Monday, August 31, 2015

Wes Craven (1939-2015)

I couldn’t rightly consider Craven to be one of my favorite filmmakers. I have only ever seen ten (less than half) of his films, and only really found about half of those to be compelling. That said, at least three of his films are in my top 100 horror films, and a couple made my favorite list of their respective years. I have written about his stuff multiple times.

I find Wes Craven to be a bit of a tragic figure. By all accounts he was a kind man. His films show a man who thought a lot about reality and faith and even religion. Yet there is no indication that he was a man of faith, and certainly no evidence that he was a follower of Jesus. Some may think that that would be obvious considering his art and its themes, but things could have been much different.

Wes Craven grew up in a very conservative, Baptist home. He attended Wheaton College, a very conservative Christian school. And therein lies the tragedy. Mr. Craven grew up exposed to teachings about Jesus. He heard the good news. Or did he? Often times the super conservative skirt over the message of grace and forgiveness and dive right into behavior designed to keep us from sin; and by extension, the need for grace and forgiveness.

In Craven’s films we see a man curious about the world, reality, evil and good, and looking for truth. We also see hints of his legalistic background and the inconsistencies and lies that he experienced there. One wonders if he had really had an opportunity early on in life to truly hear the Gospel story would things have turned out differently. Probably not. With all the exposure he had to the spectrum of Christianity in life, the truth was there for him if he was really seeking. Still, it hurts to see someone with spiritual curiosity to not arrive at the truth.

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