Wes Craven is one of the most beloved directors in horror, revolutionizing the slasher genre. After earning an undergraduate degree from Wheaton College and a graduate degree from Johns Hopkins University, Craven entered the world of academia as a history professor. During that time, he purchased a 16mm film camera and began making short films. He ultimately left his teaching job to pursue a career in film in NYC, getting his first job as a sound editor.
He went on to work behind-the-scenes the porn industry, writing and editing erotic films under a pseudonym, including "Deep Throat." He then made his horror debut in 1972 with "The Last House on the Left," which he directed, edited and wrote. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, he continued to establish himself in horror, releasing "The Hills Have Eyes," "Deadly Blessing" and "Swamp Thing." Then in in 1984 he directed and wrote his biggest film to date, "A Nightmare on Elm Street."
"A Nightmare on Elm Street" followed a group of teenagers (including a young Johnny Depp in his film debut) who were tormented and killed in their dreams by killer named Freddy Krueger, a man with severely burned skin and a glove covered in long, sharp razors. It's considered to be one of the greatest horror movies ever made and spawned a number of sequels. None of the franchises' sequels, aside from "Wes Craven's New Nightmare" were directed by Craven. But that doesn't mean Craven was done with creating horror movies.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Craven continued to make successful horror movies and then in 1996 he debuted his second most successful franchise with "Scream." Like "A Nightmare on Elm Street," "Scream" followed a cast of high school students but instead of an otherworldly villain, their killer was a human slasher wearing a ghostface Halloween costume. The film played heavily on horror movie tropes, some Craven himself helped to establish in the genre, and featured a stellar ensemble cast. The first film's cast included performances by Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan and Drew Barrymore. It spawned four sequels, all directed by Craven, the last of which was released in 2011 and became Craven's last film before he passed away in 2015.
In honor of what would have been Wes Craven's 81st birthday, we're celebrating his legacy with tattoos inspired by "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Scream." Take a look at these incredible horror tattoos in the gallery below and let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments section on social media.