Thursday, April 29, 2010

Freddy Krueger in Retrospect

With the remake of Nightmare on Elm Street movie right around the corner I decided to take this time and explain to folks why I personally think Freddy Krueger is my favorite villain in a horror movie. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Mike Meyer’s boogeyman persona, or Norman Bates’ complexity, or even the simplistic yet terrifying idea of Jaws… but for me Freddy has a few elements to him that make me connect to him on a certain level. That’s not to say that I identify with him.


Freddy has a great personality but it’s not as complex as some horror serial killers, which can be good and bad but for me it’s one of the most defining things that makes Freddy stand out. Krueger is a very brutal killer even though some say that he isn’t but he has this goofy, playful persona that just freaks me out. He actually enjoys it and knows what he is doing and has no problem with it. Most killers kill just for the hell of it, or somebody tells them to do so, or they do it don’t even know it but Freddy gets a perverse pleasure out of doing it. In all the Elm Street movies he doubles as the antagonist and the comic relief. What’s even great about his comedy is that it’s so serious and he taunts his victims by playing around with them.


The other most defining quality of Freddy, that almost all horror serial killers don’t have, is a psychical personality. Most killers would just lumber around after their victims or chase after them but Freddy, he chases them but in the process he acts like a maniac waving his arms around and ‘squat-running’ as he does so. It’s terrifying. He looks like a troll running after you. When I was interviewing Robert Englund he stated that he wanted to make his character more threatening to compensate for his short height, so he created a killer that was so fluid and so lanky and he could act like clown with his actions. Englund also sited the fact that Freddy is almost like a reincarnation of a Western villain, and being a huge fan of Westerns, it was really nice to see another genre bleed into horror.


I was always scared of burn victims because they don’t look human anymore, and I’m not saying this to be offensive but as a little kid when I saw one, I would normally be freaked out. Melted and exposed skin/veins just scared the crap out of me and that’s probably one of the greater reasons why he frightened me as a kid. The twisted, warped, bubbly skin gave him this monstrous look and it added to the fact the he was living nightmare. Also, unlike most killers, Freddy shows his face and doesn’t hide it behind a mask or a veil and considering the Englund has played Freddy in all his movies, I’d say that’s pretty impressive.


When he isn’t in the Dreamworld Freddy reminds me of The Scarecrow from Batman; since he is so limber, it’s easy for him to maneuver around when it comes to hand to hand combat (no pun intended). When he is in the Dreamworld, he can turn himself into anything or do anything to kill off his victims. It’s so intresting to see the different reincarnations of Freddy and to see all his methods of killing somebody… but again, it goes back to what I said earlier about him taking a perverse joy in his murders. Also, the idea of somebody attacking you in your sleep is very frightening. You can always avoid campgrounds, move to a different town/state, shoot somebody or something but everybody has to sleep. It’s the most vulnerable place you have because it’s a place that you can go to and relax and dream about your fantasies but now that’s not safe.

Back Story

Considering this is something that I had a lot of experience with, there is nothing more frightening than a child rapist/murderer. We had one in our neighborhood and the fear that we had when we found out was almost unbearable. We were afraid to play outside, our parents kept us on our toes and we were genuinely freaked out. Take away the whole raped-by-a-thousand-mental-patients story and focus only on who he was before he became the monster that the is today; Freddy Krueger’s story is very realistic and I think that’s another reason why I like him as a villain… cause it can happen. The chances of a mental patient escaping from a hospital or a somebody finally going crazy and goes on a killer spree is pretty slim, but child molesters are extremely real.

I guess in retrospect, because I was an insomniac and I was one of the few people that enjoyed the night atmosphere… I can really relate to the characters in that movie. I know how it feels to not be able to sleep and have waking nightmares/dreams and not even know about it. I have a very weird opinion on sleep and dreaming and I guess that’s why I love Nightmare on Elm Street and the concept of a dream demon so much. Personally, there is not greater fear than falling sleep and not waking up… it’s scary stuff and since I had several relatives that went this way, it’s just meant to be that I can connect with this film and it’s antagonist.


The Film Connoisseur said...

Great write up on Freddy! I did something similar with Freddy on my blog, but it was more about explaining why Krueger is so messed up in the head, so I went and I chronologically explained all the messed up events that led to him becoming a "dream demon"

Check it out if you are interested:

Mr. Johnny Sandman said...

I just checked it out!! that was one hell of a read!!

The World of Lurlene Mcdaniel said...

damn. i loved freddy krueger as a child growing up. he was the one i was most afriad of and would always give me nightmares. of course now growing up i find him funny and hillarious but still on the scary side.

im glad you did a recap on freddy krueger. it was worth reading.

Scruffziller, the Evil Amish Dude said...

As a classification of what Freddy is...I've always thought of him as a type of Lovecraft villain. While many of Lovecraft's antagonists' goals are not comparable to human values...Freddy embodies the sensibility of what Cthulhu would be if he was a sadistic human. But you could not have a pleasure in sadism if you did not understand others pain.

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