2015 has been a rough year for sci-fi, fantasy and horror genre fans. We’ve lost some big players in the last eight months and, sadly, we’ve lost another legend. Wes Craven has passed away at the age of 76 due to brain cancer.
Wes Craven had certainly carved out his own spot amongst the legends of the industry. He wore many hats, from director to writer, from producer to editor. He was responsible for some of the genre’s most classic films. Anyone who saw the original The Last House on the Left (1972) or The Hills Have Eyes (1977) will tell you how impactful those films were at the time and still are today. There were clearly some lesser entries, such as Deadly Blessing (1981), but those are easily overshadowed by the cinematic juggernauts like Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) or Scream (1996). He had a key role in the creation of Freddie Krueger, one of the most iconic horror characters ever created. Multiple generations had been entertained by his movies, which is really what most filmmakers want to achieve. They want to entertain and want to know their films will live on long after they are gone.
His most recent film credit was that of executive producer on the MTV television series Scream. Before that, his last two films as director were Scream 4 (2011) and the disappointing My Soul to Take (2010). Nonetheless, despite the occasional box office failure, he had more than secured his status amongst horror fans due to his decades of previous work. Some will argue his legendary status but what most cannot argue are the key films he made over the years and the impact they still have on the industry today.
Personally, I have fond memories of Nightmare on Elm Street being one of the first three movies I rented in the 80s. Alongside Beverly Hills Cop (1984) and Star Trek: The Cage, several of my friends came over for a night of movies and pizza to help celebrate my birthday. With one of those clunky VCRs inside a gray plastic carrying case, I was amazed at how cool it was to watch a movie whenever you wanted. I was hooked for life. And the fact that it was a cold and foggy night out as everyone left to go home, the memory is even more so chiseled into my brain.
Rest in peace Wes Craven! Thank you for all the thrills and chills over the years.