We lost a master of horror in Wes Craven to brain cancer yesterday. In honor of what he has done for the horror industry, we are going to do a filmography remembrance.
In 1972, Craven burst onto the scene with The Last House on the Left, where his no-holds-barred style was before its time. At the time of its release, the film was both acclaimed and controversially criticized for its upfront violence and material. But this film was just the tip of the iceberg of what Craven was going to bring to the table.
After the equally-grotesque The Hills Have Eyes in 1977 and the comic book/horror blend of Swamp Thing in 1982, Craven brought us one of the most iconic horror characters in history with A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984. We were then introduced to Freddy Krueger, the demon-fueled vengeful ghost that murders his victims in their dreams. A cult favorite amidst horror fans, Krueger has made an appearance in 9 films, slashing his victims in creatively gruesome scenarios using nightmarish constructs only the truly sadistic could come up with.
We then received three films of note: The Serpent and the Rainbow, Shocker, and The People Under the Stairs, all cult-classics in their own right. In Shocker, Mitch Pileggi (aka Skinner from X-Files) called Craven one of the most wonderful people he has ever met.
Craven added to his repertoire in 1996 with Scream, introducing us to yet another entirely original concept that turned horror on itself in a pseudo-parody style. It spawned countless sequels and has been vastly praised for its blend of dark humor and horror elements.
Through the 2000’s, Craven spent most of his time producing, but did bring us Cursed (in the vein of Scream), Red Eye (an underrated killer flick), and Scream 4 in 2011 to, as it sadly turns out, conclude his directing career.
Throughout his career, Craven has been praised, panned, and pilloried by critics and fans. Regardless of rampant opinion, he leaves a legacy of horror few cinematic artists can boast, evidenced by the innumberal remakes of his works over the years. And many of his works will undoubtedly live on for years to come, carrying his memory far beyond his grave. Rest well, you sultan of spook.