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Master Horror Movie Director, Wes Craven, Dies At 76

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Master Horror Movie Director, Wes Craven, Dies At 76

Remembrances

Master Horror Movie Director, Wes Craven, Dies At 76

Master Horror Movie Director, Wes Craven, Dies At 76

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/436229333/436229334" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Wes Craven, the legendary horror movie director behind the franchises — A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream — has died at age 76. Craven is credited with reinventing the teen horror genre.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Please do not read anything into this transition, in which we turn from politics to horror films.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character, singing) One, two, Freddy's coming for you...

INSKEEP: That music is from "A Nightmare On Elm Street," and it's on our minds as we say goodbye to the movie's director, Wes Craven. He had cancer and died yesterday at 76.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Craven was still working until recently, filming new works for the big screen and for television. That includes a new MTV series based on his other hit movie franchise "Scream." That film mocked his own genre while still creating terror out of something as simple as a phone call.

(SOUNDBITE OF PHONE RINGING)

INSKEEP: Don't answer it.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SCREAM")

DREW BARRYMORE: (As Casey) Hello?

ROGER L. JACKSON: (As Phone voice) Why don't you want to talk to me?

MONTAGNE: "Scream" played on a sensation that Craven himself created with "A Nightmare On Elm Street." The 1984 movie set a new standard for American horror films.

INSKEEP: He cast Hollywood upstarts, including Johnny Depp, as doomed teens who struggled not to fall asleep and into the clutches of Freddy Krueger.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM TRAILER, "A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET")

UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR: Something is coming to get them.

AMANDA WYSS: (As Tina) There's something out there, isn't there?

MONTAGNE: Craven talked about his craft in a 2008 conversation with Bob Shaye, founder of New Line Cinema. He marveled that he was allowed to make "A Nightmare On Elm Street."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

WES CRAVEN: Everybody in Hollywood thought it was either dumb or too scary or not scary enough.

INSKEEP: But he persisted, even though his movies caused other people to think less of him.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CRAVEN: When you do horror films, people always assume that you have a very limited perspective. But myself and most of the other horror film directors that I know are very broadly educated people, and they have a lot of other things in their life.

MONTAGNE: Wes Craven was, among other things, a devoted birdwatcher, a longtime board member of the California chapter of the Audubon Society. He once said scary movies don't win Oscars, but his films did delight audiences by scaring the daylights out of them.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character, singing) Three, four, better hug your door. Five, six...

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