Welcome back friends and foes for another dose of villainy goodness.
That’s right, today’s veritable villain is the raggedy striped sweater-wearing, charred Fedora-owning, crispy critter himself, Freddy Krueger.
And after all this time, even the creepy song by the jump roping girls still gets me.
The first time I saw A Nightmare on Elm Street I actually only saw the end. I walked in and turned on HBO and watched Johnny Depp, wearing those big ass headphones, get sucked into his bed and then splattered all over the ceiling. I couldn’t stop watching: I was literally too frightened to walk away. I had my kids watch it recently and they were fine until that part. Then they slept in the same bed with the lights on for a week.
I’ve said it before, I’m no fan of horror movies. At all. Especially the slasher flicks. They didn’t make sense to me—seriously, when was I ever going to be in the situations these dumb-ass, horny ass, jack ass teenagers found themselves in? I thought about adding Jason Vorhees and Michael Myers to my villainy line up—they’re notable villains in their own right—but I couldn’t identify with them. I figured I could always outrun Mike: he didn’t run for shit, was always strolling after his victims. And he never killed the black dude. And with Jason, well, you have to be pretty dern stoopit to keep going back to the SAME DAMN CAMP WHERE 48,763 PEOPLE DIED BY THE SAME GUY. “Hey, John, remember Camp Crystal Lake where all those kids were murdered? Spring break, dude. It’s on!” “Great idea, Bill! Let’s bring Becky and Claudia too!” Yeah, I just couldn’t get with that.
But with Freddy, what was I going to do? I was going to fall asleep eventually and then what? That’s what bugged me about Freddy: you really couldn’t escape. He could touch anyone. Anyone of us. Me. What bothered me about this guy as a kid, as an adult, is that there really isn’t any way to avoid him: you can choose to not go to the beach or answer that SOS call or expose yourself to gamma rays or whatever, but you have to sleep. You HAVE to. It’s a biological imperative. I have to give Wes Craven credit: he crafted the ultimate Boogeyman. I mean seriously, there was nothing about this dude that was positive: Freddy Krueger was a child molester during his living years and a nightmare after he was killed. When the kids on Elm Street needed their parents to make the monsters go away, they made him stronger. Made him more powerful. Made him immortal.
Freddy Krueger makes the cut as one of the greatest villains for three reasons: he’s universal, he’s creative, and he has a fantastic sense of humor. We all can identify with the horror that is Freddy Krueger—he literally is a living nightmare. We all have to sleep so he is universally frightening. But Freddy is like the Michelangelo of death, making each victim’s demise into art. He knows what each kid is scared of and he exploits it. My personal favorite is from A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master where Freddy asks this girl if she wants to suck face and then proceeds to pull all the life out of her until she’s flat and wrinkly. In real life, she dies from an asthma attack. Check it out below:
Which brings me to my third point: Freddy is freaking hilarious. He absolutely loves the torment he’s inflicting and revels in it. There are no heroes that can measure up to Freddy Krueger, not in his movies, but it doesn’t matter: you can’t look away. Freddy’s everywhere, in each one of us, in some form or another, hiding in the darkest of our fears, laughing in the midst of our nightmares and that, boys and girls, is why he is one of the greatest villains ever.
I am sooooo excited about tomorrow’s post: stomping all over this blog, Oh No, It’s GODZILLA!