If you’ve caught wind of the unnerving whispers about a new Freddy Krueger flick for 2018 then you’re not alone. They’re not voices in your head and you haven’t been singled out for a haunting. Nope- we’ve heard them too! A new film starring the terrifying killer is an exciting but uncertain prospect. Whether it will actually make it to cinemas this year or leave fans disappointed is unclear, but it’s certainly made us wonder about Freddy and his ongoing appeal….
Of course, his first appearance was back in 1984 in A Nightmare on Elm Street. The original film had an ‘80s charm to it that can look a little quaint today (check out the trailer) but for those of a certain age is pleasingly nostalgic. From there he went on to terrify audiences throughout the ‘80s in the Nightmare on Elm Street series and even a video game!
Apart from his trademark, and now iconic, attire—a fedora and stripy jumper that’s seen better days—what really made this menace stand out from the ugly crowd was that he preyed on his victims whilst they were asleep, from within their dreams. This meant that the one thing characters could never do was go to sleep- a nice twist on the usual set-up: most horror victims are so afraid that they couldn’t drop off to sleep even if they wanted to; the Elm Street gang in contrast are kept awake by fear and desperately need rest but discover that this is the one thing they can’t have!
This whole concept of things that go bump in the night and monsters under the bed is an interesting one. There are various precedents throughout human history, stretching way back, but in particular the Tudors were very much on their guard against malicious nocturnal happenings. For them the devil was at his most dangerous when the sun went down, and the night wasn’t merely a time to go boozing or catching up on your box sets but a truly dangerous period.
The good news is that in 2018 we’ve got Science to help us in the fight against bad nights and we’ve got such things as buy now pay later beds from shops like Bedstar to help us to get comfortable. (There are no unexpected frights with their finance plans…!) These days we can strike a good balance between fear of The Unknown and a quantifiable understanding of The Known. This allows us to tease ourselves with a small dose of manageable fear from characters such as Freddy, Chuckie or whomever, and at the same time get enough untrammelled rest to go to work the next day and keep the world turning. …Wonderful progress!
So as we anticipate the release of another Krueger adventure this year we should all remember our Tudor forebears and their harrowed evenings. The modern psyche is faced with its own problems, but a genuine belief in wicked witches ain’t one of ‘em.