Wes Craven passed away on 30th August 2015. His incredibly dark imagination brought to the screen horror classics like “Scream”, “The Hills Have Eyes” and, of course, “A nightmare on Elm Street”, the film for which he will probably be best remembered. There were, in total, nine “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies made, including the crossover “Freddy vs. Jason” of 2003. When it was originally released in 1984, the first movie got a very mixed response and some very negative reviews, but it is now seen as being an iconic example of the genre.
Undoubtedly, the series of films did get sillier as they went on, but there was something about the character of Freddie Kruger, as evil as he was, that drew people to keep on watching on him. The original, though, was a masterpiece that drew on some of our darkest fears. Here are ten things that you probably didn’t know about Wes Craven’s “A Nightmare in Elm Street”.
The character of Freddie Kruger was inspired by two real life characters from Wes Craven’s childhood. Fred Krueger was the name of a boy who had bullied Craven at school and the dirty clothes and hat that Kruger wore were inspired by a drunken vagrant who had once peered at the young Craven through a window.
2. Freddy’s sweater is scary for a good reason
Originally, Freddie Kruger’s sweater was going to be red and yellow, but Craven changed his mind when he read that red and green are the two colours that jar in on the human eye the most because they are so contrasting. Looking at the two colours together is naturally unsettling.
3. Freddy was going to be a lot more gruesome looking
In Wes Cravens original concept, Freddy Kruger was going to look a lot more gruesome than he ended up looking in the Nightmare on Elm Street films. He was going to have running sores all over his face, his teeth would show through the tattered skin of his face, and part if his skull was to have been visible too. This was all toned down, because the makeup artist said that it would be too difficult to achieve on a live actor.
4. How they made the bath scene
The scene where Freddy’s gloved hand is seen slowly approaching Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) who has fallen asleep in the bathtub, was made by placing a bottomless tub in a swimming pool. When Nancy gets dragged underwater by Kruger, Heather Langenkamp was replaced by a stuntwoman. It took 12 hours of filming in the pool to get the scene right.
5. The glove was designed to be practical
Wes Craven knew that he wanted his character to have a unique weapon and not just have a simple knife. He also wanted something that could be made cheaply and be easy to transport. He came up with the idea of the claw glove when he discovered that the fear of animal claws is a primeval one that we all have and he drew his inspiration from how a cats claws look when they are extended from the cat’s paw.
6. It took three hours to put on Robert Englund’s makeup
The Makeup that was used to turn Robert Englund into Freddy Kruger was made up of eleven separate pieces that were applied to the actors face and chest. It took three hours of sitting in the makeup chair to transform the actor into the villainous Kruger.
To create the scene where Tina (Amanda Wyss) is writhing around the ceiling of her bedroom while Rod (Jsu Garcia) looks on, the studio built a set that could be rotated around so that Wyss could slowly be moved up to the top of the room. Amanda Wyss was really on the floor for the shoot and it was Jsu Garcia who was upside down. They pasted the actor’s hair down to make it look like he was the right way up.
8. Most studios rejected the script
Wes Cravens script for Nightmare on Elm Street was rejected by many studios because they couldn’t see how a film about dreams could possibly be scary. It took three years of touting before the script was finally picked up, by the then very small studio, New Line Cinema.
9. Nightmare on Elm Street was Johnny Depp’s first movie
Johnny Deep, who played Glen, made his movie debut in Nightmare on Elm Street, but he nearly didn’t get the part. Craven couldn’t make his mind up who was going to take the role, so he left it up his teenage daughter to choose the actor.
10. Freddy Kruger was nearly a lot older
Freddy Kruger was originally conceived as being a much older man, but when they started casting for the part, it was thought that an old man couldn’t look menacing enough, so they cast Robert Englund in the role. Although Englund will forever be associated with the part of Freddy Kruger, he was already a successful actor when he was given the part. Among the many roles that he had played, he was Willie in the sci-fi series “V”.
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