Special Features
30 Years of Nightmares:
The Rise of Freddy Krueger

By William Henry Pratt


    This summer makes the 30th Anniversary of
one of horrors biggest icons.  His name is as fam-
ous as his gloved weapon and he has surpassed
pop culture as one of the most recognized charac-
ters in the world.  He is Freddy Krueger, the night-
mare man who invades our sweet dreams and turns
them into something of horror.  The summer of 1984,
a new horror movie was about to be released.  A low budget horror flick by the
name A Nightmare on Elm Street.  When the movie first hit the screens, no one
knew, including its creator/ writer and director, what an impact that this new horror
icon name Freddy would make.  He was an instant hit with horror fans and the rise
of Freddy was about to began.

    Leatherface, Michael Myers and Jason Voohees were ripping teenagers apart
and doing it with great style.  They were big brutes, hulking monsters with little
care in what they did.  They were nothing more than killing machines who found
and used anything they could to kill teens and anyone else they came across.  
They went about their bloody craft hidden behind masks and spoke not a word.  
They were good at what they did but waiting in the winds was a smaller, eviler soul
ready to have his time in the limelight of slaughter.

    He wore a dirty red and green
sweater and a brown fedora upon his
head.  In his right hand his killing device,
a set of handmade razor claws placed
within an simple glove.  His evil was un-
matched and when he was alive, he was
the terror of the town of Springwood and
after his death he became something
more.  Unlike his silent counter parts,
Freddy not only spoke but taunt his victims before ripping into their flesh as he
attacked them at their most vulnerable, when they were asleep.

    Entering the horror genre lineup at the very height of the slasher movie
movement, Freddy quickly took the top spot in the hearts and minds of horror fans
alike.  He was cool, mean and wore his hat with style.  He was the brain child of
film writer/director Wes Craven, who envisioned his
nightmare killer after remembering a childhood ac-
count.  When as a boy, he looked out his bedroom
window and saw an older man walking down the
street in a hat and red and green sweater.  This look
stayed with Craven and when he needed a look, a
very distinctive look for his new killer, he drew upon
the image he saw all those year ago.

    Under the hat and make-up was actor Robert
Englund, who brought the new villain to life.  His por-
trait of Freddy was nothing less than amazing and as
the films draw into a full franchise, Englund would
carry on as the only man to play Freddy in all of the
film sequels.  One film after another followed the first
Nightmare on Elm Street running through the rest of
the 1980's until Freddy was killed off in the film
Freddy’s Dead.  But as we all know you can’t keep a good monster down for very
long and in 1994 for the first film’s 10th Anniversary, the nightmare man made a
returned in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare.  He was back and ready to kill again as
Robert Englund slipped into the rubber make-up once again.

    In 1988, Freddy went were no other horror hero ever went before…..he got his
own TV series.  Freddy’s Nightmares with host Freddy himself with Robert under
the hat, hit TV screens for a short lived series.  The gloved one would start and
host the show much like the Crypt Keeper would do for Tales From The Crypt a
few years later.  Sometimes the 30 minute anthology would feature Freddy and
sometimes not but he was always there to bring a little horror and fun to the
series.  In the very first episode we got to see what was only talked about in the
first film, when the townspeople trapped Freddy when he was human and killed
him to save their town from his evil.  They had no idea what evil they were about to
unleash

    After New Nightmare, Freddy and Robert
took some time off but nearly 20 years after the
first Nightmare, Freddy was back in action again
and this time….he was not alone.  In the age old
tradition of Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman
and King Kong vs Godzilla, Freddy was about to
battle another horror icon and he was none
other than Friday The 13th’s Jason Voohees.  
The two clashed in 2003 in Freddy vs Jason
with Robert returning for what seemed to be the last time he would play Freddy.  
This film was a fans dream come true and this writer still gets a tear in my eyes
when I first see the two killer movie icons together.

    In 2010 to try and bring in a new generation of horror fans, a remake of
Nightmare was released.  Sadly Robert, the only man to play Freddy was not
invited to reprise the role that he made so impacting.  To date there is no plans of
this writing to bring out a new Freddy film.  So for now kids you can sleep in peace
but if you hear his evil giggle and see a figure with a hat and claw, your nightmare
is about to begin.
              
For Behind the
Scream: The
Dinosaur Expo,
click
here

For 30 Years of
Nightmares, The Rise
of Freddy Krueger,
click here