The basic synopsis for A Nightmare on Elm Street is pretty terrifying right? A deceased child murderer who now kills teenagers in their sleep. In true irony, the nightmare that dreams are made of. Everyone knows by now that Freddy Kreuger was inspired by a creepy elder man Craven spotted as a kid one night. But the real world inspirations for the film's dream concept might be more horrifying given they were based on real events.
The basis of the film was actually inspired by several newspaper articles printed in the Los Angeles Times in the 1970's about Hmong refugees. After fleeing to the United States because of war and genocide in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, they suffered disturbing nightmares. Some refused to sleep while others, specifically men, died in their sleep soon after. Medical authorities dubbed the phenomenon "Asian Death Syndrome" which afflicts men between the ages of 19 and 57 and was believed to be sudden unexplained death syndrome or Brugada syndrome or both. Craven also says the 1970's pop song "Dream Weaver", by Gary Wright, sealed the story for him, giving him not only an artistic setting to jump off from, but a synthesizer riff for the movie soundtrack. Stay tuned!