Photo of Wes Craven Wes Craven

Horror maestro Wes Craven taught college-level humanities before transferring his bloody vision to celluloid, in the process reinventing the teen horror genre. Born in Cleveland Aug. 2, 1939, Craven worked as a production assistant and editor before directing his first feature, 1972's The Last House on the Left, a gore-fest (both panned and praised) that made everybody stand up and take notice.

Next up was The Hills Have Eyes (1977), a twisted morality tale about feuding families that again left critics and audiences divided. Craven then graduated to big-budget flicks such as Swamp Thing (1982) and 1984's A Nightmare on Elm Street, which unleashed Freddy Krueger on the world.

In 1996, Craven directed Scream, which spoofed (but embraced) the teen-scream genre. Scream 2 and Scream 3 followed, along with a departure for Craven, the sentimental Music of the Heart starring Meryl Streep.

Wes Craven in Music of the Heart

Music of the Heart

1999 PG

In director Wes Craven's inspiring Oscar-nominated drama -- which is based on a true story -- a violinist and single mother struggles to convince the administration at an East Harlem high school to let her establish a music program.

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