How many of us are tired of being given the same origin story a million times, raise your hands?
We’ve had the Batman origin story told so much we’re ready to check ourselves into Arkham because a different dose of insanity is more welcoming. Spiderman’s origin story has been relayed enough times, we’re cool with Thanos snapping us out of existence.
If you’re a horror fan worth your salt, you already know Freddy Krueger’s origin story, so I’m not going to bore you with the details. What I am going to do, because it’s Halloween and Halloween is a time to have some fun, is fire up my own version of the Futurama What-If Machine and imagine what if in an alternate reality Freddy Krueger was recruited, offered a job as it were as a Cenobite.
Imagine you’re Fred Krueger, tinkering around in your basement when the next thing you know your house has suddenly caught fire. Sure, you get it the neighbors are just a bit miffed about the whole murdering thing, and are none too pleased that you beat the case on a technicality, but is that still an excuse to destroy personal property?
Prior to the citizens of Springwood inviting themselves over for a BBQ, Freddy had been out perusing the various shops around town, when he came upon a rather strange shop of various knickknacks and assorted items from far and wide. Out of the corner of his eye, he spots what he’s told is the Lemarchand puzzle box, adorned with intricate designs. Freddy isn’t quite sure why he’s drawn to it but makes sure to pocket it when the shopkeeper isn’t looking.
Flash forward back to Freddy in his home, and just as the house goes up in flames, he solves the puzzle of the Lament Configuration and a brilliant light starts filling the room, encircling him, enveloping him as hook adorned chains snatch hold of him at the same time the flames torch his flesh.
Next thing Freddy knows, he’s in a strange place that he’s never seen before. This rather pale looking dude who looks like he’s LARPing for an S&M party rolls up and informs him that he has been brought to hell. Hell, in this case isn’t quite what Freddy had envisioned. Less fire and flame and more cold and bleak stretching out for miles. The guy with the pins in his head instructs Freddy to follow him, because the boss wants to meet with him.
Leviathan the ruler of this particular level of hell meets Freddy and tells him he likes the cut of his jib, and says he has an offer to make Freddy one of his Cenobites.
“How would you like a job here in hell gathering souls for us? Pinhead over there has been at it for some time, but we can always use fresh blood around here, no pun intended, and the old hell priest here can show you the ropes, help you get settled in”.
Freddy, never short on charm starts laying it on thick to Leviathan. Showing that he’s dynamic and resourceful, he tells Leviathan that sure he can get all the souls, but that he works better alone and from what he can see “you’ve been going about things backwards down here. Waiting for someone to solve your little goth Rubik’s cube in order to steal their souls and imprison them in hell for all eternity, how about I go into these kids dreams and strike them where they’re most vulnerable?”
Leviathan loves it, and slamming his hand down on the desk…well, if he had a hand that is, or a desk looks at Pinhead and remarks how come you never thought of something like that? Too busy spinning soliloquies while being all brooding and deep, and probably listening to Morrissey records day and night.
From here it’s on, Freddy is given the proverbial fancy new suit of his trademark red and green sweater and fedora along with his clawed glove and is in effect given the keys to the equivalent of the company car when Leviathan tells him that he’s not bound to this realm, but can be the boss of his own realm, the dream realm. As long as he keeps a steady supply of souls coming in.
We all remember the level of excitement that first day we started at a new job, right? Eyes light up, raring to go, and put our best foot forward. Freddy is the same here, and he starts picking off teenagers and adults left and right, racking up and collecting souls like it’s going out of style. From a young Johnny Depp before the endless Pirates of the Caribbean sequels pigeonholed him into oblivion, to John Saxon wishing he had his old pal Bruce Lee here to help him, to Laurence Fishburne trying to decide which was a worse fate, being taken out by Freddy or acting alongside Keanu Reeves wooden performance in the Matrix, Freddy can’t and won’t be stopped.
Pinhead though not to be outdone and wanting to keep his position of hell’s top soul taker tries to infiltrate Earth and outperform Freddy every step of the way striving to be more creative with his conquests. Going so far as to hit up the first nightclub he can find, desperately trying to fit in with the kids, but instead looking like that old man who should’ve been in bed hours ago, while clutching his IPA as if his afterlife depended on it.
Being the new kid on the block, and full of fresh ideas Freddy is always one step ahead and being the ruler of his own dream realm gives him more room to be imaginative with his kills. Pinhead may be all poetic and eloquent with his hooks and chains, sure that’s cool if you’re into the whole BDSM thing, but Freddy isn’t the type to drone on and on about eternal suffering and get all morose, he’s more inclined to crack a joke or two before making that closing sale.
Job performance is everything, especially when you’re the hot, new blue-chipper around the water cooler. Freddy is grabbing all the souls he can find, sure he hits a few snags now and then when that Nancy girl refuses to listen to his sales pitch but that hardly compares to when Pinhead’s old contemporary Kirsty rolls into hell waving around incriminating photos of Pinhead’s past life as Elliott Spencer, reminding everyone of his previous work experience and likely trying to convince anyone who will listen that hell would be better off with proper unionization.
Realizing the PR disaster this has the potential to be, Leviathan sends his yes man Channard all the way down from HR to let Pinhead know that in no uncertain terms they’re going to have to slash him from the payroll and terminate him effective immediately. Now that Pinhead is out of the way, Freddy can kick his feet up and claim hells corner office all to himself, as the top demon on the damnation food chain.
Was Freddy a Cenobite? The offer was certainly there, but he’s always been more of a freelancer, a rogue spirit who only answers to himself. It’s not his fault Leviathan gave him his own division and agreed to Freddy’s terms. The old man has been in charge long enough, he should’ve been able to negotiate better. But it’s cool with Freddy, as long as people continue to dream their little dreams every night he’s got job security and that’s not easy to come by.