By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Wes Craven, master of horror film, was inspired by faith
Placeholder Image
To many people of Christian faith, Wes Craven may seem like no angel.

But the famed horror film director, who died of brain cancer recently at age 76, isn't just remembered for his iconic horror films, but for how his Christian background inspired his work.

Raised in a conservative Baptist home and educated at Wheaton College, Craven had a rigorous religious background, which he ultimately rejected. But while he may have left his beliefs behind, but as pop culture website Acculturated argued, some of those beliefs never left him.

"One cannot make films about evil if one has ceased really to believe in it, and Cravens winking at the mechanics of his genre seem to indicate a further attenuation of belief," Acculturated reported. The moral themes in Craven's movies were "a perfect distillation of the teaching of Bill Gothard, the rigorist preacher and fellow Wheaton alumnus who was filling stadiums at the same time Craven was packing theaters."

Craven told biographers repeatedly over the years that the building blocks for terror fests like "Nightmare on Elm Street" came from sermons about hell he'd heard as a young man. As Christian website Beliefnet reported, Craven believed his films inspired through fear what Christianity inspires through faith.

"That's why we have concepts of heaven and salvation, because there is a sense of being lost, of being under threat," Craven said. "We are, at our very basic ... these very frail little vehicles."

In some ways, argued Religion News Service, Craven's approach may have helped more people embrace Christian values than any sermon, especially for people who have fallen away from their faith.

"Craven spent his life hearing and then telling stories of good versus evil; stories where evil won, and we, the audience, had to ask ourselves, 'What now?'" RNS' Larua Turner reported. "Wes Cravens career is what happens when facile Christianity doesnt work and a person has to dig deeper to find the answers they werent getting."
Sign up for our E-Newsletters