Wes Craven (born August 2, 1939 in Cleveland, Ohio) is an American film director and writer best known as the creator of many horror films, including the Nightmare on Elm Street series.
Born to devoutly Baptist parents Paul Craven and Caroline Miller, Wes earned an undergraduate degree in writing and psychology from Wheaton College in Illinois, and a masters degree in Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to landing his first job in the film industry as a sound editor for a post-production company in New York, Craven briefly taught English at Westminster College and was a humanities professor at Clarkson College. With ex-wife Bonnie Chapin, he is the father of Jonathan and Jessica Craven.
Craven's work shares a common exploration of the nature of reality. A Nightmare on Elm Street, for example, dealt with the consequences of dreams in real life. The Serpent and the Rainbow portrays a man who can't distinguish between nightmarish visions and reality. New Nightmare brushes against the fourth wall by having actress Heather Langenkamp play herself as she is haunted by the villain of the film she once starred in. At one point in the film, we see on Wes Craven's word processor a script he has written, which includes word-for-word the conversation he just had with Heather. In Scream, the characters frequently reference horror films similar to the situation they are in, and at one point Billy Loomis tells his girlfriend that life is just a big movie. This concept was emphasized in the sequels, as copycat stalkers reenact the events of a film that has just been made about the Woodsboro killings.