The idea for A Nightmare on Elm Street came to Wes Craven when he read an L.A. Times article about a boy who survived the Killing Fields in Cambodia. The boy was haunted by nightmares and afraid that if he went to sleep, the thing chasing him would get him.
“He tried to stay awake for days at a time,” Craven said. “When he finally fell asleep, they thought this crisis was over. Then they heard screams in the middle of the night. By the time they got to him, he was dead. He died in the middle of a nightmare.”