Wes Craven was a quiet, kind man who made violently transgressive films. The writers he chatted with pointed out the seeming conundrum frequently in the new compilation, Wes Craven: Interviews. Tony Williams wrote, “Unlike his films, Wes Craven is a quiet, retiring youthful forty-year old” while Tom Seligson noted, “He’s so pleasant-looking, good-natured, and soft-spoken, it’s hard to imagine Craven as the director of two of the most violent films ever made.” It’s one of many recurring points in the book. The other, which is both noted by interviewers and apparent in his own words, is Craven’s brilliance.
He comments on being kind while creating violent films, explaining where his first hit, the downright nasty The Last House on the Left, came from. In 2009, he told the AV Club that, “I was very much influenced—and I think the whole country was kind of in a state of shock—for the first time seeing the horror and cruelty of war. Recently shot 16mm footage was coming back [from Vietnam] and appearing on television immediately.” His contention was that rather than inventing violence, he was channeling it from the outside world.
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