Wes Craven, master of horror, has died

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Wes Craven, the master of horror films, starting with the original Last House on the Left, the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream franchises, succumbed to brain cancer Sunday. He was 76.

His first film, Last House on the Left, which he wrote, directed and edited, was so shocking it sent viewers from the theaters feeling ill, was nonetheless a hit, drawing huge audiences. From there he went on to write or direct (or both) such horror classics as The Hills Have Eyes, and in 1984 he released the now iconic Nightmare on Elm Street, introducing monster-villain Freddy Krueger to worldwide audiences.

He again struck gold with Scream, an homage to — and spoof of — the horror movie genre he helped define. Craven famously referenced other horror films in the Scream movies.

in 1999 he was offered the opportunity to take on a dramatic film, directing Meryl Streep in Music of the Heart, a film about a music teacher in Harlem. Streep was nominated for an Oscar for her role.

That same year Craven had his first novel published by Simon and Schuster, The Fountain Society.

At the time of his death Craven was the executive producer for the Scream series on MTV and had other television projects, including one with the Weinstein Co. for WGN.

Wes Craven is survived by his wife Iya Labunka, who he wed in 2004, his sister Carol, children Jonathan and Jessica, grandchildren Miles, Max and Myra-Jean and stepdaughter Nina.

Wesley Earl Craven was born August 2, 1939 in Cleveland, Ohio.  He passed away in his Los Angeles home, Sunday, August 30, 2015.

The photo above is from the 1994 Wes Craven’s New Nightmare trailer on YouTube.