Horror director Wes Craven has died. He was 76.
Craven is best known for a pair of franchises, both groundbreakers in their own way.
The first was A Nightmare on Elm Street, which introduced the horror icon Freddy Krueger. The character, as played by actor Robert Englund, was a killer that attacked the teenagers of the titular Elm Street in their dreams. While the character seemed to get progressively sillier with each appearance, Krueger is perhaps the best example of a common Craven theme of great evil hiding in banal places. Elm Street on the surface was a harmless little suburb, and unlike other slasher killers of that era, Freddy didn’t seem to have it in for people doing drugs or having sex out of wedlock (Jason Vorhees really hated anyone who strayed away from traditional values), but he was hiding in plain sight…if you consider dream land plain sight.
Craven would show similar banality hiding evil in other films like The People Under the Stairs and The Last House on the Left.
Craven also gets credit for the Scream series, which mocked and upheld the common tropes of the slasher horror film. Ghostface may not have been as iconic as Freddy, but he sure is a recognizable figure all the same.