Glenn Dunks, our resident "Scream" fanatic says goodbye to Wes Craven...
It’s not easy writing about the passing of Wes Craven. The director who was synonymous with the horror genre, and in particular the slasher franchises A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, died on Sunday at age 76 from brain cancer after having battled ill health for several years and the news hit like a stab to the chest. His three-year illness likely explains why he hadn’t directed a film since 2011’s Scream 4, but it hadn’t stopped him from working altogether. He was completing a horror comic with Steve Niles called Coming of Rage, was developing a remake of his 1991 film The People Under the Stairs, and continued to executive produce MTV’s long-form TV adaptation of Scream.
There are few older celebrities whose death could hit as hard as Craven. He wasn’t just a great filmmaker, or a filmmaker with a lot of films that people liked. No, Wes Craven was quite literally a filmmaker that changed lives. A lot of ‘em – and that’s not an exaggeration. It’s genuinely hard to make even one, let alone two, generation-defining movies and it’s been wonderful to hear so many people, friends and strangers alike, share their stories on social media of how A Nightmare on Elm Street was the first horror film they ever saw and how it turned them into scare-seeking horror fiends. Or how Scream made them want to write about film. I’m one of those people, and there are a few extra Film Experience writers who share the same sentiments, but the numbers I've seen cite that seemingly inocuous 1996 slasher as a life inspiration has been surprising and actually comforting.
So when I went to write about his passing, I actually couldn’t. Not immediately, anyway. How do you describe the man who made the movies that defined our life? I hope he knew the effect his films had on people beyond simply scaring them.