Since its beginning, fans of A Nightmare on Elm Street have debated whether everybody’s favorite killer who stalks you in your dreams, Freddy Krueger, was originally a child killer before he was sent to the great beyond to live on as a dream demon, or if he was a child molester on top of being a child murderer.
A while back this debate was answered as it was revealed that Wes Craven’s original screenplay did establish Freddy as a pedophile, but New Line Cinema asked for this to be taken out as to avoid controversy because at the time there was a widely-publicized string of child rapes in California. In the 2010 remake they did make Freddy into a child molester, which fans were not too happy about.
It seems making it clear that Freddy was a pedophile alters the character so much that it took the ambiguity away and part of the appeal of Freddy has always been the audience’s ability to partially root for him, and get a kick out of his hijinks. Child murderer vs. Child molester-murderer has been the biggest debate amongst Freddy fans for decades. But perhaps the much bigger question fans should be asking is whether Freddy was ever guilty of the crimes he was accused of to begin with.
5. The Original Blue-Print
Now, in order for this theory to work, we have to examine the first Nightmare on Elm Street film as being the original creation of screenwriter and director, Wes Craven. Craven was not involved in the direct sequel, Freddy’s Revenge, and he had limited involvement with Part 3: Dream Warriors, so we can look at the original as a standalone work of an auteur.
If you will remember, the original film acts as both slasher film and a mystery as final girl Nancy Thompson unearths the truth about Freddy Krueger, the man who is terrorizing her in her dreams and picking off her friends one by one—but does Nancy ever fully ascertain the truth about Krueger?
Let’s take a look at the scene in Part 1 when Nancy’s mother finally tells her who Fred Krueger is.
Nancy: “Who is Fred Krueger, mother? He’s after me now.”
Marge: “You want to know who Fred Krueger was? He was a filthy child murderer who killed at least 20 kids in the neighborhood. Kids we all knew. It drove us crazy when we didn’t know who it was, but it was even worse after they caught him.”
Nancy: “Did they put him away?”
Marge: “The lawyers got fat and the judge got famous, but somebody forgot to sign a search warrant in the right place and Krueger was free just like that. A bunch of us parents tracked him down after they let him out. We found him in an old abandoned boiler room where he used to take his kids.”
Listen to the language she uses: “The lawyers got fat and the judge got famous.” Her dismissive tone shows where her opinion on the matter lies, but she is completely biased because she and the other parents of Elm Street were convinced Freddy was the culprit. In their blind rage they took the law into their own hands and lynched Freddy. Bear in mind that, historically, lynch mobs don’t have the greatest record of accuracy.
Why would Nancy’s mother be so racked with guilt herself if she was so sure of Freddy’s guilt? The woman goes through life in a haze of vodka because she is deeply upset about something.
Let’s turn next to Freddy coming back from the dead.