The king of slasher flicks passed away today — and this time, there's no plot twist. Director, writer and producer Wes Craven, 76, leaves behind a legacy with his repertoire of horror films: Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes. With a career spanning decades, it's no surprise that he's helped launch a few careers on the way, including those of young, impressionable actors looking to break into Hollywood. As Twitter tributes came pouring in (including one by David Arquette, who apparently created an acccount just to convey his condolences), we can't help but notice an outpour of gratitude from those he's helped along the way.
Sharon Stone had an early start in the thriller/suspense genre way before Basic Instinct. Her role as a spider eating youth in the 1981 horror Deadly Blessing was the star's first credited film appearance, and she has Craven to thank. While the film didn't do spectacularly well, it did give audiences an introduction to Stone's feminine wiles, which, coupled with her acting chops, have stayed through her illustrious, two decade-long career.
What a way to make a film debut — 21 year-old Depp was an unknown when he was cast in Nightmare on Elm Street, after actor Nicholas Cage reportedly suggested he give acting a try. Depp was cast as boy next door Glen Lantz in the 1984 movie after Craven reportedly chose his audition photos with the help of his teenage daughter. "He's beautiful," she exclaimed — and the rest was history. The horror flick went on to become an unexpected indie win, surpassing its limited budget and setting the tone for copycat slasher movies to come.
Craven cast Bruce Willis in an episode of Twilight Zone in 1985. Directed by Craven and based on a short story by Harlan Ellison, the episode Shatterday opens with Willis accidentally dialing his own number and finding out the man he is talking to is in fact himself. This was a year prior to his role in the television series Moonlighting, where he won an Emmy and Golden Globe throughout its four-year run. Willis went on to star in other notable flicks in the 80s, such as Blind Date and Die Hard, before sealing himself in the Hollywood circuit with a high-profile marriage and even more high-profile roles — as the ghost in The Sixth Sense.