‘Nightmare,’ ‘Halloween’ creators have north country roots

Two masters of horror have north country roots
Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 6:01 AM EDT
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(WWNY) - Two of the movie industry’s best horror film directors had local connections.

For 38 years “A Nightmare on Elm Street” has been a cult classic horror movie. It follows the terrifying Freddy Krueger, a murderous boogey man who kills victims in their dreams.

The movie was written and directed by Wes Craven, which came to him after living and working right here in the north country.

Craven was a professor at Clarkson University from 1966 to 1968 and then taught at Madrid-Waddington school district the following year.

During this time, he began making short films and -- wouldn’t you know -- a main street in Potsdam is Elm Street.

Craven attributes his idea for the story from real events he read about in the 70s, when Cambodian refugees in the U.S. started dying mysteriously during nightmares.

The titular villain, Craven says, was modeled after his childhood bully, also named Freddy Krueger.

The movie was an instant hit in 1984 and Craven developed the franchise to make several more. He was also busy directing the Scream movies, “The Hills Have Eyes,” “The Last House on the Left,” and many others.

The St. Lawrence County professor was dubbed a legend in slasher film production.

And he’s not the only horror director from the area.

You’ve probably flicked on “Halloween” around this time of year to get a thrill with murderer Michael Myers.

That movie, and several others in the franchise, was written and directed by Carthage native John Carpenter.

He was born in the village in 1948. His father, Howard, was a music professor.

The family moved away when Carpenter was young, but the local connection still exists.

“Halloween” was released in 1978 and was considered one of the most profitable independent movies of its day.

Carpenter went on to write, direct, produce, or compose soundtracks for more slasher films., including others in the ever-growing “Halloween” franchise.