Freddy Krueger – Fact or Fiction
The Real Story Behind the Inspiration
Cristal M Clark
Every October stories start to emerge and spread across the internet with regards to our most beloved horror flicks. Take for example A Nightmare on Elm Street, the original one of my childhood favs. Every year a few weeks before halloween stores start to spread on social media claiming that Freddy Krueger is in fact based off of a real life individual: The stories depict eerie details of child murders, factory fires and haunted ghost towns alongside a mysterious photo of a dark figure lurking behind three oblivious toddlers.
The stories always start with “DID YOU KNOW…. That the Horror Film Character Freddy Kruger (sic) was based on a real life serial killer who lived in Lightening Creek, Oklahoma in the 1800s, later the town was moved and became Alluwe, Oklahoma.”
But alas, as luck would have it, the stories are simply just not true at all.
The story that moves across social media was created as a halloween prank once and apparently the prank part of the story never made it to headline news, still to this day people believe the prank to be the true inspiration for A Nightmare on Elm Street.
The true inspiration however for the A Nightmare on Elm Street came from an L.A. Times article about a family who immigrated to the U.S. from the Killing Fields of Cambodia. According to an interview director and writer Wes Craven gave to Vulture magazine back in 2014.
“Things were fine, and then suddenly the young son was having very disturbing nightmares. He told his parents he was afraid that if he slept, the thing chasing him would get him, so he tried to stay awake for days at a time. When he finally fell asleep, his parents thought this crisis was over. Then they heard screams in the middle of the night. By the time they got to him, he was dead. He died in the middle of a nightmare. Here was a youngster having a vision of a horror that everyone older was denying. That became the central line of Nightmare on Elm Street.”
The Killing Fields of Cambodia is the true horror story here though. The Cambodian Genocide a systematic persecution and killing of Cambodians by the Khmer Rouge under the leadership of Pol Pot, who pushed Cambodia towards communism. This resulted in the deaths of 1.5 to 2 million people from 1975 to 1979, nearly a quarter of Cambodia’s 1975 population.
Real life events usually have a hand in inspiring horror films, usually not in the way one would suspect though.
Cristal M Clark