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Wes Craven: Creator of Nightmares, Master of Horror

On Sunday the world lost another one of it’s iconic stars from the land of film and television.

Wes Craven was without a doubt one of the most influential film makers towards the horror genre, his films would terrify generations and go off to spawn several sequels, remake and re-adaptations.

Craven suffered from brain cancer and died in his home on Sunday at the age of 76.Rather than dwell on the sad news of Craven’s death, let us look back at some of the amazing horror films from this outstanding and overly terrifyingly creative man, and the legacy he has left behind.

The Hills Have Eyes

Written and directed by Craven in 1997, The Hills Have Eyes follows a family on their way to California when unfortunately their car breaks down in an area closed to the public that also happens to be inhabited by violent savages ready to attack. The film, which is now a cult classic, was conceived as a modern day retelling of Scotland’s own horror story of Sawney Bean starring Susan Lanier, Michael Berryman and Dee Wallace. The film went onto make a total of $25 million at the box office, on a budget of an estimate $230,000, and the cameras that the film was shot on were supposedly borrowed from a California pornographer. Craven’s original film spawned a sequel and a 2006 remake with an additional sequel, which Craven served as a producer for.

Scream

Co created by Craven and Kevin Williamson, Scream is one of the most popular films in the horror genre. In fact, the original 1996 film has grossed over $600 million in the worldwide box office, making it the highest grossing slasher film to date. The films follow the character of Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) who becomes the target of a succession of murderers who adopt the guise of Ghostface to stalk and torment their victims. Sidney receives support in the films from town deputy Dewey Riley (David Arquette), reporter Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox), and film-geek Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy). The Ghostface costume has become something of a Halloween tradition since the original film, I’ve yet to go Halloween without seeing the mask. As of recently, MTV have adapted Scream as a TV series with Craven as a producer. The series features a new mask, due to copyright restrictions on the Ghostface one. The season finale of season one aired on Tuesday night with a tribute to Craven at the start that read, “thanks for the screams.”

Nightmare on Elm Street

I saved the best, and most iconic for last. On November 9, 1988 Wes Craven brought to life a creation that would haunt nightmares for generations, the iconic Freddy Krueger. The story follows Krueger, a disfigured midnight mangler who preys on Midwestern teens in their dreams. After investigating the phenomenon, Nancy begins to suspect that a dark secret kept by here and friends’ parents may be the key to unraveling the mystery behind the gruesome deaths. The film even marks the feature film debut of a young Johnny Depp. Krueger would go to be a part of nine films total, including a crossover film with Friday the 13th star Jason. The original film, which Craven wrote and directed was made on a budget of $1.8 million and went on to gross over $25 million at the US box office. Critics today praise the film’s ability to transgress the boundaries between the imaginary and real toying with audience perceptions.

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