31 Facts About "A Nightmare On Elm Street" That'll Give You Sleepless Nights
People actually die in their nightmares.
1. The film was based on a real-life story. In the 1980s, there was an epidemic of people dying in their sleep during nightmares. They were mostly immigrants from Cambodia, and the condition became known as Asian death syndrome. Wes Craven read about the story in a newspaper article, and got the idea for a serial killer who stalks victims in their sleep.
2. The red and green stripes of Freddy Krueger’s jumper were picked by Craven after he read in a science journal that they were the most clashing colours to the human retina.
3. Krueger was partly inspired by a man who scared Wes Craven as a kid. The man was drunk and wandering down the Cravens’ street, wearing a hat similar to Freddy Krueger’s. He woke Wes up, and when Wes went to the window the man looked straight at him. Craven was so terrified he ran to wake up his brother.
4. Freddy Krueger was named after Craven’s school bully Fred Krueger.
5. Craven’s interest in horror was partly inspired by a time he killed a rat with a bow and arrow as a child. The animal let out a blood-curdling scream but didn’t die, so Craven had to finish it off, which took many attempts. It made him realise how much effort you have to go to to kill something, which horrified him.
6. The actor cast to play the coroner in the movie recommended a musician friend of his who played in a rockabilly band for the part of Nancy's boyfriend, Glen. The guy’s name was Johnny Depp.
7. The film was Depp’s first movie role. His death scene involved tipping around 500 gallons of fake blood into an upside-down, rotating bedroom set.
9. Charlie Sheen was originally cast as Glen, but they couldn’t afford his $3,000-a-week fee.
10. The blood fountain ended up going all over the stage and electrics, and caused a power cut on set.
11. The blood was made from water and Karo syrup, and destroyed several cameras.
12. The filmmakers used a sound effect called vari-speed to slow down actor Robert Englund’s Freddy Krueger voice and make it more frightening.
13. Englund is a trained Shakespearean actor, and in real life is said to be charming and sweet.
14. A Nightmare on Elm Street was shot on the same stage used to film the TV series I Love Lucy.
15. There were three different versions of Freddy’s bladed glove – one made of balsa wood, one made of rubber, and a real one made with fish knives known as “the hero glove”, which could actually cut things.
16. Every time someone put on the hero glove they injured themselves because it was incredibly sharp, and if you closed your fist the blades cut your arm.
17. The hero glove was so heavy it made Robert Englund’s shoulder droop, which became part of Freddy’s look.
18. Freddy’s appearance was partly inspired by the main character in a series of pulp novels from the 1930s called The Shadow.
19. The Freddy makeup took around 3.5 hours to finish each day.
20. Englund wore the makeup – which covered all of his skin – for 12 to 15 hours a day. He said he was boiling hot underneath it.
21. One day the crew went to a Thai restaurant across the street from the set for a meal, with Englund wearing the full Freddy makeup. The waiter was so frightened he dropped his tray and ran out of the restaurant.
22. Elm Street was the name of the street where JFK was shot. Craven said it’s the street “where innocence ended”.
23. The revolving room set used for Tina’s death scene, where she is dragged up the walls and across the ceiling, was inspired by a set in a Fred Astaire film, Royal Wedding, where Astaire danced up the walls.
24. Amanda Wyss, who played Tina, got bad vertigo in the spinning room during filming.
25. Wyss said her terror during her death scene was 75% real.
26. For the scene where Tina stalks Nancy in a body bag, Wyss was zipped up inside a real body bag the film crew got from the local morgue, which she said was terrifying.
27. Jsu Garcia, the actor who played Rod Lane, was addicted to heroin and had been homeless when he got cast in the movie. He would snort drugs in the bathroom on set, and was high during the jail scene.
28. The stairs in the “sticky stair” scene were filled with Bisquick oatmeal, which cost $12 and conveniently matched the carpet colour.
29. Producer Rachel Talalay said the film was so frightening, the crew were scared filming it, despite all the lights and cameras, and the fact that they knew exactly how everything was done.
30. The movie made $24 million.
31. Craven’s mother never watched any of his films until she was in her late eighties. She’d say to him, “Honey, why don’t you make nice films?”