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John Saxon Wrote an INSANE ‘Elm Street’ Prequel Back in 1987

“Donald Thompson secretly visits Mr. Krueger, a young, sensitive, bookish intellectual, who wears a red and green sweater…”

John Saxon is something of an icon in the horror world, having starred in two of the best horror movies ever made: Black Christmas in 1974 and A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984. Saxon is perhaps most known to horror fans for the latter film, which saw him play the father of heroine Nancy Thompson.

John Saxon later reprised the role of Donald Thompson in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, released in 1987. But what you probably don’t know about Saxon is that, the very same year that Dream Warriors came out, he penned his own treatment for a proposed prequel to Wes Craven’s original classic!

Aside from the Tobe Hooper-directed pilot episode of “Freddy’s Nightmares,” Freddy’s origin story has only been briefly delved into over the years. Granted, the films laid out much of the story, but Saxon’s pitch was to do something that has to date still not been done: make an entire movie out of Freddy’s reign of terror as the very human “Springwood Slasher.”

Well… sort of.

Over on eBay, the account TheMovieWizard is currently selling Saxon’s ultra-rare treatment for How the Nightmare on Elm Street All Began, a pitch package that has completely flown under the radar over the years. Hell, I’ve been a diehard Elm Street fan my whole life, and I had NEVER heard about this thing.

The film Saxon hoped to get off the ground was set in 1969, many years before the events of A Nightmare on Elm Street. Nancy Thompson is just five years old and, playing upon a deleted scene from the original Elm Street, she has a step-sister, Betsy Thompson (named Melody in an alternate treatment), who’s caught up in the hippie movement of the time.

Unfortunately, the eBay seller only uploaded photos of select pages from the treatment, but what I’ve been able to ascertain is that the story kicks into high gear when Donald takes the teenage Betsy to a therapist after bringing her home from a hippie commune she ran away to – a therapist whose name happens to be Frederick Krueger. At the time all of this Thompson family turmoil is going on, Donald is also investigating the murder of a young boy who was “stabbed with some kind of object that produces multiple wounds simultaneously.”

Betsy Thompson is soon killed. And of course, the killer is Fred… right?

The Elm Street parents eventually kidnap Freddy in the hopes of at least getting him to confess to his crimes, but they end up becoming so enraged by his confessions that they beat him up and burn him alive. After the murder, the young Nancy Thompson soon begins having visions of a burnt up demon wearing a red and green sweater.

Now here’s where things get REALLY CRAZY.

Again, I only have select pages of Saxon’s treatment at my disposal, but what I’m gathering is that his pitch was for Fred Krueger to actually be innocent of the crimes he’s forced to confess to – an idea briefly explored in the 2010 Elm Street remake. As he’s being burnt alive, he insists that he’s innocent, and that the Elm Street parents are actually to blame for their children losing their lives. Why? Because they didn’t care about their children enough. And because that lack of care led those teenagers, in 1969, to seek comfort in the arms of…


Yes, John Saxon’s Elm Street prequel pitch ties the lore of Freddy Krueger directly to Charles Manson, who was of course America’s biggest real-life villain during the time period his proposed film was to be set in. It was actually Manson who master-minded the murders Freddy was killed for, carried out by his loyal followers.

Naturally, Krueger returns from the dead in the nightmares of the Elm Street children, seeking revenge for his own wrongful death at the hands of the Elm Street parents.

Not only would Saxon’s proposed film have significantly deepened the history between Freddy Krueger and his greatest adversary, Nancy Thompson, but it also would’ve blown minds by introducing the idea that Freddy was actually innocent all along. Furthermore, it would’ve linked the fictional slasher icon to one of American history’s most notorious bad guys, which would have forever changed everything we thought we knew about Freddy and the Elm Street mythology.

Needless to say, Saxon’s Elm Street prequel would’ve been bold, bonkers and like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Perhaps a little *too* bold, if anything.

If you’re interested, you can preview and purchase the crazy treatment over on eBay.



  • venerablemonster

    If this is legit, it’s an awesome piece of history. I love John Saxon. Can’t say I like the idea of trying to connect Nightmare to something real like Manson, though. Still, a unique idea for sure.

  • Tony Harley

    Manson???? Was he high when he wrote that???

    • sailor monsoon

      Makes more sense than the majority of the sequels

    • Quadriple

      Well, Craven snorted some of that good white so what’s wrong with it 😛

      • Tony Harley

        never said there was anything wrong with it just that he must’ve been high to write something so stupid 😛

  • WondrousPoop

    So he would have retconned Nancy’s age? Naaaaah.

    • PhoenixRising

      Is it ever explicitly stated in Nightmare 1 what year it is? It was released ’84 but could’ve easily taken place a few years earlier.

      • tlyon2

        In Nightmare On Elm Street 2 Nancy’s diary that Jessie and Lisa find is stated that on March 15th’ 1981 is when he started coming after her!

  • sliceanddice

    Weird – but still sounds better than freddy’s dead.


    The treatment sold for $350. I doubt the purchaser will be kind enough to post it on the web for everyone else.

    The idea of Freddy being innocent is interesting. But it does turn a classic bogeyman into more of a tragic figure. And it’s sort of hard to accept that someone who never killed a kid would delight in killing kids in the afterlife.

  • Necro

    I don’t think it is a good idea anymore because of Robert’s age, but for about 10 years after the release of ‘New Nightmare’ I was always hoping for a prequel to ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’. Basically ‘Freddy’ was a sick fuck when he was the ‘Dream Demon’, but I always wanted to see (at the time, preferably anyway) Wes Craven tackle that film obviously because he created the character, and imagining the ‘human’ version of ‘Freddy’ was way more frightening to me, especially when we know the crimes he liked to committ. Sure we got bits and pieces of it here and there……..but. One thing Wes did really well in most of his films (besides Freddy) was show us human monsters. It’s really cool to me to know that someone actually tried to make that story happen. IMO

  • Kyle Ord

    Couldn’t care less

    I’m sick of them explaining why our killers kill

    • Werewolf

      Demystifying always screws things up. It’s more fun when it’s unexplained.

      Because you get to wonder.

  • j johns

    This needs to be a major motion picture

  • Nathan

    Just make another Nightmare already.

  • Leland_Gaunt

    As a die-hard FredHead, all I can say is…….this… is… F-ING AWESOME!!! :O :O :O

  • Laura Kinney (X-23)

    Damn, they should mass produce this and sell it for big $$$$!! I’d love to read it!!

  • Saturn

    Let’s not forget that Saxon was also in Enter The Dragon – so…..(I seem to remember someone in that having a claw like hand also……)

    • Werewolf

      Mr. Han…or “Mr. Hand Man” as Williams put it.

  • Saturn

    I always thought that the whole “Freddy was innocent” angle which was kinda hinted at in the remake was wasted.
    It would have been a great twist if it had turned out that the children had lied, and Freddy was murdered for something he didn’t do – and his rage was truly aimed at the children who had sentenced him to death.
    THAT would have distanced the remake from the original series – and could have led to it’s own distinct franchise – but no, they bottled it.
    Shame really.
    It could have been based on the whole shadow people thing that the original series was based on, with one of them controlling Freddy for vengeance, but once his revenged has played out it didn’t let Freddy go – it used him to steal more souls, the souls of the truly innocent….

    • Frank Gambino

      Astute observation

  • Patrick Urrutia

    John Saxon wrote a script? Aww how cute. Let’s put it on the fridge shall we

  • 9eyedeel

    Freddy Krueger did nothing wrong.

  • Levi Dephyton

    What the fuck?! This would have been amazing.. I say this should still be made, maybe not in this way but maybe more in a Rob Zombies Halloween way.. do another reboot that tells this backstory but in a different way. Let the first like 20 minutes be Freddy being framed and killed for something he didn’t do then after death he returns years later and goes after those whom took part in his deaths teenage kids.. PERFECT. AMAZING. GREENLIGHT. AND GO. (Also, cast Kevin Bacon as Freddy K) ❤

  • HalesTales

    This would have been a wonderful movie. It’s a shame that John’s imagination and hard work was relegated to being ignored and sold on eBay for a measly $350. He and the work deserve better.

  • I Am Colossus

    Well, someone make this, I’d go see it on gp

  • seanwhiteman

    I hear Tarantino is working off this treatment for his new project.

    • darklordofgorgoroth

      Quentin Tarantino = Hack!

  • Darkknight2149

    Hell, I would have watched this. It does sound interesting.

  • Shane o mac

    Of course it was never made……because it sounds better then any of the sequels that was made and the movie studio didn’t want peeps to think an actor could write a better movie then their (the studio) writers lol

  • Bluegrasslass

    John Saxon was also in Dario Argento’s classic, Tenebrae!

    • Re-Bop

      He was in a ton of awesome Italian genre movies. I’m always stoked when he shows up. I have fond memories of him shooting a laser cannon in the climax of Hands of Steel.

  • Khy

    I never understood the random obsession this fan base has with a Nightmare prequel.

    And this sounds like shit.

  • hecramsey2

    It’s not the first time I heard the possibility FK was innocent. This wasn’t discussed in another ELM STREET? It struck me as odd that he was supposed to be a pedophile but only attacked late teens and adults.

  • The Truth Will Set You Free

    I’m not sure about tying Manson into this. And I don’t think Freddy should be “innocent”. You don’t take one of the greatest cinema villains and make him sympathetic. They did this with Leatherface in the new TEXAS CHAINSAW and it was silly.

    I always felt that the most important piece of Freddy has NEVER been explored… how exactly did he go from being a janitor to having the power to come back from the dead in the form of dreams? Was he possessed by a demon at some point as a human? Maybe Freddy, the man was innocent, but he got possessed by a demon that made him a child killer? Or maybe he was a lonely man who got caught up in dark arts and became a monster, and was strengthed through death?

    To me, explore that in a reboot.

    • Re-Bop

      Was it Freddy’s Dead where it shows him right after he died making a deal with flaming skull tadpole demons? I might be getting confused. Either way, it’s not a shining moment in the series.

  • darklordofgorgoroth

    Freddy is NOT supposed to be innocent. It utterly castrates his character! ’nuff said

  • guest

    that sounds… crazy.

    and then we’ll need a $equel where innocent freddy shows up in manson’s dreams to get revenge.

    and freddy gets too scared and leaves.

  • HeteroFriendly

    “who’s caught up in the hippie movement of the time.”

    What could be more frightening then the violence, rape and murder that followed the hippie revolution and still follows them everywhere they go and everything they touch to this day.

    Someone should film the terrifying true story of that.
    But that’ll never get greelit in hollywood.

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