What’s in a name?

Freddy Krueger
Freddy Krueger

In my last article we looked at how much fiction was based on real life experiences. Since then my wife, Jane Teresa, wrote a blog about A Nightmare on Elm Street, a theme she had been asked about on a radio talk-back show. We had to watch the original 1984 movie, hailed as a landmark in the ‘slasher’ genre, because neither one of us had seen it.

Jane Teresa—who was ready from the start to leap nervously into my armpit—and I actually found the movie quite tame. It was the titbit in the little bit of research Jane Teresa did afterwards that really caught my attention.

Freddie Krueger, the evil phantom who plagued a bunch of high school kids (one of whom was the incredibly young looking Johnny Depp), was named after a real-life character who bullied the writer and director, Wes Craven, in the school yard.  His name was Fred Krueger.

Now, how would you feel? You’ve grown up. You’re in a respectable profession. Maybe you’re a kind-hearted teacher with three gentle children and a lovely wife. And then you’re thrust into the limelight as the influence behind a blockbuster slasher movie, and not in a good way.

A Happy Family
A Happy Family

Worse still, the movie is franchised, making Freddy Krueger a household name world over. There are eight more movies (grossing over $455 million), a TV show, and more merchandising than you could wave Freddy’s stick at.

I wonder where the real Freddy is now. And how does he feel? Has he changed his name, been chased out of the neighbourhood, and lost his family and his job?

You never know what’s going to happen when you point the finger, do you?