MONSTER PRESENTATION: FREDDY KRUEGER
“Dream is the personalized myth, myth the depersonalized dream; both myth and dream are symbolic in the same general way of the dynamics of the psyche.” –Joseph Campbell
“A Nightmare on Elm Street” • Synopsis- Demonic child murderer, Freddy Krueger, returns from the dead to stalk and kill local teenagers through their dreams causing their death in reality. • Original film was released in 1984 in USA written and directed by Wes Craven. • As a slasher film, the audience demographic appeals to teenagers both male and female not limited to the USA. • Upon opening weekend the film grossed $1, 271,000 and was considered an instant commercial success. • Additionally, the film was released in Europe, India, Canada and Australia with continued success.
MOTIVES & VICTIMS In the original film, Freddy’s killing spree was an act of vengeance against the parents who had burned him to death. His victims were the children of his murderers. However, his victims are not limited to this and later on in the franchise of the films anyone becomes fair game.
POWERS & FLAWS Powers- Freddy is able to enter dreams and in doing so becomes an all powerful force inside the victim’s dreams. Leaving the victim entirely helpless. Flaws- Inside dreams Freddy only holds power over his victims as long as they are fearful of him. His power comes from his victims fear and without it he is harmless. When brought out of a dream into the real world he becomes mortal and can be killed.
The Freddy Krueger Franchise... 1988 1989 1991 1984 1985 1987 2003 1994 2010
What makes this particular monster so popular? • The combination of mythic elements that make up this character has led to its popularity. • It is simply a contemporary version and recombination of previous mythic monsters. The key to the character’s popularity lies with what it represents…
What does this monster represent? • Subconcious Fears • Neglect suffered by children • Repressed feelings of the id • The duality of evil in all of us • Fear of the id taking over • Fear of the unknown
Freddy Krueger a tribal myth? “Many tribal peoples believe that the human soul temporarily leaves the body during the dream-state, wandering in other worlds and meeting other souls, including those of the dead. These nocturnal journeys have provided a great deal of material for myth- making. In North America and Southeast Asia such voyages are though to expose the errant soul to the danger of abduction by a sorcerer or malevolent spirit; when this happens, local shamans are customarily employed to search for and retrieve the lost soul.” – Class Anthology Great Themes of Myth (pg. 33) Sound Familiar? This is the EXACT storyline of “A Nightmare on Elm Street”
Mythology of Nightmare Monsters throughout Culture & History • Germanic folklore tells of a “mare”, a spirit or goblin which rides on people’s chest while they sleep bringing on bad dreams. Most likely the origin of the word NightMARE. • The Nocnitsa, or "Night Hag", in Polish mythology, is a nightmare spirit that also goes by the name Krisky or Plaksy. The Nocnitsa is also present in Russian, Serbian and Slovakian folklore. She is known to torment children at night, and mothers in some regions will place a knife in their children's cradles or draw a circle around the cradles with a knife for protection. • An incubus is a demon in male form who, according to a number of mythological and legendary traditions, lies upon sleepers, especially women, in order to have sex with them. Its female counterpart is the succubus. One of the earliest mentions of an incubus comes from Mesopotamia on the Sumerian King List, ca. 2400 BC, where the hero Gilgamesh's father is listed as Lilu. It is said that Lilu disturbs and seduces women in their sleep, while Lilitu, a female demon, appears to men in their erotic dreams.
Freddy’s Glove Myths are based on the human species collective desires/fears. It is therefore no surprise that the inspiration for Freddy’s infamous glove came from what Wes Craven considers a “primal fear”… “I was also looking for a primal fear which is embedded in the subconscious of people of all cultures. One of those is the fear of teeth being broken, which I used in my first film. Another is the claw of an animal, like a saber-toothed tiger reaching with its tremendous hooks. I transposed this into a human hand.” –Interview with Wes Craven