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Wes Craven

Wes Craven
Craven in 2010
Born Wesley Earl Craven
(1939-08-02)August 2, 1939
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Died August 30, 2015(2015-08-30) (aged 76)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Brain cancer
Occupation Director, writer, producer, actor
Years active 1971–2015
Spouse(s) Bonnie Broecker (m. 1964; div. 1969)
Mimi Craven (m. 1984; div. 1987)
Iya Labunka (m. 2004; his death 2015)
Children 2, including Jonathan
Website .com.wescravenwww

Wesley Earl "Wes" Craven (August 2, 1939 – August 30, 2015) was an American film director, writer, producer, and actor known for his work on horror films, particularly slasher films.

He was best known for creating the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise featuring the Freddy Krueger character, directing the first installment and Wes Craven's New Nightmare, and co-writing A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors with Bruce Wagner.

Craven also directed all four films in the Scream series, and co-created the Ghostface character. Some of his other films include The Hills Have Eyes, The Last House on the Left, The People Under the Stairs, Red Eye, The Serpent and the Rainbow, and Vampire in Brooklyn.

On August 30, 2015, Craven died of brain cancer, at the age of 76, at his home in Los Angeles.

Contents

  • Early life 1
  • Directing and writing career 2
    • Film style 2.1
  • Awards and nominations 3
  • Other work 4
  • Personal life 5
  • Death and legacy 6
  • Books 7
  • Filmography 8
    • Highest-grossing films 8.1
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Early life

Craven was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Caroline (née Miller) and Paul Eugene Craven.[1][2] He was raised in a strict Baptist family.[3] Craven earned an undergraduate degree in English and Psychology from Wheaton College in Illinois and a master's degree in Philosophy and Writing from Johns Hopkins University.[4]

Craven briefly taught English at Westminster College and was a humanities professor at Clarkson College of Technology (later named Clarkson University) in Potsdam, New York.[5] He additionally taught at Madrid-Waddington High School in Madrid, New York.[6] During this time, he purchased a used 16mm film camera and began making short movies. When his friend Tom Chapin informed him of a messenger position at a New York City post-production company run by his brother, future folk-rock star Harry Chapin, Craven moved to Manhattan.[6] His first creative job in the film industry was as a sound editor for Chapin's firm.[5]

Recalling his early training, Craven said in 1994, "Harry was a fantastic film editor and producer of industrials. He taught me The Chapin Method [of editing]: 'Nuts and bolts! Nuts and bolts! Get rid of the - - - !' " Craven afterward became the firm's assistant manager, and broke into film editing with You've Got to Walk It Like You Talk It or You'll Lose That Beat (1971).[6]

Directing and writing career

Craven left the academic world for the more lucrative role of pornographic film director.[7] In the documentary Inside Deep Throat, Craven says on camera he made "many hard core X-rated films" under pseudonyms. While his role in Deep Throat is undisclosed, most of his early known work involved writing, film editing or both.[7] Wes Craven's first feature film as director was The Last House on the Left which was released in 1972.[5]

Craven frequently collaborated with Sean S. Cunningham. In Craven's debut feature, The Last House on the Left, Cunningham served as producer. Later, in Craven's best known film, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Cunningham directed one of the chase scenes, although uncredited.[5] Their characters, Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, appeared together in the slasher film Freddy vs. Jason (2003) with Cunningham acting as producer, while screenwriter Victor Miller is credited as "Character Creator". Later, in The Last House on the Left remake (2009), both Cunningham and Craven share production credits.[8]

Craven had a hand in launching actor Johnny Depp's career by casting him in A Nightmare on Elm Street, Depp's first major film role.[9]

Although known for directing horror/thriller films, he had worked on two films which are outside this genre: Music of the Heart (1999), and as one of the 22 directors responsible for Paris, je t'aime (2006).[7]

Craven created Coming of Rage, a five-issue comic book series, with 30 Days of Night comic book writer Steve Niles.[10] The series was released in digital form in 2014 by Liquid Comics with a print edition scheduled for an October 2015 debut.[10]

Film style

Craven's works tend to share a common exploration of the nature of reality. A Nightmare on Elm Street, for example, dealt with the consequences of dreams in real life.[11] New Nightmare "brushes against" (but does not quite break) the fourth wall by having actress Heather Langenkamp play herself as she is haunted by the villain of the film in which she once starred.[12] At one point in the film, the audience sees on Wes Craven's word processor a script he has written, which includes the exact conversation he just had with Heather — as if the script was being written as the action unfolded. The Serpent and the Rainbow portrays a man who cannot distinguish between nightmarish visions and reality.[12]

In Scream, the characters frequently reference horror films similar to their situations, and at one point Billy Loomis tells his girlfriend that life is just a big movie. This concept was emphasized in the sequels, as copycat stalkers reenact the events of a new film about the Woodsboro (Woodsboro being the fictional town where Scream is set) killings occurring in Scream.[5] Scream included a scene mentioning a Richard Gere urban legend.[13] Craven stated in interviews that he received calls from agents telling him that if he left that scene in, he would never work again.[14][15] The last film that he directed before his death was Scream 4.[7]

Awards and nominations

During his career, Wes Craven was nominated for and won several awards, including the Saturn Award.[16]

In 1977, he won the critic's award at the Sitges Film Festival for his film The Hills Have Eyes.[17] The Gérardmer Film Festival granted him the Grand Prize in 1997 for Scream.[18] In 2012, the New York City Horror Film Festival awarded Craven the Lifetime Achievement Award.[19]

Other work

Craven designed the Halloween 2008 logo for Google[20] and was the second celebrity personality to take over the YouTube homepage on Halloween.[21]

Craven had a letter published in the July 19, 1968 edition of Life magazine, praising that periodical's coverage of contemporary rock music, in particular Frank Zappa's.[22]

Personal life

Craven's first marriage to Bonnie Broecker produced two children: Jonathan Craven (born 1965) and Jessica Craven (born 1968). Jonathan is a writer and director.[5] Jessica was a singer/songwriter in the group the Chapin Sisters. The marriage ended in 1970. In 1982, Craven married a woman who would become known professionally as actress Mimi Craven. The two later divorced, with Wes Craven stating in interviews that the marriage dissolved after he discovered it "was no longer anything but a sham".[23] In 2004, Craven married Iya Labunka; she frequently worked as a producer on Craven's films.[24]

Craven was a birder; in 2010, he joined Audubon California's Board of Directors.[24] His favorite films included Night of the Living Dead (1968), The Virgin Spring (1960) and Red River (1948).[25]

Death and legacy

On August 30, 2015, Craven died of brain cancer, at the age of 76, at his home in Los Angeles.[12][26] The 10th episode of Scream was dedicated in his memory.[27] Many actors paid tribute to him, including David Arquette, Angela Bassett, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Robert Englund, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jamie Kennedy, Heather Langenkamp, Rose McGowan, Mitch Pileggi, Kristy Swanson, Skeet Ulrich and Milo Ventimiglia as well as screenwriter Kevin Williamson. Neve Campbell stated; "He was a true innovator. From The Last House on the Left to A Nightmare on Elm Street to Scream. Wes has horrified and entertained millions for decades. His films have been and will continue to be touted as some of the greatest of their genre, and his crews and cast will continue to remember him as one of the best." Kevin Williamson, who wrote the Scream saga (minus the third) said "Knowing Wes Craven changed my life forever. I am grateful. I am blessed. And I know the impact of his work will be with us forever. As the Master of Horror, he has made his mark in cinema."

Books

Year Title
1999 Fountain Society[28]
2013 Coming of Rage[29]

Filmography

Year Film Director (Executive)
Producer
Writer Cinematographer Editor Actor Role Notes
1971 Together
N
1972 The Last House on the Left
N
N
N
1977 The Hills Have Eyes
N
N
N
1978 Stranger in Our House
N
TV movie
The Evolution of Snuff
N
Here Come the Tigers
N
1981 Deadly Blessing
N
N
Kent State
N
TV movie
1982 Swamp Thing
N
N
1984 Invitation to Hell
N
TV movie
A Nightmare on Elm Street
N
N
1985 Chiller
N
TV movie
The Hills Have Eyes Part II
N
N
The Twilight Zone
N
TV series, 5 episodes
1986 Deadly Friend
N
Casebusters
N
Episode of anthology TV series Disneyland
1987 A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
N
N
1988 The Serpent and the Rainbow
N
1989 The People Next Door
N
N
TV series, co-creator
Shocker
N
N
N
N
The neighbor
1990 Night Visions
N
N
N
TV movie
1991 The People Under the Stairs
N
N
N
1992 Nightmare Cafe
N
N
TV series
1993 Laurel Canyon
N
Body Bags
N
Pasty faced man in garage Cameo
1994 Wes Craven's New Nightmare
N
N
N
N
Himself
1995 Vampire in Brooklyn
N
The Hills Have Eyes III
N
aka Mind Ripper
The Fear
N
Dr. Arnold
1996 Scream
N
N
"Fred" (school janitor) Cameo
1997 Scream 2
N
N
N
Doctor
Wishmaster
N
1998 Hollyweird
N
TV movie
Don't Look Down
N
N
Carnival of Souls
N
N
1999 Music of the Heart
N
2000 Scream 3
N
N
Tourist Cameo
Dracula 2000
N
2001 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
N
Himself Cameo
2002 They Shoot Divas, Don't They?
N
TV movie
They
N
2003 Dracula II: Ascension
N
2004 Tales from the Crapper
N
Himself
The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing
N
2005 Dracula III: Legacy
N
Cursed
N
Inside Deep Throat
N
Himself
Feast
N
Red Eye
N
2006 Pulse
N
Remake
The Hills Have Eyes
N
The Breed
N
Paris, je t'aime
N
N
N
Vampire's Victim Segment: Père-Lachaise
2007 The Hills Have Eyes 2
N
N
Remake
The Tripper
N
Top hat-wearing hippy Cameo
2008 Diary of the Dead
N
Radio voice
2009 The Last House on the Left
N
Remake
2010 My Soul to Take
N
N
N
2011 Scream 4
N
N
N
Coroner at the Randalls Cameo
Deleted scene
2013 Castle (TV series)
N
Himself Cameo
Episode: "Scared to Death"
2015 Scream (TV series)
N
Executive producer Season 1

Highest-grossing films

This is a list of the top 10 highest-grossing films by Wes Craven; each has made at least $30 million.

Rank Title Lifetime gross (US$)
1 Scream 173,046,663
2 Scream 2 172,363,301
3 Scream 3 161,834,276
4 Scream 4 101,214,723
5 Red Eye 95,577,774
6 The Hills Have Eyes (2006) 69,623,713
7 The Hills Have Eyes 2 67,915,885
8 The Last House on the Left (2009) 45,286,228
9 A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors 44,793,222
10 The People Under the Stairs 31,347,154

References

  1. ^ Wes Craven Biography (1939–) at filmreference.com
  2. ^ "Wesley Earl Craven (b. 1939)". mooseroots.com. Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  3. ^ The Horror of Being Wes Craven
  4. ^ Muir, John Kenneth (1998). Wes Craven: The Art of Horror. Jefferson, South Carolina: McFarland & Co. ISBN 0-7864-0576-7. pp. 8–9.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Wes Craven". Biography.com. Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c  
  7. ^ a b c d "Wes Craven, Master Horror Movie Director, Dies At 76". NPR.org. Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  8. ^ Scream IV' Officially Greenlit with Wes Craven Attached"'". 
  9. ^ Blitz,Krasniewicz. Johnny Depp: A Biography. 
  10. ^ a b Rich Johnston. "Wes Craven's Coming Of Rage Finally Comes To Print From Steve Niles And Francesco Biagini - Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movie, TV News". Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movie, TV News. Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Wes Craven: Film By Film". Empire Magazine. 17 September 2015. Retrieved 17 September 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c "Wes Craven, horror movie director, dies at age 76". CNN.com. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Snopes Urban Legend About Gerbil and Richard Gere". 
  14. ^ "Movie References in SCREAM". geocities.com. Archived from the original on October 3, 2002. Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  15. ^ Simels, Steve (September 5, 1997). "Slashed and Burned". Entertainment Weekly. 
  16. ^ "THE SATURN AWARDS".  
  17. ^ "Awards". Sitges Film Festival. Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Historique".  
  19. ^ "2012". New York City Horror Film Festival. Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Wes Craven Carves Google Logo". 
  21. ^ "Wes Craven Takes Over YouTube for Halloween!".  
  22. ^ Craven, Wes (July 19, 1968). "Letters To The Editors". Life. p. 17. 
  23. ^ Emery, Robert J. (2003). The Directors: Take Three 3. Allworth Press.  
  24. ^ a b Frost, G (May 28, 2010). "Director Wes Craven joins Audubon California's Board of Directors". Audublog. Audubon California (National Audubon Society). Retrieved April 3, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Wes Craven Favourite Films". 'Film Doctor. November 1, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Wes Craven, Horror Maestro, Dies at 76". The Hollywood Reporter. August 30, 2015. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Scream’s 10th episode, dedicated to Wes Craven’s memory". 
  28. ^ Wes Craven (November 1, 1999). Fountain Society. Thorndike Press.  
  29. ^ Wes Craven; Steve Niles (October 25, 2014). COMING OF RAGE #1. Liquid Comics.  

External links

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