Wes Craven (1939–2015) wrote and directed horror films that changed the genre for audiences and filmmakers. The Last House on the Left (1972) and The Hills Have Eyes (1977) engage savage violence to critique a self-satisfied complacent culture, while A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994) uncover new philosophical significance in the slasher subgenre. Craven has often been dismissed as merely a genre filmmaker, yet his effect on his genre was profound, precisely because he established genre conventions instead of following them.

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