Ok, now that I’ve fucked up a major pillar of comics nerd fandom…
Ugh. Seriously, where the hell has my head been? I don’t even know. I have two copies of the damned graphic novel.
Ok, soooo I have been listening to this great podcast about horror called Women in Caskets. One of the hosts does voice acting for Rooster Teeth, and they’re both just delightful.
Anyway, just after they hit the year mark they did a seven part series on the Nightmare on Elm Street movies.
Now the first thing that surprised me was that I had seen as many of them as I had. Honest to gods, I did not remember ever seeing 4 or 5. But as they described them, I realized, no, I had seen both of them.
I smoked a lot of pot around the time those movies came out.
Anyway, as Jen and Dawn talked about the movies, they talked about how Freddie had been, sort of accidentally (at first), marketed to kids, and how the Elm Street films were one of the few horror series that had not featured massive amounts of gratuitous boobs or sex scenes.
And I sat back and thought about it.
The first movie had no nudity that I can remember. The second (ok, so it’s more like an 8 part series all told, because they did this one during their first year) had a little but it was oddly tasteful. The third had a little, but all the nudity took place in the dreams of a teenaged boy, same with four. Three also talks about Freddie being the result of the rape of a young nurse by the patients in the violent offenders ward. And I think it was 4 that has kind of a flashback scene about it, but still, the actual rape was very elided.
And if I remember right, five didn’t really have any nudity, either.
Now Freddie -vs- Jason did. Because several of Jason’s kills matched Jason’s usual MO, as in murdering fucking teenagers.
But most of the Elm Street movies did not.
Now Freddie does sprinkle the word “bitch” around like I sprinkle the word “fuck” around. So, not exactly feminist. But all the same, not as egregiously sexist as many other horror movies.
And there are scenes where his menace takes on a decidedly sexual flavor, but never crosses a line into rapey, like Nancy’s bath scene in the first movie. You don’t see anything, because bubbles, when his clawed hand reaches up between her legs. Also Freddie doesn’t only kill girls, and he doesn’t only kill teens who have sex.
Now, how Freddie wound up being marketed to kids.
So many of the deaths in the original Elm Street were massively cartoonish. The one where Johnny Depp’s character is yanked into the bed and then the blood fountain happens, for example. There wasn’t a lot of nudity, and much of America has this thing where sex is verboten, but violence is ok. This explains watching American Werewolf in London with a friend and her fundamentalist Christian parents, who covered up the screen with pillows during the porn theater scenes, but not the violent ones.
So, to many American parents, especially in the 80s, no sex = safe for kids.
Yeah, I know.
So, soon you had children’s toys and costumes of Freddie. Jen and Dawn go into depth about what merchandizing was produced, including lunchboxes, the 900 line, spin-off comics, and more.
And because kids liked the Nightmare movies, there was a conscious effort to keep them free of nudity going forward.
They really are the horror franchise with the least amount of gratuitous boobs. Recognizing that was a little weird.
So the only films I have not seen are Freddie’s Dead, Freddie -vs- Jason, and Wes Craven’s New American Nightmare.
I may need to rectify this. At least as far as Freddie -vs- Jason and the New American Nightmare are concerned.
It’s a little weird that somehow Wes Craven of all people wound up marketing THE horror franchise that many parents were oddly ok with their kids watching in the late 80s/early 90s. But there you go. Not much by way of nudity, the word bitch had, by this time been said on network television so that wasn’t a real problem, and the advent of the PG-13 rating.
But then I think about some of his other films, like The People Under the Stairs, there isn’t any nudity in that film, either. Which is a little weird considering his first big picture was Last House on the Left, which is still considered exceptionally gratuitously violent, with an on-screen rape.
Maybe Last House on the Left kind of broke him. Who knows?
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