Wes Craven, who was famous for creating the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream franchises, passed away Sunday after a battle with brain cancer.
Craven impacted many of The Young Folks’ staff childhoods with his classic horror films. A few of us take a moment to remember Wes Craven and appreciate his contribution to cinema and the horror genre.
Wes Craven was one of the most important people in the horror genre, specifically when it came to slasher flicks. His work revitalized the genre several times, first with the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and later with the Scream franchise. His introduction of meta-horror with Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and the Scream franchise flipped the entire genre on its head, making horror storytelling deeper, smarter, and scarier. I’ll always be thankful for his work with Kevin Williamson on Scream. The movie proved to be a gateway horror film for me and raised the standards for all other slasher flicks that came after it. It taught me that horror could be smart, self-aware, and witty—not to mention feminist, a quality found lacking in many of its predecessors. His genius will be sorely missed.—Bri Lockhart
When you go to sleep at night, there’s no telling what your dreams will be made up of. It could be that person from HR, who you’ve been obsessed with for months. Or it could be a crazed serial killer chasing you with razor sharp claws and a striped sweater and fedora. Because of Wes Craven, my dreams were mainly the latter. I’m not mad at all, though. In fact, I’m thankful. My introduction to horror started when I thought it would be cool to watch Nightmare on Elm Street at 8 P.M. on a school night. What I thought would be an enlightening, rebellious experience turned into a whole week of shivering under my blankets. While that may have cost me a math test or two, it led me into the world of slashers and gore. From horror parodies to straight up traumatizing scenes, Craven will always be known as the one as one of the horror masters. He’s the guy that dreams are made of (literally). – Yasmin Kleinbart
There is a certain, unshakable terror that comes from a well-crafted and developed horror movie. It is more than just setting up the atmosphere and delivering jump scares with (probably thrown) animals. To be truly scary, you have to create something that feels like it can exist in the realm of reality, but also is fantastical enough to inspire helplessness. Wes Craven excelled at creating those legendary type of villains and made them real enough to give us nightmares decades later. He was also revolutionary is having the main protagonists being strong woman in a genre that famously victimizes and sexualizes them right before they are murdered. Wes Craven will be greatly missed, but like the scares he inspires, he will not be soon forgotten. – Jon Espino