I watched the documentary Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy a few months ago, and it made me remember the first time I saw A Nightmare on Elm Street. I was probably about nine years old and spending the night at my friend’s house. My parents had a strict “no rated-R movies” policy, but my friend’s mom was more lenient, so naturally we rented horror flicks every time I stayed over.
I was so terrified that I actually went home early. I told my mom I had a stomachache, but in the car she was like, “Hmm. You watched something scary, didn’t you?” And although I hardly slept for the next few nights, I was addicted. In fact, the very next time I spent the night with my friend, we rented it again.
Anyway, here are some things I learned while watching Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy.
1. The original story idea was inspired by an ACTUAL event. Wes Craven read an article about a Southeast Asian man who was terrified of sleeping and refused sleep medication. When the man finally fell asleep, he ended up dead! The autopsy showed no reason for his death, so they had to chalk it up to Sudden Unexplained Death Syndrome. Now that’s scary.
2. Freddy had a (dismally awful) “Greatest Hits” album (click here for a track).
3. The second film in the franchise was (deliberately) riddled with homosexual undertones. (I bet this will be much more clear to me watching it now as an adult.)
4. Freddy had his own TV show for a short time called Freddy’s Nightmares.
The documentary is very well-made, and I highly recommend it even for people who haven’t seen (or didn’t like) all the NOES movies. It is extremely thorough and offers lots of reminiscences by the actors involved, plus behind-the-scenes information about the effect the films’ success had on their production company, New Line Cinema, and on the horror film industry in general.
And let us not underestimate how huge the “Freddy Krueger Phenomenon” was in the 80s. Some merchandise made in honor of the films included children’s pajamas (oh the irony!) and the Chest of Souls (from the fourth sequel), pictured below.
In fact, there’s so much Freddy fare out there, it makes me wonder why they never marketed the “I’m Your Boyfriend Now” phone. Ha.