Horror film director Wes Craven dies, aged 76

SCREAM 2 star Sarah Michelle Gellar has led tributes to Nightmare on Elm Street director Wes Craven, who has died aged 76.

Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream Wes Craven has died after battling brain cancer. Picture: AP

She joined a host of stars praising Craven, one of the most famous names in the horror film genre.

Craven’s family said in a statement that he died at his Los Angeles home after battling brain cancer.

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“I had the great privilege of working with Wes Craven, one of the kindest most gentle souls, who made great scary films. RIP Wes Craven,” said Gellar.

His Nightmare on Elm Street movies, featuring one of horror’s most iconic characters Freddy Krueger, propelled him to fame.

The first, released in 1984, starred a then unknown Johnny Depp.

In 1996 he released Scream, starring Friends actress Courteney Cox, Drew Barrymore, Neve Campbell and David Arquette.

The movie went on to have several sequels and is cited as having reinvented the ‘teen horror genre’.

Cox paid tribute on social media, writing: “Today the world lost a great man, my friend and mentor, Wes Craven. My heart goes out to his family.”

Bridesmaids director Paul Feig wrote: “RIP Wes Craven. You were one of a kind. Thanks for all the years of scares and fun.”

Actor Jamie Kennedy said he would have had “no career if it were not for Wes Craven”.

“Thank you for believing in me and giving me a chance,” he wrote.

What’s Love Got To Do With It star Angela Bassett wrote: “He was a kind and generous soul as well as possessing a wicked sense of humour. I feel blessed to have worked with him. He always invited me to the table, and for that I am grateful.”

Craven also directed the 1999 drama, Music of the Heart, which earned Meryl Streep an Oscar nomination.

Craven was married to producer Iya Labunka, and is survived by her, a son, a daughter and a stepdaughter.