college teacher who bought a camera and headed to New York to make
movies, Wes Craven was born to become the world's greatest horror
filmmaker. He just didn't know it growing up.
working for a while as a messenger in the film industry he got his big
break when someone came up with $90,000 to produce a horror film. The
movie that resulted was 1972's "Last
House on the Left," still one of the most terrifying films of
all time. The 16 mm production was so disturbing that riots broke out
in some theaters and projectionists even cut scenes out of the movie.
playing for years as a midnight ticket and turned Craven into a horror
movie icon. He followed it up in 1977 with the similarly gritty
"The Hills Have Eyes," then
directed two turkeys: "Deadly
Blessing" and the PG comic book flop "Swamp Thing."
didn't look like he was going to ever outdo the cultural and
commercial success of "Last House"—until he made "A
Nightmare on Elm Street" and introduced the world to the
phantom serial killer Freddy Krueger. Although it wasn't a hit at the
box office, "Nightmare" made serious waves as a video.
Producers wanted sequels and
Craven agreed to co-write a screenplay for the third
film in the series.
the "Nightmare" series became a huge cultural phenomenon,
Craven suddenly caught the attention of major studios and was given
the money to direct some big-budget horror films, among them "Shocker,"
"The Serpent and the Rainbow"
and "People Under the Stairs."
By the late 1980s and early 1990s, Craven's technique and films were
actually improving, unlike the work of his contemporaries, such as John
Carpenter and George Romero.
While Romero and Carpenter's films were only getting worse and worse,
Craven hit another milestone with the offbeat "Nightmare on Elm
Street" entry, "Wes
Craven's New Nightmare." He
then redefined the horror film genre for a third time with the
landmark "Scream" in 1996. It would
mark the second time that Craven had spawned a lucrative horror film
franchise. Craven is easily the best horror filmmaker working today.
While Carpenter and some of Dario Argento's
newer films have been unwatchably bad, Craven's new work is still
groundbreaking. "Scream 3" was his
last horror film. At the time of this writing, he was reportedly
working on a dark version of "Alice in Wonderland."
official web site is at http://www.wescraven.com