"Horror films don't create fear. They release it."
Wesley Earl Craven (born August 2, 1939) is an American film director, producer and writer, and is the creator of many iconic and genre-defining horror films. He is probably best known for his creation of Freddy Krueger, the dream-haunting villain introduced in A Nightmare on Elm Street. He also found great success a decade later with the movie Scream, a Deconstruction of the slasher sub-genre that launched a slew of late 90's imitation horror films.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Craven was raised by a Baptist family and was reportedly a target for bullies (including one with the same name as his most famous creation). After leaving home, he gained an education in English Literature, Psychology, and Writing; he then married, and started a family. His marriage ended after five years, and his children left with his ex-wife. He moved to New York, and eventually directed The Last House on the Left, followed five years later by The Hills Have Eyes. The success of these movies made him a seminal name in horror cinema.
Additionally, he directed a lot of episodes of The Twilight Zone in the 80's.
His personal website is located here.
- The Last House on the Left (1972)
- The Hills Have Eyes (1977), and its original sequel (1985).
- Deadly Blessing (1981)
- Swamp Thing (1982)
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and its sixth sequel, New Nightmare (1994).
- Deadly Friend (1986)
- The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)
- Shocker (1989)
- The People Under the Stairs (1991)
- A Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)
- Scream (1996), and all of its respective sequels.
- They (2002)
- Cursed (2005)
- Red Eye (2005)
- My Soul to Take (2010)
Common Tropes in Craven's Work Include:
- Action Girl - Nancy Thompson and Sidney Prescott being the most notable examples.
- Adults Are Useless - Either that, or the adults are a serious part of the problem.
- Deconstruction - Scream was so successful that it made the 80's slasher impossible to take seriously anymore.
- Family-Unfriendly Violence - Virtually all of his movies.
- Final Girl - In most films, although Shocker features a Final Guy.
- Gorn - A Nightmare on Elm Street, in particular.
- Post Modernism: New Nightmare and the Scream movies take this Up to Eleven.
- Rape as Drama - His characters tend to either be raped, are implied to be raped, are raped as a backstory, or are rapists themselves.
- Shout-Out: The Last House on the Left is a loose retelling (with a Setting Update) of Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring.
- Slasher Film - Two of the most famous examples, too.