Freddy Krueger is the creation of horror director Wes Craven and he first appeared in A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984. The character has been played by actor Robert Englund in every one of the films including all seven of the Nightmare series and the more recent Freddy vs Jason.
Freddy Krueger is a child murderer, and possibly molester, who worked at the power plant in the small town of Springwood. He would abduct children and take them to the basement of the power plant, murdering them in the boiler room. He lived at 1428 Elm Street and was eventually arrested for his crimes and charged with the murders of 20 children however the police bungled their search warrant and Krueger walked free. The local townspeople were incensed and attacked his home with Molotov cocktails, setting Krueger on fire and burning him to death.
In the first film Krueger is dead but able to come back and kill people in their dreams. He wears a dusty brown fedora hat, a red and green striped jumper, has a horribly scarred face and always wears a specially made glove with elongated razor fingers. He is intent on getting revenge on the townspeople who burned him and so he kills their children.
The sequels added to his story suggesting he was born "the bastard son of a 100 maniacs". His mother Sister Mary Helena (Amanda Krueger) worked in the tower of the Westin Hills psychiatric hospital where the worst of the criminally insane were kept. She was accidentally locked in over the Christmas holidays and raped by the inmates. Freddy was bullied because of this heritage and began to kill small animals and self-harm. He was placed in care and suffered at the hands of an abusive foster father. He then got married and had a child, killing his wife when she discovered he was the notorious "Springwood Slasher". As he was dying at the hands of the furious townspeople he was visited by dream demons who offered him eternal life if he continued to collect souls.
Craven was unhappy at the continuing franchise and later additions to the back story which changed Krueger from an intimidating and thoroughly evil being into a wise cracking, anti-hero character. He felt the first film could stand alone and the original ending would have been Nancy turning her back on Krueger and telling him he was nothing, showing that evil could be confronted and diminished. The producers had other ideas though and would not miss the opportunity to start a hugely profitable series of sequels. Craven turned down the offer to direct the first sequel as he was unimpressed with the script. New Line approached him again to direct the third film and although he wouldn't take the directors chair he agreed to write the script, however once he turned it over it was rewritten and this led to an acrimonious dispute.
Despite the bad blood Craven was approached again about the fourth film but his pitch was rejected and he didn't get involved. Eventually after the awful sixth film Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare Craven resolved his differences with New Line who agreed to reward him for the success he had brought them. An agreement was reached to allow Craven to make New Nightmare which brought a new twist to the franchise suggesting the abstract evil of Freddy was released when they stopped making the films and bringing together some of the original cast to battle him.
Craven has mentioned various sources in interviews as the original inspiration for Krueger. He remembers being scared by a homeless man who was stood outside his window when he was just a boy. He was also bullied at school by a boy with a similar name. Craven also researched reports of people who shared the same nightmare and fought to stay awake before eventually succumbing and mysteriously dying in their sleep.
There have been many references to Freddy in other films and television programmes over the years and in fact he had his own television series called Freddy's Nightmares which lasted 44 episodes. His glove was hanging in the shack in Evil Dead 2. He has also appeared on both South Park and The Simpsons.
Krueger is recognised as one of the greatest movie villains of all time and it seems unlikely we've seen the last of him. There are rumours currently about a remake of the first Nightmare film with a new actor taking on the role, personally I'd rather they leave it alone but if there's money to be made you can be sure they won't.
Update - they didn't and here is the review of the truly horrible A Nightmare on Elm Street remake.
There is a nursery rhyme style song about Freddy Krueger which is used in the films.
One, Two, Freddy's coming for you.
Three, Four better lock your door.
Five, Six grab your crucifix.
Seven, Eight gonna stay up late.
Nine, Ten never sleep again.
Related Links - A Nightmare on Elm Street, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5, A Nightmare on Elm Street 6, Wes Craven's New Nightmare, Freddy vs Jason, Wes Craven
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