31 Days of Horror: One, Two, Freddy’s Coming for You…and He’s Bringing Posters

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) by Alex Pardee

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) by Alex Pardee

When it was released in 1984, A Nightmare on Elm Street rejuvenated the slasher film by putting the final pitchfork into the “mystery killer” formula of the original Friday the 13th. By the time the decade ended, A Nightmare on Elm Street killed the slasher film by transforming its monster into a wise cracking quipster and pushing the low-rent genre’s budgets increasingly higher with the necessity for elaborate effects sequences.

The series includes six sequels, a “monster rally” pitting Freddy vs. Jason and a remake produced by Michael Bay. Here’s how original Nightmare director Wes Craven first concocted the franchise’s central conceit.

“…it was a series of articles in the LA TIMES, three small articles about men from South East Asia, who were from immigrant families and who had died in the middle of nightmares…The third one was the son of a physician. He was about twenty-one…Everybody in his family said almost exactly these lines: ‘You must sleep.’ He said, ‘No, you don’t understand; I’ve had nightmares before—this is different.’ He was given sleeping pills and told to take them and supposedly did, but he stayed up. I forget what the total days he stayed up was, but it was a phenomenal amount—something like six, seven days. Finally, he was watching television with the family, fell asleep on the couch, and everybody said, ‘Thank god.’ They literally carried him upstairs to bed; he was completely exhausted. Everybody went to bed, thinking it was all over. In the middle of the night, they heard screams and crashing. They ran into the room, and by the time they got to him he was dead.” – Wes Craven in a 2008 interview with Cinefantastique Online

The Theatrical Posters

The poster designs for the initial five films in the Elm Street series were all created by artist Matthew Joseph Peak. The images below come from the poster database IMPAwards.com.

The VHS Covers

These cover scans, along with hundreds of others, can be found at VHS Wasteland.

Miscellaneous Freddy 

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