Listen to Wes Craven Talk Terror at the 2013 Boston Book Festival
Filmmaker Wes Craven, acclaimed for slasher films like the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream franchises, died on Sunday in Los Angeles after battling brain cancer. He was 76.
In 2013, Craven, who spent summers on Martha’s Vineyard, where he penned a column on birds for Martha’s Vineyard magazine, appeared at the Boston Book Festival for a session titled “Writing Terror: An Exploration of Fear.”
“I feel like I’m here to be comic relief,” joked Craven, whose fellow speakers at the festival kick-off session included former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly, and terrorism expert Jessica Stern.
The 2013 festival took place at Copley Square just a few months after the Boston Marathon bombings, and host Joe Klein, a political columnist for TIME, prodded Craven and his fellow panelists to discuss terrors both real and imagined.
When asked about a time that he was most terrified, Craven described an incident from his childhood during which a fedora-clad man lurked outside his apartment building in Cleveland.
“It was just truly evil,” said the filmmaker of the man’s stare. “That scared the hell out of me.”
Decades later, Craven would go on to use the incident as inspiration for serial killer Freddy Kruger in A Nightmare on Elm Street.
“Why would a grown-up person want to frighten a child like that and take such pleasure in it? It just gave me an early clue to the evil that there is in some people,” he said.
In the hour-long session, Craven also gave a sneak peek of his then-upcoming graphic novel series Coming of Rage, developed in collaboration with Steve Niles, and briefly discussed his concerns about global warming and government secrecy, as well as fears that arise during the creative process.