Wes Craven on Film, Fear and Faith

The horror film director says people watch scary movies "not to get scared, but to deal with terrors they already feel."

BY: Ted Parks


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People go to horror movies, the director believes, not to get scared, but to deal with terrors they already feel. "That's why we have concepts of heaven and salvation, because there is a sense of being lost, of being under threat. We are, at our very basic ... these very frail little vehicles that keep running around."

When an audience leaves a scary movie, Craven said, "something has been released, something has been exorcised."

Craig Detweiler, City of the Angels co-producer, underscored the relevance of Craven's filmmaking for people of faith. "Wes Craven comes from a faith background. He understands Christianity, he understands conservative Christianity," Detweiler said. "He has first-hand experience of what the majority of people of faith in America have experienced and believe."

Craven "was created by the church of the 1950s," Detweiler said. "I think a film like `Nightmare on Elm Street' is a critique of a certain sanitized vision of America that he undoubtedly believes was less than honest."

Detweiler added, "if we're afraid of Freddy Krueger, then we don't stand a chance of dealing with the real everyday fears of what's going on in Afghanistan, what happened Sept. 11 ... what happened in Rwanda, what happened in Vietnam."

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