A Tribute To Wes Craven (1939-2015)

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About Wes Craven

wes craven on set camera
Image: wescraven.com

 

 

 

Wesley Earl “Wes” Craven was born August 2, 1939 in Cleveland, OH. Raised in a strict Baptist environment, young Wes nevertheless “went his own way” from the beginning, studying English and Psychology at Wheaton College, IL. He later received his Master’s degree in Philosophy and, not surprisingly, writing at Johns Hopkins University.

Briefly an English and Humanities professor, Craven left academia for film, doing a direct 180 from his former scholarly pursuits to break briefly into pornography production. By 1972, Craven had taken the reins and directed his first feature film, The Last House on the Left.

Craven went on to write, direct, produce (or all three) more than three decades worth of films, primarily in the horror genre. Continuously pushing the envelope and “forcing” audiences face-to-face with unsavory characters – and sometimes, the viewers’ own innermost dark impulses – Craven brilliantly blended horror, camp, urban legend and shocking themes to create a category all his own.

Craven achieved a number of awards during his lifetime, including a Saturn Award, the Sitges Film Festival Critic’s Award (1977) for The Hills Have Eyes, and Grand Prize at the Gerardmer Film Festival (1997) for Scream. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the New York City Horror Festival in 2012.

Craven died August 30, 2015 of brain cancer. He was 76. He is survived by children Jonathan (b. 1965) and Jessica (b. 1968) and wife Iya Labunka.

Next: A Candid Interview with Wes Craven

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