Please, allow me a moment and this small post to get a little 80-year-old, ultraconservative Grandma on you.
This past weekend Partner and I watched the latest remake of the movie A Nightmare on Elm St. Yes, the new one with the hunky 20-something guys (meaning Kellan Lutz). Now, I've known the basic premise of the Freddy Krueger mythos for years: he's a creepy pervert that preyed on one too many of the neighborhood kids, and then all of the parents banded together, trapped him in a warehouse, and burned him alive. Now he haunts the dreams of his would-be victims.
Something, this time around, clicked for me. In this most recent incarnation of the Nightmare, they go back to the very beginning of the franchise and reintroduce it to today's audience. In this latest storyline, the basic plot remains the same, but they spend a lot of extra time enhancing the psychological torture theme. Freddy was a gardener at the local preschool, and he took the children down to a secret room under the school and did horrible things to them, photographing some of the more heinous sexual crimes.
Of course, the storyline follows a similar course: the parents, as a group, realize what's going on and chase him down to a warehouse, then burn him alive. Today, Freddy is seeking out his former victims so that he can continue to instill fear in their dreams and kill them for turning him in.
The thing that clicked this time around is that the basis of the story is wildly sickening. Take it out of the context of a Wes Craven, fantasy-tinged horror film and break it down to its basic parts. The local preschool's gardener was a pedophile that traumatized an entire class of small children. Once the parents found out, they chased him down (instead of calling the police) and burned him alive. They then hid this information from their young children, who forgot all about it until it turns out the pedophile who terrorized them isn't as dead as their parent's had hoped and now continues to haunt these children's dreams. Only this time, there can be no justice, as he's already dead. He can haunt them and taunt them and sexually molest them and do all manner of torture to them in their dreams, up to and including killing them, and he will never have to answer for it.
Without the science fiction of the man-turned-dream walker, this is something I saw quite often while working in the juvenile court system. Children haunted and psychologically tortured indefinitely over what some sick man or woman did to them when they were small. However, unlike Wes Craven's idea of a good franchise 80's-era serial killer storyline, the real world tends to frown on pedophilia. It is not rewarded with immortality and the ability to enact your twisted fantasies on innumerable victims. There is, usually, a sense of justice and finality - at least when it comes to sentencing.
People go to prison; they are kept away from their victims and any and all potential victims. The message here seems to be that you can try and separate yourself by time and distance, even the boundaries of life and death, from your tormentor, and they will still haunt you, still victimize you, and still be able to come after you...even from the grave.
What a horrible story. There is no finality, because he just comes back and kills your parents instead. But, I put this to you, the Rioters. What do YOU think about characters such as Freddy? What is their purpose in the greater culture, and why are they so popular and celebrated when their stories are so horrendous? These films seem to me to celebrate the killer, and to enjoy the manner in which he kills without mercy and cannot be stopped. And I suppose there is a place for such indulgence, but to celebrate a pedophile...?
I just never really thought Hollywood, in the modern era, would go that far. But, this is the same institution that continues putting out the Explosions! series. I mean...the Michael Bay Transformers franchise.
Love and Lyte,