Wes Craven: Tributes Flow In For The Sweet-Natured Dream Warrior Who Created Our Nightmares

Wes Craven, one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of Hollywood horror, passed away last week when he succumbed to brain cancer at his Los Angeles home. Since then, a flurry of tributes have flown in from all directions, most notably from his co-writer, Kevin Williamson, who was responsible for bringing us the Scream series.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Williamson recalled Wes Craven as a gentle, thoughtful man who never betrayed any of the traits we commonly associate with the characters in the movies. Remembering one of his early meetings with the Master of Horror, Williamson wrote that not only was Wes Craven a fantastic director, but also a great teacher for young novices.

“I remember the first day of shooting. It was raining and freezing. We were huddled in a video village outside a remote house in Northern California while Drew Barrymore was answering a phone inside. It was first-day chaos. I was soaking up every moment. I overheard a conversation Wes was having with the DP about a Dutch angle. He saw me listening, my face a question mark. He pulled me aside and explained. ‘First ring. Everything is in its proper place. But with the second ring it’s time to give the audience their first moment of dread — with a slight shift in perspective. They shouldn’t notice it. It needs to be subconscious at this point.’ So, here is the director of the movie, in the middle of his stressful, busy first day giving this novice kid from Goose Creek a master class in building tension. Beyond his filmmaking brilliance, it is his kind nature and quiet grace I will remember most.”

Not only that, in a rather lengthy epilogue Williamson wrote in tribute to Wes Craven, he went on to mention that he will always remember the director as a master of kindness, grace, class, and poise. Among those who also paid tribute to Wes Craven were Canadian actress Neve Campbell, Friends star Courteney Cox, the great American producer Bob Weinstein, and fellow director Sam Raimi, among several other famous celebrities.

Meanwhile, according to Gulf News, Venice Film Festival is also set to pay its own tribute to Wes Craven when it screens some of the director’s best known movies in this year’s edition, including the bloody 1984 classic A Nightmare on Elm Street. Speaking about the director’s contribution to the genre of horror, festival director Alberto Barbera said Wes Craven managed to innovate horror in the late 1990s, a period when it was slowly dying out.

“[Wes Craven] was an auteur who has managed to innovate a genre — horror — which is among the most loved, particularly among the young.”

Indeed. Wes Craven will always remain in our hearts, and in our nightmares.

[Photo: Frazer Harrison, Jason Merritt / Getty Images]