Most horror movie fans will agree: A Nightmare On Elm Street is one of the classics. Not only was the premise utterly terrifying for anyone trying to sleep afterwards, but in the year that it was released the thriller managed to get under your skin and seem just a little too real. As it turns out, maybe it was...
In the film, several people are hunted by a serial killer stalking them in their dreams, who uses supernatural powers to create nightmarish situations before slashing them with his glove made of knives.
One of the characters begins to realize that the only way for them to stay alive is to stay awake, with no one else understanding why. A scary concept, and one that must have come from the darkest region of Wes Craven's (director) mind. Only it didn't.
During the 70s, a rash of young men dying in their sleep prompted several news stories about the strange circumstances surrounding the deaths. The weird part was that in all of the cases, the victims refused to go to sleep for days on end, and when they finally did, that's when they died.
Craven found this fascinating,"What if the dreams they were having actually killed these men? And what if they were all sharing a common frightening dream?". He decided to create a villain that existed only in the minds of his victims, where anything could happen and making it almost impossible for anyone but each other to believe their stories.
But wait, what about the news story? What was causing all of these sleep deaths? And why were they all fighting the urge to go to sleep only to perish once they closed their eyes?
It turns out the answer was something almost as horrifying, and it was very, very real.