In the annals of moviemaking history, Freddy Krueger occupies a singular place in the tradition of such anti-heroes as Dracula, Frankenstein and the
Wolfman. Like those memorable figures, his antics have no doubt inspired more that a fair share of terror. Yet Freddy has also found his way into the hearts of moviegoers by remaining, in a word, human.
Freddy Krueger is much more than a mere movie star - he is a one-man growth industry. According to Forbes magazine (2/6/89),"Freddy Krueger has generated nearly $300 million in domestic and foreign box office receipts and videocassette sales, plus over $3 million in licensing fees for Freddy posters, T-shirts and other paraphernalia. As of last fall, Freddy even has his own hour-long syndicated television series, 'Freddy's Nightmares,' which airs in 159 markets around the country." Krueger has translated nightmares into a dream business.
Not only has he been profiled endlessly in many diverse publications, Freddy Krueger has rapped with the Fat Boys and had his own special on MTV. This year, Freddy and A Nightmare on Elm Street were included in the Whitney Museum Suburban Life Show. Both Freddy and A Nightmare on Elm Street were featured within the show in "The Living Room Tableau" which consisted of a television in a living room with a couch. The television continuously aired A Nightmare on Elm Street. As further proof of his popularity, he gets thousands of fan letters each week. Perhaps even more remarkable, this undeniable appeal is evidenced by frequent proposals of marriage. A product of our times, Freddy Krueger has also suffered defeat at the hands of a woman in each chapter of the Nightmare series.
With a success that has been assessed by Wall Street analysts and analyzed endlessly by prominent psychologists, the phenomenon of Freddy Krueger is as open to interpretation as dreams themselves. According to Rolling Stone magazine (10/6/88), Dr. Stephen
LaBerge, a Stanford University research psychologist whose specialty is sleep, said of the Freddy films: "Freddy is an intriguing dream character. Ordinarily in our dreams, dream characters do not have more power over you than you have over them unless you give them that power. That was shown quite well in the third film, where Freddy overcomes each of his opponents by finding their own weakness, which is something they already know about themselves. They were always trying to overcome this monster from the id, so they would fail for some reason having to to with failing in themselves. You see, you can't fool Freddy, because he knows what you know. And so Freddy just keeps coming back, no matter what. Actually, that's probably what he would do until you accepted him, or tried to love him. In my approach to nightmares, that is the whole key: you stop trying to get rid of these frightening characters; instead, you accept them as a part of yourself, and the moment that you love them, they transform."
While he has seemingly been killed off in each of his last four films, Freddy Krueger is living proof that, according to Dracula himself, "To die, to really be dead, that must be glorious." Though he has by no means reached the zenith of his ever-growing popularity, Freddy concluded that "fame may come and go, but there will always be nightmares."