Not surprisingly, many horror movie villains suffer from serious mental illness, mental disorder, or physical ailments that can cause them to behave strangely. Become monsters who commit atrocities against innocent victims, stalking, murdering, raping, molesting and bullying their prey.
Sometimes a vicious cycle of torture, misery, insanity and criminality is created in which the victim becomes the victim of other victims who are often just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Their actions are so horrific that some people confuse their actions with demons, immortal goblins, mutants, ghosts, or demons themselves.
Although these films often allow supernatural and natural possibilities to explain the description of events, medical science usually allows for only one cause, although the cause, mental illness, applies to the villains and victims of films like Stephen King’s enormous, which take many forms to carry out, all horrifying and terrifying.
Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), set in the imaginary town of Springwood, Ohio, features the stalking of teenager Nancy Thompson and her high school friends, some of whom Freddy Krueger murders.
Krueger is motivated partly by revenge: he murders the children of the parents of his child victims after the parents banded together to burn him alive following his escape from punishment for having murdered their sons and daughters. However, Krueger is also motivated by pedophillic disorder, the sexual component of which is indicated by the fact that his victims were murdered in their beds.
Tobia also detects a complication suggested by the behavior of Nancy’s mother Marge, whom he suspects as having had an affair with Krueger. Although he has killed other children, Krueger spares Nancy as being somehow “special,” Tobia says, and Marge’s reference to Krueger as “Fred,” when the other parents refer to him as “Freddy Krueger,” suggests Marge’s memory of her intimacy with him. In addition, Marge has kept mementos of Kruger: his hat and glove, “bizarre behavior if Freddie was” nothing more than a child killer. Perhaps it is due to her affair with Krueger that Marge, an alcoholic, hides the truth about the adults’ murder of Krueger until it is no longer possible for her to do so.
Meanwhile, Nancy seems to intuit the truth during her dreams: “While the history of Freddie as a child murderer is ultimately provided by her mother, Nancy’s discovery is metaphorical for the recovery of her lost memories. When Freddie is pursuing her, she runs to the basement of her home . . . . She was likely imprisoned in Freddie’s boiler room (basement).”
Nancy’s own psychological condition is based on nightmare disorder (ND), Dr. Tobia says, “a syndrome defined through repeated awakenings with recollection of terrifying dreams usually involving threats to survival such as Nancy’s repeated dreams of “being hunted by a child murderer.”
Tobia also sees the film as a figurative representation of narcolepsy, the usual onset of which occurs during adolescence and is marked by hallucinations. The fact that the parents of Nancy and her friends burned Krueger to death after he was acquitted, on a legal technicality, of murdering some of their children represents the genetic nature of the teens’ affliction. However, he concludes that Nightmare is “about” more than a dyssomnia; “Nancy’s sleep pathology is likely due to [PTSD and to Nancy’s] having been a victim of childhood sexual abuse.”