Two filmmakers responsible for countless screams in the horror genre had connections to Upstate New York.


No one could have guessed just how big 1984's A Nightmare on Elm St. would become. But it turns out its creator, Wes Craven, might've gotten the idea for the claw-wielding Freddy Krueger while living and working in Upstate New York.

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In the late 1960s, before he became a full-time filmmaker, Craven taught humanities at Clarkson University in Potsdam. And one of the main drags in Potsdam? You guessed it-- Elm Street.

New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema

This excerpt is from Clarkson University's webpage:

Rumor has it that the fright film auteur’s 1984 masterpiece, A Nightmare on Elm Street, was inspired by a house in Potsdam. Craven denies that direct connection to the birth of Freddy Krueger, but he did shoot his first short film almost as a lark in Potsdam, and shortly thereafter headed to New York City to start his film career in earnest.

(Fun fact: Craven started as porn director before transitioning to horror. Neat!)

Craven passed away in 2015 at the age of 76 due to complications from brain cancer.


Director John Carpenter has also spent some time creeping in the shadows of Upstate New York.

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Carpenter was born in 1948 in Carthage, New York, which is about a 25-minute drive east from Watertown. His father Howard Ralph Carpenter was a music professor. The Carpenters moved away to Kentucky when John was just a young boy, but he's still the most relevant thing to ever come out of Carthage.

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Trancas International Films

(Fun fact: Carpenter has the unique distinction of looking 70 years old for most of his life.)

Pretty cool that two of horror's most influential figures have ties to Upstate New York! It makes sense... it can be pretty scary here.

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