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Wes Craven

Wes CravenAKA Wesley Earl Craven

Born: 2-Aug-1939
Birthplace: Cleveland, OH
Died: 30-Aug-2015
Location of death: Los Angeles, CA
Cause of death: Cancer - Brain

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Film Director

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Freddy Krueger's father

Wes Craven was raised in a very strict Baptist family, and never saw a movie until he went to college. He earned degrees in psychology and philosophy, and taught humanities for several years before realizing he was bored silly. He quit the classroom, and worked as a taxi driver before finding a job as a sound editor in a New York film post-production shop. Then Craven and a friend, Sean S. Cunningham, co-directed an X-rated film called Together, with Marilyn Chambers and lots of nudity, but no sex and no particular plot. Craven and Cunningham then used the proceeds to fund their first horror flick, The Last House on the Left.

Shot in 16mm, it was a low-budget "revenge for rape" grotesquerie directed by Craven alone, so shocking that was banned in the U.K., New Zealand, and West Germany. In some American cities, several minutes of the film had to be snipped before it could be shown. Last House made Craven controversial, but it didn't make him successful. He spent several years working behind the scenes on schlock, as a film editor and unproduced screenwriter.

His next film, The Hills Have Eyes, was scary too, but not so scary it was banned, and after that he was a bankable director of low- to mid-budgeted horror movies. In 1984, Craven's A Nightmare On Elm Street scared the hell out of millions of people, becoming a huge popular and critical success, and making the murderous Freddy Krueger a part of American pop culture. Over the next decade Nightmare on Elm Street was often imitated, often by Craven himself.

He later directed Scream (1996), an enormously profitable parody/homage to Nightmare on Elm Street and other horror film clichés, written by Kevin Williamson. As an inside joke, Craven made cameo appearances in three Scream films.

Craven occasionally stepped out of the horror genre, with minimal success. In 1989, he created a sitcom called The People Next Door with Jeffrey Jones, which lasted only a few weeks. In 1999 he directed Music of the Heart, with Meryl Streep as a violin teacher.

Cunningham, Craven's partner in those early films, eventually went his own way, producing low-budget horror movies including House, House 2: The Second Story, and several Friday the 13th sequels.

Father: Paul Craven (d.)
Mother: Caroline Miller
Wife: Bonnie Broecker (m. 1964, div. 1969, one son, one daughter)
Son: Jonathan Craven (b. 1965)
Daughter: Jessica Craven (school teacher, b. 1968)
Wife: Mimi Craven (flight attendant, m. 1984, div. 1987)

    University: BA Psychology and Education, Wheaton College Illinois (1963)
    University: MA Philosophy, Johns Hopkins University (1964)
    Professor: Humanities, Clarkson College

    Dean for America
    John Kerry for President
    Young Musicians Foundation Celebrity Director
    Risk Factors: Brain Cancer

    Scream 4 (13-Apr-2011)
    My Soul to Take (7-Oct-2010)
    Paris, je t'aime (18-May-2006)
    Red Eye (4-Aug-2005)
    Cursed (7-Nov-2004)
    Scream 3 (4-Feb-2000)
    Music of the Heart (6-Sep-1999)
    Scream 2 (12-Dec-1997)
    Scream (20-Dec-1996)
    Vampire in Brooklyn (23-Jan-1995)
    New Nightmare (9-Sep-1994)
    The People Under the Stairs (1-Nov-1991)
    Shocker (27-Oct-1989)
    The Serpent and the Rainbow (15-Jan-1988)
    Deadly Friend (10-Oct-1986)
    The Hills Have Eyes Part II (12-Sep-1985)
    Chiller (22-May-1985)
    A Nightmare on Elm Street (9-Nov-1984)
    Invitation to Hell (24-May-1984)
    Swamp Thing (16-Jul-1982)
    Deadly Blessing (14-Aug-1981)
    Stranger in Our House (31-Oct-1978)
    The Hills Have Eyes (22-Jul-1977)
    The Last House on the Left (30-Aug-1972)

    Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film (13-Oct-2006) · Himself
    Paris, je t'aime (18-May-2006)
    Inside Deep Throat (11-Feb-2005) · Himself
    Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (24-Aug-2001) · Himself
    Welcome to Hollywood (27-Oct-2000) · Himself
    The American Nightmare (11-Sep-2000) · Himself
    Hitchcock: Shadow of a Genius (13-Oct-1999) · Himself
    Shadow Zone: The Undead Express (27-Oct-1996) · Counsellor
    The Fear (1995)
    New Nightmare (9-Sep-1994) · Himself
    Body Bags (8-Aug-1993)
    Shocker (27-Oct-1989) · Man Neighbor

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