them in their dreams, ending in many grisly and elaborate scenes.

The idea alone of a serial killer who can invade any dream and turn it into a nightmare in which he can murder you is terrifying. For a film made in 1984, it still holds up as a very creepy and stylish movie with an incredibly original premise from the guru’s creepy mind.

The character later expanded into a franchise that, unfortunately, Craven did not have much control over. That is the most likely reason for the sequels’ lack in story qualities, but when he did regain control for the final film in the original franchise, it was clear he brought the character back in true terrifying form.

Craven went on to make some small original movies, such as “Shocker” and “The People Under the Stairs” before he found his next big work in Kevin Williamson’s screenplay, “Scream.”

“Scream,” which follows a killer terrorizing a small town and known for having a real sick taste when it comes to horror films. While Craven didn’t write the film himself, he brought his own horror craft to the film. While it might not have been a scary film, it was truly the movie that brought a new spark into the slasher film, reinvigorating the genre.

After “Scream” and its subsequent sequels, Craven did not go on to direct many more films, original or based around someone else’s work, but after creating the infamous character of Freddy Krueger (who even crossed-over with Jason Voorhees in 2003), and introducing the world to a terrifying family of cannibals, Craven had already truly made a name for himself.

Craven will always live in the horror hall-of-fame, and will also be known as one of the most prolific directors in history.