The first annual St. Lawrence International Film Festival, running October 22-25, 2015, today announced for the first time ever, and in honor of the late horror master, Wes Craven’s 1984 masterpiece Nightmare on Elm Street will be screened on Elm Street in Potsdam, NY, legendarily (and perhaps spuriously) known as the inspiration of the film from Craven’s time as a professor at Clarkson University as part of the inaugural St. Lawrence International Film Festival.
Craven at the time was a professor at Clarkson University. Craven’s first dabbling in film came in 1968 with Pandora Experimentia, a 45 minute short that mocked action-thriller movie trends (much like Scream mocked Horror trends years later) made with sixty or so students from the Clarkson Drama Club and SUNY Potsdam as cast and crew. In attendance will be Brian Hauser, Assistant Professor of Film at Clarkson University to share stories and insights.
According to an article in the 1989 Clarkson Alumni Magazine, Craven reflected that “none of us knew anything about sound, none of us knew anything about editing, and none of us knew anything about cinema.” The co-directors John Heneage and Ken Lyon used glue to splice the segments when editing the film at neighboring St. Lawrence University. The film cost about $300 to make and was shown six times over two nights, making back five times their investment. The directors were members of Theta Chi fraternity, so the frat house on Elm Street (demolished in 2010) was chosen as the location of the action. It had been a funeral parlor early in the century.
In an interview published in Clarkson 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. According to co-director John Heneage, the original and only copy (he knows of) of the film was sent to Craven sometime around 1970-71 so he could show it around as a demo reel.
At “Between the Buns” at 6 Elm Street, Potsdam, NY
Saturday, October 24th 10 pm – 12:30 am