Though he originally intended to be a college professor, writer-director Wes Craven ditched academia to become one of the most widely recognized practitioners of the horror film, eventually becoming synonymous with the genre itself. After emerging onto the filmmaking scene with the reviled revenge flick "Last House on the Left" (1972), Craven worked as an editor and unproduced screenwriter until his next film, "The Hills Have Eyes" (1977), a cult classic that helped establish a fan base that propelled his career forward. He continued along with several mid-level horror films before striking gold with "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984), which introduced the malevolent Freddie Krueger to the world, one of the most iconic horror villains of all time. Though the film spawned numerous sequels that earned over $500 million at the box office, Craven was unable to reap the rewards due to signing away all financial rights in order to get the film made. Despite such a colossal business error, the director went on to make numerous film and television projects throughout the ensuing years, most of which lacked the ingenuity and freshness of the original "Nightmare." But he finally had a large scale Hollywood success with "Scream" (1996) and its sequels, which both reveled in and parodied all the horror conventions that Craven helped establish throughout his career. Eventually settling for his share of the "Nightmare" profits after negotiations decades later, the director settled into a comfortable groove of compelling shockers like "Red Eye" (2005) and "My Soul to Take" (2010), confirming that Craven was above all others as a true master of horror.