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Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street will celebrate its 30th anniversary on November 9… the day the original opened up in theaters and introduced sleepy teens to the terror that is, was and forever shall be Freddy Krueger. In preparation for the milestone, Craven has been sharing a ton of information about the creation – and impact – of his incredibly influential horror franchise, including how he came up with the idea in the first place.

With Craven coming off of Swamp Thing and The Hills Have Eyes Part II at the time, he needed to find something that was truly terrifying. And he found it in real life, so to speak.

The way Wes Craven describes it, he came up with the idea for A Nightmare on Elm Street after reading an L.A. Times article about a family that had survived the Killing Fields in Cambodia. They made it to the United States, but a young boy in the family still found himself haunted by terrible nightmares while he slept. Craven says:

“He told his parents he was afraid that if he slept, the thing chasing him would get him, so he tried to stay awake for days at a time. When he finally fell asleep, his parents thought this crisis was over. Then they heard screams in the middle of the night. By the time they got to him, he was dead. He died in the middle of a nightmare. Here was a youngster having a vision of a horror that everyone older was denying. That became the central line of Nightmare on Elm Street”. (1)

The night is coming.

What is unreal is real.
What is untrue is true.
What seems absurd is not.

Be careful of what you laugh at.

It may come back at the night to bite you…

Every night we die.
Every day we are reborn.
See the light.
You really like it because you have experienced the darkness…

Let the candle burn.
Sleep tight.
I love you.

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