The Courier-Mail




HE WAS the man who fu­elled the night­mares of a gen­er­a­tion by cre­at­ing hor­ror film char­ac­ter Freddy Krueger and who star­tled au­di­ences by re­defin­ing the slasher genre with Scream.

Pro­lific writer-di­rec­tor Wes Craven died yesterday in his Los An­ge­les home, sur­rounded by his fam­ily, af­ter bat­tling brain can­cer. He was 76.

Craven (pic­tured) helped rein­vent the teen hor­ror genre with 1984’s A Night­mare on Elm Street, whose knife-fin­gered vil­lain Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) led to sev­eral se­quels, as did Craven’s 1996 suc­cess, Scream.

“He was a con­sum­mate film­maker and his body of work will live on for­ever,” said Weinstein Com­pany co-chair­man Bob Weinstein, who pro­duced Scream.

“Hor­ror films don’t cre­ate fear,” Craven once said. “They re­lease it.”

Craven was born in Cleve­land, Ohio, in 1939, to a strict Bap­tist fam­ily. His start in movies was di­rect­ing pornog­ra­phy but his de­but un­der his own name was 1972’s The Last House on the Left, a film about teenage girls ab­ducted and taken into the woods. Graphic enough to be cen­sored in many coun­tries, it was a hit. A Night­mare on Elm Street cat­a­pulted him to greater renown in 1984, with an un­known Johnny Depp and a killer who stalks teens in their dreams. It helped de­fine a hor­ror tra­di­tion where help­less teens are preyed upon by knife-wield­ing killers in cruel moral­ity tales.

Craven is sur­vived by his wife, pro­ducer Iya Labunka, a son, a daugh­ter and a step­daugh­ter.

In 2010, he said: “My goal is to die in my 90s on set, say ‘that’s a wrap’ af­ter the last shot, fall over dead and have the grips go out and raise a beer to me.”

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