Master of horror Wes Craven passed away yesterday due to brain cancer. The man behind The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream left behind a massive legacy that impacted not just the world of horror movies, but filmmaking and pop culture as a whole.
Craven was raised in a strict Baptist household, and didn't actually see a non-Disney movie until his senior year of college, risking expulsion to do so. (The college was an Evangelical institution.) The film was To Kill a Mockingbird, and was the beginning of the end of Craven's adherence to the strict faith in which he was raised. "If this is considered sin, they gotta be wrong," Craven remembers thinking at the time.
Craven eventually moved to New York to get into the film industry, beginning with working on pornographic films and eventually making his own features. In this special feature from a Nightmare on Elm Street box set, Craven talks about how he sees himself and his place in film. "It's very difficult to know what will later be judged as art," he says. "I guess what I've tried to do is to make movies where I can honestly say, 'I haven't seen that before.'"
He also talks about what he'd like on his epitaph, having once been told that if you're in the film business, the best appellation you can have is "filmmaker." Craven says, "If you can honestly say that, that's all you need to say. I think I would like that on my gravestone, along with 'Whatever you do, don't fall asleep.'"