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Wes Craven: The Master Behind Our Nightmares Dies At Age 76

The Master of Horror Who Got His Start As a Humanities Professor

The legendary director behind such cult slasher flicks as "Scream" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street" died from brain cancer at age 76. 

Freddy Krueger seems like an absurdist creation to my adult self, yet Craven's imagination was a dark, fertile place. If you're an '80s kid like me, Freddy featured largely in your nightmares. And if you are a bit younger, the Ghostface mask from the '90s 'Scream' franchise still evokes a shudder.

But there's more to Craven than blood-curdling screams and meta horror. Did you know he wrote novels? Yes, this master of horror got his start as a humanities professor, only to leave academia to work on production in the porn industry. 

In 1972, scary movie history was made when Craven wrote, directed and edited "The Last House on the Left." The movie shocked the genre and, like all of Craven's body of work, inspired copycats and sequels galore.

He was above all a guy who knew how to reach into the subconscious and shake it up. He knew how to scare people senseless, which is a very rare talent indeed.

Once a horror fan girl who loved nothing better than a well-executed disembowelling scene, as a parent I no longer have the stomach for it (no pun). And yet he himself was a family man, survived by a wife, kids and grandchildren.

But one thing's for sure: the world will definitely be a less scary place without him in it, and that is extremely sad. 

Craven was still busy with several projects on the go. Fans in Toronto can look forward to the premiere of "The Girl in the Photographs," which the master produced. 

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