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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