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Krueger. The name on everybody’s sleepy lips. A burn victim. A child murderer. Depending on what adaptation you’re watching, he may have also been a piece of shit child rapist. Fan of one-liners. Not a fan of parents, or having backs turned on him. But to most… a celebrated fashion icon.
In a world dressed for summer, Kreuger stands alone. A sweater in a sea of crop tops. Color clashing in a dreamworld of bright white nightgowns. A single glove without a pair, pre-Michael Jackson. An oversized sweater fit for the pages of an Urban Outfitters or Anthropology ad. Hems? Never heard of ‘ems.
And does anybody still wear…. A hat.
I experienced A Nightmare on Elm Street first as a child watching TV with my father. He loved to put on films like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Poltergeist, and The Exorcist not only because he wanted to watch what he wanted to watch, but also because it’s a great way to get your kids to leave you alone when they’re too scared to enter the room.
As an adult, Dan Scully and I revisited the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and it has quickly become my favorite.
Fred (Freddy if you’re nasty) fascinates me. The design of his face (inspired by a pepperoni pizza) is striking and Robert Englund is a treasure of an actor. Freddy is something more than a movie monster, thanks to Englund. He’s a force of nature with a swagger and a twinkle in his eye. In the first few films, he’s barely in the movies. Freddy is a symbol of fear. The unseen Boogey Man who will come after you at your most vulnerable: in your sleep. As the series went on, the folks behind the Nightmare series realized that we weren’t there for Nancy or Rooney Mara. We are watching for Freddy. We want his one-liners and we want to watch him wreck these fine folks in the most gruesome way possible.
But most of all, we want to follow his fashion. In the fall runway of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 12, Crystal Methyd come out in a full Freddy fantasy.
Freddy is also a DIY craftsman! He welded a metal glove that paved the way for (Nightmare alumni) Johnny Depp’s Edward Scissorhands. Freddy inspired 80’s rap songs and novelty albums. Alice Cooper did a track for Freddy! There was a TV show titeld “Freddy’s Nightmares” in the 80’s that had Freddy hosting each episode, celebrating deaths in Springwood. It’s hard to hate someone with this much talent and pop culture appeal.
It all comes back to the human need to follow bad people. Freddy is the baddest of bad and we love him for it. He’s the ultimate monster because he’s ruthless and cool to look at. We’re “drawn to doom” and “enamored of ruin”. We can’t help but stop and watch the carnage go down. And when you’re as iconic to look at as a dirty ass sweater… well. You’re unstoppable. Take our money.
Oh, and never forget his fashion sunglasses. They really tied the outfit together.
In case you were curious, my very official (unofficial) ranking of the series:
1. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
2. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
3. Freddy vrs. Jason
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
5. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
6. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: Dream Master
7. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: Dream Child
8. 2010 Remake
9. Freddy’s Dead: Final Nightmare
Original post on Cinema76.com