Wesley Earl Craven (August 2, 1939 – August 30, 2015) was an American film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and editor. He made his feature debut with the cult classic The Last House on the Left (1972), with Sandra Peabody, Lucy Grantham, David A. Hess, Fred Lincoln, Jeramie Rain, Marc Sheffler; followed by The Hills Have Eyes (1977), with Susan Lanier, Michael Berryman, and Dee Wallace. His breakout film was the slasher A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), with Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, and Robert Englund; which gave birth to a long running franchise. He would also co-write A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), with Langenkamp, Patricia Arquette, Laurence Fishburne, Priscilla Pointer, Craig Wasson, and Englund; and direct Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994).
Other notable films in the 1980s include Deadly Blessing (1981), with Ernest Borgnine, Maren Jensen, Susan Buckner, and Sharon Stone; Swamp Thing (1982), with Louis Jourdan, Adrienne Barbeau, Dick Durock, and Ray Wise; Deadly Friend (1986), with Matthew Laborteaux, Kristy Swanson, Michael Sharrett, Anne Twomey, Richard Marcus, and Anne Ramsey; The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988), with Bill Pullman, Cathy Tyson, Zakes Mokae, and Paul Winfield; and Shocker (1989), with Michael Murphy, Peter Berg, Cami Cooper, and Mitch Pileggi.
Craven is also best known for directing the first four films in the Scream franchise (1996-2011), collectively with Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Jamie Kennedy, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich, Drew Barrymore, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Laurie Metcalf, Jerry O’Connell, Elise Neal, Timothy Olyphant, Jada Pinkett, Liev Schreiber, Patrick Dempsey, Scott Foley, Lance Henriksen, Matt Keeslar, Jenny McCarthy, Emily Mortimer, Parker Posey, Deon Richmond, Patrick Warburton, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Anthony Anderson, Alison Brie, Adam Brody, Rory Culkin, Marielle Jaffe, Erik Knudsen, Mary McDonnell, Marley Shelton, Nico Tortorella, and Anna Paquin.
Other notable films include The People Under the Stairs (1991), with Brandon Adams, Everett McGill, Wendy Robie, and A.J. Langer; Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), with Eddie Murphy, Angela Bassett, Allen Payne, Kadeem Hardison, John Witherspoon, Mokae, and Joanna Cassidy; his only non horror film Music of the Heart (1999), with Meryl Streep, Aidan Quinn, Bassett, Gloria Estefan, Jane Leeves, Kieran Culkin, Jay O. Sanders, and Cloris Leachman; Cursed (2005), with Christina Ricci, Jesse Eisenberg, Joshua Jackson, and Judy Greer; Red Eye (2005), with Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, and Brian Cox; a segment of the anthology film Paris, je t’aime (2006), with Mortimer, Rufus Sewell, and Alexander Payne; and My Soul to Take (2010), with Max Thieriot, Denzel Whitaker, Raul Esparza, and Shareeka Epps.
Each review will be linked to the title below.
(*seen originally in theaters)
(**seen rereleased in theaters)
- Last House on the Left (1972)
- The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
- Deadly Blessing (1981)
- Swamp Thing (1982)
- The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1984)
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
- Deadly Friend (1986)
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) – directed by Chuck Russell – co-writer, co-story
- The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)
- Shocker (1989)
- The People Under the Stairs (1991)
- Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)
- Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)
- Scream (1996)
- Scream 2 (1997)
- Music of the Heart (1999)
- Scream 3 (2000)
- Cursed (2005)
- Red Eye (2005)
- Paris, je t’aime (2006) – directed with Emmanuel Benbihy, Joel & Ethan Coen, Nobuhiro Suwa, Olivier Assayas, Gus Van Sant, Gurinder Chadha, Frédéric Auburtin & Gérard Depardie, Sylvain Chomet, Vincenzo Natali, Richard LaGravenese, Tom Tykwer, Isabel Coixet Castillo, Christopher Doyle, Alexander Payne, Walter Salles & Daniela Thomas, Alfonso Cuarón, Bruno Podalydès, & Oliver Schmitz – anthology