Rising out of the mid-western suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, Wes Craven has become synonymous with genre bending and innovative horror, challenging audiences with his bold visions since the release of his first feature film, The Last House of the Left, which he wrote, directed, and edited in 1972. In the years since that controversial film’s arrival, Craven has demonstrated that he is a filmmaker with heart, guts, humor – and an unbridled imagination expanding into films, television, and literature.
Craven reinvented the youth horror genre again in 1984 with the classic A Nightmare on Elm Street, a film he wrote and directed. He conceived and co-wrote Elm Street III as well, and then after an absence of three more sequels, deconstructed the genre a decade after the original, writing and directing the audacious Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, which was nominated as Best Feature at the 1995 Independent Spirit Awards, and introduced the concept of self-reflexive genre films to the world. Craven has always had an eye for discovering fresh talent, something that contributes to the success of his films. While casting A Nightmare on Elm Street, Craven discovered the then unknown Johnny Depp. Craven later cast Sharon Stone in her first starring role for his film Deadly Blessing. He even gave Bruce Willis his first featured role in an episode of TV’s mid-80’s edition of The Twilight Zone.
In 1996 Craven reached a new level of success with the release of Scream. The film, which sparked the phenomenal trilogy, was the winner of MTV’s 1996 Best Movie Award and grossed more than $100 million domestically, as did Scream 2.
Between Scream 2 and Scream 3, Craven, offered the opportunity to direct a non-genre film for Miramax, helmed Music of the Heart (1999), a film that earned its star Meryl Streep an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. That same year, in the midst of directing, he completed his first novel, “The Fountain Society,” published by Simon & Shuster.
Craven again pushed his genre boundaries with the 2005 psychological thriller, Red Eye, starring Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy and Brian Cox. And in 2006 he deftly wrote and directed a romantic comedy homage to Oscar Wilde featuring Emily Mortimer and Rufus Sewell as a segment in the French ensemble production, Paris Je T’aime. Following this, just for the fun of it, Craven produced remakes of two of his earlier films for his genre fans, The Hills Have Eyes (2006) and The Last House on the Left (2009). Craven’s most recent written and directed film, My Soul To Take (2010), once again brought together a cast of up-and-coming young teens, and marked Craven’s first collaboration with wife and producer Iya Labunka, who also produced Scream 4, which reunited Craven with Kevin Williamson, as well as with stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette, not to mention newcomers Emma Roberts and Hayden Pannetierre.
Currently Craven, working with co-writer Steve Niles, is nearing completion of a 5-issue comic book series called “Coming of Rage”, which will make you forget everything you thought you knew about zombies, werewolves and vampires. Oh, and the film version won’t be far behind.