Wes Craven's memorable films: From Freddy Krueger to Meryl Streep
Director Wes Craven, left, and Robert Rodriguez pose together at the premiere of "Scream 4" in Los Angeles on April 11, 2011. (AP / Matt Sayles)
Nick Wells, CTV News
Published Monday, August 31, 2015 7:10AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, August 31, 2015 7:28AM EDT
Wes Craven, the filmmaker credited with revolutionizing horror movies with "A Nightmare on Elm Street," before poking fun at the genre with the "Scream" series, died on Sunday at the age of 76.
Here is a look at five of the most memorable films from Craven’s 40 years as a director, writer, and producer.
1. "Nightmare on Elm Street": Arguably the most famous of Craven's films, it was the first to feature the now iconic character Freddy Krueger, a sociopath with a blade-tipped glove, who killed teenagers in their dreams.
Released in 1984, the movie notably blended dream sequences with reality, blurring audiences’ perception of how much was real.
The movie has also starred a young Johnny Depp in his first film role. It turned out to be a memorable debut as his character was violently murdered while listening to music.
Making more than US$25 million at the box office, it launched a movie franchise which has recently been picked up for a reboot.
2. "Last House on the Left": Craven's 1972 debut as a writer-director garnered controversy. With a tagline of "To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'it's only a movie,'" the film captivated audiences and horrified film censors. It was subsequently banned in Britain due to its violence and rape scenes. An uncut version was later released there, in 2008.
Made for $87,000, the movie went on to gross more than US$3 million.
3. "Scream": Craven retains facets of his horror roots in this satire set in 1996. Characters regularly lampoon the plot of horror films, with one character listing a 'how to' guide for surviving every horror film ever made.
Filled with what was an all-star cast at the time, including 1990s icon Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette, the plot revolves around men who decide to act out a murderous horror movie.
The villain, based on the famous “Scream” painting by Edvard Munch, has since been lampooned in the “Scary Movie” film series.
4. "The Hills Have Eyes": Despite being only his second film as a director, "The Hills Have Eyes" was released with an "X" rating, with several scenes banned from theatres.
Exploring the troubles of a family stuck in the Nevada desert fighting off a family of cannibals, the movie was remade in 2006.
5. "Music of the Heart": A complete departure from Craven's slasher movies, this film featuring Meryl Streep focuses on the Opus 118 Harlem School of Music.
Despite disappointing box office returns, Streep earned an Academy Award nomination for her performance and the movie's theme song earned a nomination as well.