Wes Craven Biography

Wes Craven photo

Born: August 02, 1939


Date of Birth: August 2, 1939

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Wes Craven earned a B.A. in Psychology and Education from Wheaton College in Illinois, then went on to receive a Masters in Philosophy from J. Hopkins University. He settled down, married and became a humanities professor at Clarkson College in Potsdam, NY.

Unsatisfied with teaching, he worked as a taxi driver for awhile before becoming a sound editor for a post production film company. Craven got his start as a director with the low-budget film Together (1971), co-directing it with the film's writer. Craven's next film would be of the genre that would eventually make him famous, a horror called The Last House on the Left (1972), which he wrote as well as directed. Though the movie received mixed reviews, with many critics calling it garbage, it made enough money that Craven was given the go-ahead for another horror film.

The Hills Have Eyes (1977) did even better at the box office and was the first of Craven's films to win an award -- the Prize of the International Critics' Jury at the Catalonia International Film Festival. However, his biggest hit was yet to come. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) introduced audiences to Freddy Krueger, one of the scariest movie serial murderers ever. Featuring a 19-year-old Johnny Depp making his movie debut in the role of Glen Lantz, the film made over $25 million at the domestic box office and won a Critics Award at the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival.

The film established Craven as a master of horror and spawned several sequels, although Craven was only involved with two of them. His name began to appear before the titles of his films, as with the TV movie Wes Craven's Chiller (1985) and the features Wes Craven's The People Under the Stairs (1991), Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994) and Wes Craven's Vampire in Brooklyn (1995). However, his next big hit would be Scream (1996), starring Neve Campbell, which grossed over $100 million at the domestic box office. It was so popular that Craven went on to make two sequels.

With The Music of the Heart (1999) starring Meryl Streep, Craven tried to get away from the horror genre. Unfortunately, though critics enjoyed the heartwarming drama, it lost money at the box office, so following Scream 3 (2000), Craven re-teamed with Scream screenwriter Kevin Williamson for a brand new horror called Cursed (2005), starring Christina Ricci.

Craven, who lives in Los Angeles, has a son and a daughter from his first marriage. In his spare time he enjoys birdwatching.


Red Eye (2005)
Cursed (2005)
Scream 3 (2000)
Music of the Heart (1999)
Scream 2 (1997)
Scream (1996)
Wes Craven's Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)
Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)
Wes Craven's The People Under the Stairs (1991)
Shocker (1989)
The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)
Deadly Friend (1986)
The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1985)
A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
Swamp Thing (1982)
Deadly Blessing (1981)
The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
The Last House on the Left (1972)
Together (1971)

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