He brought horror to the lives of countless millions and he'll be sadly missed. Wes Craven, the 76-year-old filmmaker best known for creating the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream movies, died of brain cancer yesterday, Variety reports. Craven—who started out as a humanities professor and made porn movies under a fake name before breaking into horror with The Last House on the Left in 1972—explored other movie genres, including the 1999 Meryl Streep drama Music of the Heart. But his name will be "forever linked to horror movies," just as Alfred Hitchcock's is to thrillers, writes Josh Rottenberg at the Los Angeles Times.
Craven, raised by strict Baptist parents who wouldn't let him go to the movies, once described his films as a journey into the audience's unconscious. "Whether it be psychotic behavior or being possessed or being in a killing rage, whatever it is, these are things that are not part of our rational grid," he told the Times in 2010. "Those things are primordial to the human species, the double curse of being aware of your own existence and being kind of alone in it." Craven was busy right up until the end, with multiple TV projects on the go, including MTV's Scream series and the "Thou Shalt Not Kill" segment of the Weinstein Company's Ten Commandments series, Variety reports. In a statement, Bob Weinstein mourned Craven as a "consummate filmmaker" and a close friend. (Read more Wes Craven stories.)