Sad news to report tonight as director Wes Craven has died from brain cancer at the age of 76. His passing was confirmed through his official Twitter feed:
Craven will go down as one of the most influential horror directors of all-time having birthed not one but two classic horror franchises with A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream. He directed all of the Scream films and also helmed the meta New Nightmare. While A Nightmare on Elm Street arguably launched Craven to a whole new level, he had a breakout hit with The Last House on the Left, which is an odd spin on Ingmar Bergman’s 1960 medieval drama The Virgin Spring.
Finding odd twists on horror while also working firmly within the genre (he ventured outside of it a few times, most notably with the feel-good drama Music of the Heart starring Meryl Streep) became Craven’s signature, and at his best he walked the line between not only scaring the audience, but making you genuinely care about all of the characters rather than just setting them up as fodder for the killer. While Scream and Nightmare are rightfully classics, I personally think his 1991 thriller The People Under the Stairs deserves some love for being so weird yet oddly tender.
Our deepest sympathies go out to Mr. Craven’s family and friends.