A Clarkson Mosaic - page 338

of Technology tournament. In the 177-pound class, sophomore Jay Robinson was outstanding,
finishing his initial season unbeaten, including an individual ICAC championship.
"Nightmare on Elm Street."
Prompted by the art requirement in the sophomore Humanities
IV course for which each student had to submit an art project (photograph, poem, clay
sculpture, soap sculpture, drawing, painting, etc.,) three students approached Wesley Craven,
Humanities instructor, with a proposal to make a film as their project. He thought it would be
fun, and the group began. What they found in reality was a nightmare of their own. Craven
remembered the Dramatechers were involved, and two of the students, John Heneage and Ken
Lyon served as co-directors. (See 1955)
Eventually titled "Pandora's Experimentia," this forerunner of Craven's later box-office
hits, the "Nightmare on Elm Street" sequences, served as nightmares for these inexperienced
film makers. Craven admitted that none of them knew anything about sound, none of them
knew anything about editing, and none of them knew anything about cinema. The film cost
about $300 to make and was shown twice. Glue was used to splice the segments. Because the
directors were members of Theta Chi fraternity, that house on Elm Street was chosen as the
location of the action. It had been a funeral parlor early in the century, and that fact helped
stimulate the creators' imaginations. And one of the scenes was a staged bank robbery on Elm
Street in Potsdam.
In an interview published in
magazine in 1989, Craven said, "It was more like
`Let's make as many mistakes as possible and see what happens.'" He continued to work on
scripts while he taught Humanities at Clarkson, but because he was not working to complete his
doctoral dissertation, he and Clarkson parted company.
Eventually he drifted to Hollywood, and entered the horror movie business.
Recognizing that almost every horror movie is a moneymaker, he also realized that these efforts
were greeted with critical disdain, and merely as a teenage phenomenon. Despite those factors,
however, Craven stayed with horror movies. They deal with primal emotions, childhood
experiences such as fear of the dark and of strangers, which seem to be the source of their
appeal to young people. He combined all these elements in his highly successful series, "A
Nightmare On Elm Street." In them, the viewer's primal fear was embodied in the character of
Freddie Krueger, a supernatural child killer who stalks his victims in their dreams. Once he
catches them, he confronts them with their worst fears just before he kills them. But his Elm
Street began as Potsdam's Elm Street.
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