The death of filmmaker Wes Craven marks the passing of a fascinating era in cinema history. A former academic who broke into the business in sound editing, his major contribution was in the horror genre. His first film as director, The Last House on the Left (1972) was, truly, horrible, making a controversial episode in the slasher cycle. A decade later the Nightmare on Elm Street series (1984-) would capitalise on the fashion for urban legends amongst American teens. In the 90s he made the ultimate postmodern horror from a Kevin Williamson screenplay, Scream (1996). It was funny, self-referential and gave the audience a respect hitherto unusual in the genre. It would mark the beginning of another successful franchise. His films dealt with the blurring of reality and imagination and nightmare – fertile ground for someone educated in philosophy and psychology. He never stopped working and had just signed up for new television productions. He will be missed.