Nightmares: Gene Fallaize thriller digs into the story behind one of the greatest horror movies of all time

Writer/director Gene Fallaize is making Nightmares, which may have a behind-the-scenes connection to A Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street 1984

2024 marks the 40th anniversary of the release of writer/director Wes Craven’s classic A Nightmare on Elm Street (watch it HERE), but there doesn’t appear to be any news about a revival of that franchise anywhere on the horizon. Meanwhile, Variety reports that writer/director Gene Fallaize is preparing to head into production on a new thriller called Nightmares – which sounds like it’s digging into the true story that inspired Craven to write the original Nightmare in the first place.

A Nightmare on Elm Street isn’t directly referenced anywhere in the Variety article, but when you take the title Nightmares and combine it with the synopsis, their report does seem to point in the direction of Elm Street. The synopsis says Fallaize’s script is based on the true story that became the basis one of the greatest horror movies of all time, following a journalist attempting to uncover the truth behind several unexplained deaths.

Craven was always open about the fact that one of the sources of inspiration when he was writing A Nightmare on Elm Street were news reports about the mysterious deaths of people who were terrified to go to sleep because they were being plagued with nightmares – and then would end up dying in their sleep. As The Museum of Lost Things reports, “In 1981, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) began tracking a mysterious new ailment. A small but significant number of Cambodian refugees were dying each year while they slept, seemingly without explanation. While the cause was mysterious, the victims were similar. They were nearly all men (only 1 fatal case involving a woman was recorded), averaging 33 years of age. All were in good health, without any existing medical conditions. And all died during the night, somewhere between 10pm and 8am. Autopsies of the victims revealed little. ‘They didn’t die of getting shot in the head, stabbed in the heart; they didn’t fall off the roof; they didn’t get poisoned. We did an autopsy in each case, and we got a big zero.’ – Dr Michael McGee, Medical Examiner, Ramsey County. The only finding was that the victim’s hearts had suffered some kind of stress. The official cause of death was often listed as ‘cardiac arrythmia’, irregular heartbeat. But how this caused healthy individuals to die suddenly in their sleep, remained unclear. As doctors investigated, they came across an unusual illness largely unknown in America; a condition often called ‘Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome’ (SUNDS). First recorded in the Philippines in 1917, SUNDS seemed to provide a precedent. Victims were usually middle aged men, and were recorded gurgling or gasping in their sleep, before dying of heart failure. The cause of SUNDS was also unknown. SUNDS had been recorded in several southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia; another link to the refugees. In those countries it had a colloquial name: ‘nightmare death syndrome’. It was thought that the victims had frightened themselves to death.

Maybe that’s not what Fallaize is dealing with in Nightmares, but that’s the conclusion I’m jumping to while we wait for further information.

Nightmares is coming our way from Cupsogue Pictures, with filming expected to take place in London and Los Angeles early next year. Emily Hasseldine, Adam Southwick, and Jayne Snipe are producing the film, with Jamie Walker and Maria Lee Metheringham serving as executive producers. Adam Hooper is an associate producer.

Fallaize provided the following statement: “I’m thrilled that Nightmares is moving into production, which has been an easier process than I’ve experienced in the past, in no small part I’m sure due to the doors that have been swung open by working recently with two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey. This is a project that I’m especially excited about, as well as getting back to working with bigger budgets than we had to work with on Control due to the perceived risks associated with that project.” As Fallaize mentioned, he recently directed a thriller called Control, which features a vocal performance from Kevin Spacey. He made his feature directorial debut with the 2017 horror film Cain Hill.

How does Nightmares sound to you? Do you agree that it sounds like it will deal with the inspiration for A Nightmare on Elm Street? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Source: Variety

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.