Some of you might think that you know a lot about Freddy Krueger. You may have watched the most recent Nightmare On Elm St. and thought that it was both a great film and a stand-alone film. It might be an alright film, but it certainly isn’t stand-alone. Freddy has been around since 1984 — well, he’s been around for longer than that, but he came to life in our cinemas and nightmares in 1984.
Aside from wielding terrifying claws and coming to you in your dreams, Freddy has a lot more depth than you might think. There are some really interesting points about both his life, his creation, and his following that you may not be aware of. If you call yourself a fan of Freddy Krueger, then you might want to tuck this trivia into your head.
Can you believe that Freddy only showed up for seven minutes of screen time in the original Nightmare On Elm St.? Did you know that Freddy has his own radio station, his own cult, and his own rapping career? And aside from the new guy, it wasn’t always Robert Englund who played Freddy? Writer and director Wes Craven played Freddy in his 1996 film Scream.
15. A Bunch Of Cartoon Appearances
This might not shock you and, depending on your age, you’ll recall some or all of these hilarious cartoon cameos. Freddy has appeared on The Simpsons on three separate occasions. He’s also been on South Park twice (where he killed both Morpheus and Strawberry Shortcake). And then, of course, he’s also appeared on Family Guy, where he is paid to tell Peter a joke in his dream (which forces a bowel movement in his sleep). He also inspired the Simpsons episode where Groundskeeper Willy becomes the Springfield Slasher and attacks the kids of Springfield in their sleep. One of the best appearances though has to be his couch gag cameo with Jason Vorhees from Friday 13th. There’s just something awesome about the two of them sitting on the couch watching tv.
14. Nintendo Didn’t Like Freddy’s Power Glove
For those of you who don’t remember or just have never seen it, Freddy had a Nintendo Power Glove in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. He uses it to kill one of the kids in a video game. It’s a hilarious moment. It’s again part of the creepy clown world that Freddy found himself in. New Line Cinema asked Nintendo if they could use the Power Glove slogan “Now you’re playing with Power,” when shooting the scene, but Nintendo didn’t feel comfortable with it and said no. However, New Line executive Bob Shae decided that he didn’t really care what Nintendo had to say about the scene. So he told Robert Englund (Freddy) to go ahead with the line as planned. And that’s exactly what you get in this scene. A big f*ck you to Nintendo.
13. Peter Jackson Wrote A Script For Freddy
When New Line Cinema was taking in script pitches from screenwriters all over for the last instalment of the Nightmare franchise, a surprising name popped up. It turns out that Peter Jackson threw his name in the hat to be the one who would get that final film. It would be interesting to see just what sort of Freddy film he would have made, and I hope that one day that script surfaces so we can all see just what Jackson would’ve done. After all, before the Lord of the Rings trilogy began its huge push onto the big screen, Peter Jackson was making horror films. Sure, it’s not like they were the best in the world. They were all kind of B-rated horrors, but they were ridiculously low budget and have found their own cult followings over the years.
12. Only Seven Minutes Of Screen Time
That’s right! It didn’t take a lot of time for audiences around the world to be terrified of this nightmarish boogie man. Freddy only appeared for seven total minutes of screen time in the very first film. That’s crazy! It’s like the first Alien movie. You see the villain for almost no time at all, and yet somehow the film is a smash hit! People have been terrified of Freddy ever since his film debut, and all it took was seven minutes. The majority of the film beyond that is a family drama, complicated relationships, mysterious deaths, and a whole lot of creepiness. Once all the sequels started getting pumped out, Freddy was seen a whole lot more. It took a lot away from what made the character scary and he became much more of an evil clown. That is, until Wes Craven’s New Nightmare.
11. There Is An Actual Prequel To Freddy’s Story
You may not recall, but there was a TV series inspired by the Nightmare films that aired between 1988-1990. It was another extension of the Freddy buffoonery. The pilot episode was actually a prequel. It covers the big backstory of Freddy’s trial, his getting off on a technicality, and the angry parents of the town burning him alive. But that’s not all. The final episode of the two-season series features Freddy at his prom! He didn’t really take to it very well. Turns out that he was stood up at his prom. So he decided to skip the electric therapy that Carrie gave everyone and went straight for hacking and slashing. They don’t call him the Springwood Slasher for nothing, right? So, if you ever want to see some Freddy backstory, look up Freddy’s Nightmares.
10. There’s Science Behind The Sweater
This might not have ever occurred to you, but it turns out that Freddy’s sweater is actually based on a bit of science. Wes Craven, in his very intellectual approach to filmmaking, had come across an article in a magazine about the effects of certain colors on one’s eyes. So, what did Wes Craven do? He chose the harshest color combination that is the most difficult for the human eye to register, striped it, and turned it into a sweater for his villain. I absolutely love this attention to detail. As long as you add those stripes to any piece of clothing, furniture or creature, then you know that Freddy is nearby. His weapon was similarly thought up. Craven thought about the fear cavemen would have of animal claws, and so he morphed the human hand into the vicious Freddy claws… screeeeeech.
9. Three Hours In The Makeup Chair
I can’t begin to imagine how horrible an experience this could end up being. It’s not as bad as some makeup jobs that have happened since, but in order to bring Freddy to life, Robert Englund had to spend over three hours in the makeup chair every day. The face was made up of several pieces of latex that would be glued to Englund’s face. The makeup crew would have to make sure that each piece sealed perfectly on his head. After this, each piece would have to be colored and the remaining bits of skin showing around the eyes and lips would have to be made up to match the latex as well. It seems like it shouldn’t take all that long, but the detailing of each section of latex is no simple task. And then imagine how long it takes for them to remove the pieces after a day’s shoot! There’s a lot of glue under there, and no one wants Englund’s face to actually look like Freddy!
8. Based On Real Life Events!
Freddy and his world are based on several life experiences of writer and director Wes Craven. Craven noted a series of articles in the paper where these kids would fall asleep, but never wake up. There was never a connection made between the stories in the paper, but Craven took the stories and coupled it with a mean drunk he once saw from his apartment window when he was a kid. This old man wearing a grubby sweater and a dirty old hat was walking down the road when suddenly he stopped and peered up at the very window Craven was standing. Terrified, Wes backed away and counted for some time, thinking he must have left. Instead, the man was still there, and leered forward and began walking to the front door of the apartment. This old man who loved scaring the sh*t out of a kid became the main inspiration for Freddy!
7. Freddy Has A Rap Career…
Alright, so this was all part of those days when Freddy was just a really creepy, evil clown. It was when the sequels were in full swing. The first film made a hit, but Wes Craven had yet to bring the true terror of Freddy back home in New Nightmare. This isn’t like his appearances in Dream Warriors and Welcome To My Nightmare. He got blinged up for The Fat Boy’s Are You Ready For Freddy. It was hilarious… but ridiculous. It was the late 80’s, but still. At least when he featured with Will Smith, he just wasted them and never actually dug into the rap. Back when Smith was running as the Fresh Prince along with DJ Jazzy Jeff, he had a rap about Freddy coming after him in Nightmare On My Street. Unfortunately for Jazzy Jeff, he doesn’t make it out of the song alive.
6. Wes Craven Played Freddy In Scream
This is perhaps one of the best cameos that I’ve ever seen in my life. Freddy appears all over the place, but perhaps in no better way (besides in the actual Nightmare films) than when his creator Wes Craven played him. In Craven’s 1996 film Scream, there is a janitor at the high school who the principal accidentally calls a little sh*t. He then says “sorry Fred”. When you see the janitor, he is wearing the original Freddy sweater and hat, mopping up the hallways. It’s just a wonderful cameo to have 12 years after the original film. Craven always seemed to carry the respect for his wonderful creation by adding it into certain places in other films. The Freddy sweater even makes an appearance hanging on Neve Campbell‘s door in Scream 2.
5. The First To Kill Johnny Depp
In case some of you did know, Johnny Depp was in the very first Nightmare On Elm St. In fact, that very film was Johnny Depp’s first! So, in a way, you could say that Freddy helped make Johnny Depp who he is today. And he helped him do something else: Freddy helped Johnny Depp die for the very first time on film. If you don’t recall, Depp was Glenn the boyfriend who fell asleep and was sucked into his bed along with his stereo and TV. And very shortly after that, he was spewed back out again as a geyser of blood. Freddy certainly has a creative way of offing the kids of Springwood. Who would have thought that not only was Johnny Depp’s debut, but also his death would be due to the creepy, claw-wielding Freddy Krueger?
4. Krueger’s Got His Own Radio Station
This isn’t necessarily an easy catch if you’re not really paying attention to the film. Hell, I’ve watched the first Nightmare movie so many times and it still took quite a few watches before I picked up on it. It turns out that Freddy has his own bloody (pun intended) radio station! When Johnny Depp’s clock strikes midnight you here a radio host saying “It’s midnight and you’re listening to station KRGR.” Do you get it? The station is simply Krueger without the vowels! Like I said, it’s really not an easy catch. But it’s those kinds of details that really make the entire franchise worth watching over and over again. I probably watch the full series at least a few times each year and again, it still took me a while to get the KRGR reference.
3. Freddy’s Dad Is Alice Cooper!?
This is perhaps one of the greatest cameos to grace the Nightmare On Elm St. franchise. It turns out that Freddy Krueger’s father is actually Alice Cooper. What’s kind of strange and awesome about that is that it makes almost complete sense. It’s not like Alice Copper isn’t a bit creepy and bizarre. So, in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, we see a flashback play out of Freddy and his father (Freddy before who murdered children and was burned alive and came back in dreams). Not surprisingly, Freddy’s dad was a little abusive. But Freddy was a masochist from the start, it would seem. Before killing Alice Cooper, Freddy laughs as daddy gives him a few whacks with his belt. The funniest thing is that both Robert Englund and Alice Cooper are without makeup in this flashback. Kind of normal looking.
2. Freddy’s Death Was Shot In 3D
Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare was the very last of the ridiculous sequels. And when I say ridiculous, that’s not to say that I didn’t still enjoy them. But they make Freddy more of a buffoon. Which is hilarious and scary at the same time. But after this film, Wes Craven tied everything up nicely by bringing Freddy back to his original darkness. However, sequel Freddy was killed off in Freddy’s Dead… which kind of makes a lot of sense given the title. The interesting thing about this film is that it was shot in 3D. Much like Friday 13th: Part III, it’s not like it would seem like an incredible achievement today. But at that point, these movies broke new ground going this route. When you buy the Nightmare On Elm Street box set, it comes with a set of 3D glasses so that you can watch Freddy’s Death in 3D (of course, only if your TV is capable).
1. The Fred Head Cult
There were several Nightmare scripts that never actually came to real life. I’m sure that’s not all too surprising. One of the scripts had to do with a group of Freddy fans called Fred Heads (obviously in homage to The Grateful Dead). These Fred Heads would go out of their way to capture and kill kids just like Freddy would. There are various reasons as to why this script never made it to theaters, but part of it had to do with people fearing real people actually doing these deeds in honor of their favorite horror villain. Even beyond that, there was an unofficial “Freddy Day” on Friday, September 13th, but of course, that date wouldn’t always be a Friday each year. And people still feared that such a celebration would put people over the edge to commit murder in the name of Freddy.
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