I always find it sad when certain celebrities die, despite having no connection to them beyond enjoying the work they've produced. Or, these days, maybe a brief social media interaction, if you're lucky. Lots of people I admire die every year, but occasionally there's someone who inspires me to write something about them. Today, that's director Wes Craven.
The legendary horror director passed away at his Los Angeles home from brain cancer on Sunday, at the age of 76. This is the man who reinvented teen horror in the 1980s with A Nightmare on Elm Street—creating one of the genre's most successful and popular characters in the process: Freddy Krueger. For that alone Wes Craven earned a place in the Horror Hall of Fame, but he'd already made the astonishing Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes by then, and went on to create The Serpent and the Rainbow and The People Under the Stairs, until the seminal Scream franchise relaunched his career in 1996. He had his fair share of flops and stinkers, with his career hitting the skids at times, but most filmmakers struggle to make one pop-culture hit and Craven made a handful and felt relevant right till the end.
This is the man who invented Freddy Krueger, people; an extraordinary boogieman for the modern era whose overnight success turned New Line Cinema into a world-class film studio. So many people owe their careers to Craven's imagination, whether they know it or not, and the film world's a better place because he was around to scare us silly for over four decades.
The cool thing is, much like his iconic monster Freddy, Craven will always live on in our dreams, because he left behind a lot of nightmares for us to watch.