It’s Movie Villain Monday and as promised, in light of Halloween being just around the corner, our villain this week is from another horror film (get comfy)...
It’s Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).
Who is Freddy Krueger?
Freddy Krueger (born Frederick Charles Krueger) is the main antagonist in Wes Craven’s iconic horror movie, A Nightmare on Elm Street and it’s subsequent sequels and TV spinoff, “Freddy’s Nightmares”.
He was portrayed by Robert Englund.
In life Freddy was a serial killer known as the “Springwood Slasher” who murdered children in the fictional town of Springwood, Ohio.
Although apprehended by police, he was later released on a technicality when some idiot signed a search warrant in the wrong place.
An angry mob made up of the victim’s vengeful parents soon tracked down and cornered Freddy in the boiler room where he used to take his victims. They set the place on fire, burning him to death.
Although Freddy died, his demonic spirit was allowed to live on in the dreams of children and teenagers living in the town.
Powers and Abilities:
Fuelled by fear and people’s memories of him, Freddy has the power to enter his victim’s dreams, manipulate their reality and even kill them in their sleep, as any damage inflicted in a dream also happens in the real world.
Physical Appearance & Weapon of Choice:
His instantly recognisable appearance has made Freddy a true horror movie icon.
His skin is scarred from the flames that burnt him to death and he wears a dirty red and green striped sweater and fedora.
On his right hand he wears a glove with razor sharp knives attached to the end of each finger which he uses to kill his victims.
Freddy Krueger and the idea for A Nightmare on Elm Street was actually inspired by a series of newspaper articles creator, Wes Craven had read in the early 70s.
Apparently, a number of refugees fleeing war and genocide in Cambodia and Vietnam had suffered disturbing nightmares and refused to sleep. Some actually died in their sleep soon after and medical authorities called the phenomenon “Asian Death Syndrome”.
The 1975 song “Dream Weaver” by Gary Wright is also sited as inspiration.
As for Freddy’s appearance, it was inspired by an encounter the writer/director had as a boy with an old man outside his childhood home. The old man (dressed very similar to Freddy) caught 11 year old Craven looking at him through a window and stared back for an uncomfortable amount of time before approaching him and then wandering off. Needless to say it frightened the life out of the young director and left a lasting impression.
Wes also named the character after a kid called Fred Krueger who had bullied him at school.
It’s hard to imagine anyone but Robert Englund playing Freddy but British actor, David Warner (Titanic, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) was originally cast.
Fortunately for Robert Englund (and us) Warner had to pull out due to scheduling conflicts and we got the Freddy we now know and love.
(If you google “David Warner Freddy” you’ll find some photos of makeup concepts originally intended for him).
Over the years Freddy Krueger has been included in various lists of “greatest villains” ranking from 1st to 40th place.
“One two Freddy’s coming for you”
I’ve got next week’s movie villain covered but feel free to throw in your suggestions for future villains below in the comments.