The Life and Death of Freddy Krueger
The terrifying origin of the Springwood Slasher
By Jeffrey Cooper
Note: Freddy Krueger’s original origin story, “The Life and Death of Freddy Krueger,” was featured in movie novelization The Nightmares on Elm Street Parts 1, 2, & 3 and resource book The Nightmare on Elm Street Companion. Marvel Comics also used this story and expanded on it for their origin tale of Freddy in their two issue comic book series.
New Line Cinema has long abandoned the story in “Life and Death” for the updated origin set in films. A Nightmare on Elm Street Parts 3, 5, and Freddy’s Dead completely rewrote Freddy’s past. Though not canon, “Life and Death” is an interesting look at what was once considered Freddy’s origin. See Timeline for more information about Freddy’s past.
The Life and Death of Freddy Krueger
Frederick Charles Krueger was born amidst a raging fire in the old insane asylum on 1428 Elm Street, the bastered son of a beautiful young schizophrenic who died alone and unattended in the agony of childbirth. In later years, Freddy would distinctly remember his mother’s screams of pain as the first sounds he ever heard.
Raised from infancy by a succession of ax murderers, rapists, and arsonists, young Freddy was adopted at an early age by a lonely old pimp who hoped that the strange-looking boy might someday make himself useful by luring curious drunks into the filthy alley in which his disease-ridden whores earned their meager pay. Whenever the old man would catch his adopted son enjoying the services of one of his employees, he would express his displeasure by beating the boy almost to the point of unconsciousness with a razor strop. It did not take young Freddy long to begin associating sexual pleasure with the infliction of pain. Occasionally, the old man would punish Freddy for some imaginary offense by drawing blood from his belly with a straight razor. Refusing to cry out loud no matter how badly his sadistic father slashed him, the boy began to take a perverse sort of pleasure in fingering the narrow scars that soon covered the front of his body.
As a young man, Freddy showed no more aptitude as a pimp than the old man showed as a father. Finding the boy to be of no practical use, the old pimp paid no attention to him whatsoever except when doling out his daily punishment. After a while, Freddy began almost to welcome the beatings, which were the only expression of parental interest he was ever to know. Freddy finally decided to run away after being savagely beaten by his father and left for dead in the alley. Before he left, Freddy used the money he found in the old man’s strongbox to hire a professional arsonist to torch his house while the old pimp slept peacefully upstairs.
Freddy never bothered to find out whether the old man survived the blaze.
With no formal schooling and no particular skills or aptitudes, Freddy wandered from town to town doing odd jobs and getting into trouble with the law. He began to drink heavily and spent many nights sleeping in the gutter. Freddy was sleeping in an alley near the local schoolhouse when a group of young boys decided to try picking the drunks pockets. One boy’s hand was still in his pocket when Freddy awoke in a drunken rage and lashed out wildly with the bottle of gin clenched in his hand. The bottle landed on the boy’s head with a loud crash as his four companions fled in terror. Freddy watched the boys run away and then looked thoughtfully at the child who was bleeding to death beside him in the alley. They’re scared of me, he thought, strangely exhilarated as never before by the unfamiliar feeling of power that surged through his body like a shot of Adrenaline. Freddy carried the bleeding boy to a deserted cellar and studied his figure for a long time. Children are useless, he thought, repeating a sentimet often heard muttered by the old man who raised him. Children are better off dead, he thought, improvising freely on the theme. He reached into his pocket and took out the straight razor he had taken from the old man’s closet before leaving home. Freddy roughly tore off the boy’s clothing and studied his smooth white belly for a moment. Then, recalling the four boys who escaped, Freddy cut four deep incisions into the boy’s flesh. He watched for a while as the blood spurted out, his face flushed with triumph. For the first time in his life, Freddy Krueger was in control. It was a feeling he did not want to live without ever again.
Freddy continued his nomadic existence until he arrived at the suburban community of Springwood. There was something about Springwood that instantly outraged him. Perhaps it was the well-cared-for lawns and lovely tree-lined streets that were so much more beautiful than anything he had even dreamed of as a child. Or perhaps it was the carefree children of Springwood so blissfully unaware of the suffering and anguish of the real world. Suddenly, Freddy knew his calling in life. He would teach these smug suburbanites and their children what the world was really all about.
He would teach them the true meaning of pain. For the first time in his life, Freddy looked for a regular job, and he soon found one maintaining the boiler in the old generating plant on the outskirts of town. The work was easy enough, and it left Freddy with plenty of time to devote to his true calling. He soon decided that his old straight razor was insufficient to do the holy work that needed to be done. Freddy spent many hours in the machine shop, forging the deadly tool he would need to carry out his mission. These were among the happiest hours of his life – designing and then building the special glove with its four deadly fingerblades. Carefully, with a feeling akin to love, Freddy cut the gleaming metal, honing it to a fine, razor-sharp and then fitting the assembled apparatus into the fingerless leather glove. Then, when it was finally done, he took a deep breath and slipped the deadly talons onto his hand.
A perfect fit!
And now it was time to put his creation to the test.
The next day, Freddy slipped into his comfortable red and green sweater, donned his crumpled fedora, climbed into the front seat of his battered Chevy van, and drove into town. Lovingly, he clicked the blades that gleamed so beautifully on his right hand and waited patiently in the alley adjacent to Springwood Elementary School. He felt his muscles tense with excitement as the bell rang, announcing the end of another school day. For a fleeting moment, Freddy wondered what it would have been like to have gone to school with other children, to have had friends and to have played the innocent games of childhood. For that one brief moment, Freddy wondered if it might not be terribly wrong to interfere with the normal development of a child, to cut off at its very beginnings a human life of almost infinite possibilities and potentialities.
Then he saw the children, laughing and skipping as they rushed into their parents’ loving arms, and Freddy knew what he had to do. There was a little girl standing at the curb not far from the alley. Perhaps her mother had had difficulty starting the car or maybe a long line at the supermarket had set her schedule back a few minutes. No matter. The little girl was very much alone, and Freddy felt a stirring deep in his wicked soul. Squinting into the sunlight, he read the name ‘Amy’ written in bright pink letters on the girl’s lunchbox. ‘Amy?’ he whispered, but the girl didn’t seem to hear him. ‘Amy,’ he repeated, a little louder this time. The girl looked at him with her large blue eyes. ‘Come here,’ he said, beckoning to the girl with his left hand. She looked away for a moment, glancing up the street as if expecting her mother to arrive at any moment. Then she looked back at Freddy, and he knew in that instant that he had won. ‘Come here,’ he repeated. The girl hesitated for only a moment and then stepped into the alley.
‘Who are you?’ she asked in a small, sweet voice that set Freddy’s teeth on edge.
‘Uncle Freddy,’ he replied, liking the sound of it. ‘Your mother said I should bring you home.’
The girl shook her head doubtfully. ‘I don’t have an Uncle Freddy,’ she said.
‘You do now,’ said Freddy, raising his right hand high into the air. Then he brought it down, his temples pound- ing as his left hand covered the child’s mouth and his right tore four deadly gashes in her soft belly. Freddy looked at the bloodied glove for a moment and felt joy deep in his soul. How easily the little one had died! He lifted the girl’s bloody body and carried it quickly to his parked van, feeling more alive than he had ever felt before. He stashed the body under some blankets in the back of the van and drove to the power plant. There he unloaded the body and hid it in a large unused storage locker in the back of the boiler room. Then he sat back and breathed deeply of the hot, stifling boiler room air that he had learned to love.
At last, Freddy’s life had meaning.
After that, Freddy found it easy to fulfill his self-proclaimed destiny. His methods of abduction varied, but the result was always the same. He loved to see the newspaper accounts of the kidnapping, but it troubled him that no one knew for certain whether the missing children were dead. He began leaving puddles of blood at the murder sites so that everyone would know that these were not mere kidnappings. It was important to him that the smug parents of Springwood know that their children were being carefully and methodically butchered. Freddy soon learned that leaving evidence around was not the wisest course for a murderer to pursue. One morning, a small squadron of police led by the intrepid Lieutenant Thompson burst into the power plant and found the rotting bodies of the towrfs murdered children. Freddy was arrested and brought to trial amid great publicity. Fortunately for Freddy, however, the public defender who handled the case was extremely thorough in his preparation. He examined the search warrant that had gained the police admittance to the power plant the day they arrested Freddy and found a technical error in the wording of the document. The search was ruled illegal, and the case against Freddy was thrown out of court. Despite public outcry, the Springwood Slasher was set free.
It was time to move on, and Freddy knew it. There would be other towns and other children. Next time, Freddy vowed, he would not be so easy to catch. That night, Freddy packed his meager belongings into the back of his van and settled in for one last night’s sleep before hitting the road. He had just settled into a cozy corner of the boiler room with a bottle of his favorite gin when he heard the commotion outside. The angry people of Springwood, led by Lt. Don Thompson and his wife Marge, had decided to take the law into their own hands. It was the Thompson’s and their Elm Street neighbors, the Lantzes, who poured the gasoline around the power plant; and it was the Grays and the Lanes who set the fuel afire. Never again would their children – Nancy, Glen, Tina, Rod, and all the others – be terrorized by the wicked Fred Krueger. They smiled grimly as the power plant began to burn, and someone in the mob applauded when Freddy appeared in the doorway, his red and green sweater burning brightly in the night. Even as the flames con-summed his flesh, Freddy could be heard cursing the mob and screaming his vows of revenge. Then, with one last cry of agony, the burning figure turned from the crowd and raced madly into the very flames that were devouring him.
The body was never found.
‘I guess we’ve seen the last of Fred Krueger,’ said Marge Thompson that night, breathing a deep sigh of relief as she examined Freddy’s blood-caked finger-knives with a mixture of disgust and ill-concealed fascination.
But Marge was wrong.
Freddy would be back.
And the nightmare was just about to begin…