A Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger is one of the most famous horror villains ever, and he's got an origin story just as twisted as his kills. Beginning with 1984's original A Nightmare on Elm Street film, written and directed by the late, great Wes Craven, Robert Englund staked his claim to legendary status by portraying cinema's quintessential night terror. A serial child killer dubbed The Springwood Slasher in life, Freddy Krueger became something much worse in death, the literal man of his victims' dreams.
While the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise had its ups and downs, what stayed consistent was Englund's enthusiasm for playing Freddy, even if his enthusiasm for spending hours in the make-up chair eventually wore thin. Whether a film's script called for a more terrifying or more comedic Freddy, Englund would play his part with aplomb, and made even the worst of the sequels enjoyable, at least when he was onscreen.
Interestingly enough though, despite Freddy spending much of the 1980s as a beloved pop culture icon, people sometimes forget just how amazingly messed up the character's backstory is. For one, in addition to being a killer, the films heavily implied Freddy was a child molester as well, an element made explicit in the forgettable 2010 remake starring Jackie Earle Haley. As if that wasn't bad enough, Freddy's origin, both as a human being and later a dream stalker, is truly the stuff nightmares are made of.
Freddy Krueger's Birth Was a Result of Multiple Rapes
Over the course of the first two Nightmare on Elm Street films, all we really learn about Freddy is that he was a blue collar worker who killed his young victims in a boiler room, and that his signature knife-glove was a homemade murder weapon. Freddy got off on a technicality for his crimes, then was burned alive by angry parents. Much more is revealed in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. It turns out that Freddy's very conception was horrifying, as it came following a nun named Amanda Krueger being accidentally locked inside an asylum for the criminally insane. She was raped hundreds of times, and the result was Freddy, "the bastard son of 100 maniacs." In an interesting Easter egg, one of the mental patients is played by Englund without make-up.
Freddy Krueger's Childhood Was a Living Hell of Abuse
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child heroine Alice (Lisa Wilcox) is later made to relive that mental asylum scenario when Freddy starts to come after her via her unborn baby's dreams, but ultimately defeats him with the help of Amanda Krueger's ghost. In Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, it's revealed that following his birth, Freddy was sent to live with an abusive alcoholic foster father named Mr. Underwood, played by rock music icon Alice Cooper in a cameo. He was also bullied relentlessly at school, and showed early signs of his later behavior by killing animals and committing acts of self-harm. Things reached a boiling point when he grew tired of Underwood's abuse and made the man his first human victim.
Freddy Krueger Killed His Wife in Front of His Daughter
Freddy's Dead also reveals what Freddy was like as a living adult for the first time, showing that he had managed to marry a woman named Loretta, and have a daughter with her named Kathryn. Freddy tried to maintain a front of normalcy, but Loretta eventually found his secret room full of different glove weapons and murder mementos. When confronted, Freddy snapped and killed her, unaware Kathryn was standing nearby. He approached a crying Kathryn, who promised she wouldn't tell, but she did, leading to Freddy's capture, and setting the first A Nightmare on Elm Street in motion. With an origin story like that, it's no wonder Freddy couldn't rest in peace.