On Tuesday, February 27, 2024, Hake’s Auctions opened their first premier auction of 2024. With something for every type of collector, the 1,928-lot auction is filled with rare and impressive material from across historical and pop culture categories. One of the auction’s biggest ticket items is also its scariest.

In the 1970s and ‘80s, the horror movie genre was dominated by slashers. Masked or disfigured boogeymen targeted teenagers and college students with single-minded, murderous intent. Many of the slasher boogeyman were silent hulking figures, while one was a talkative monster who haunted dreams.

Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street is now considered among the greatest slasher horror movies of all time. But, back in 1983, he had to work hard to get Freddy Krueger on film. One important element that helped achieve the goal was done through a key visual aid.

The Nightmare on Elm Street prerelease movie poster original art by Duncan Eagleson is being offered in Hake’s Auction #240. Once Craven convinced New Line Cinema’s Robert Shaye to take a chance on the fledgling horror entry, they needed to secure financing and decided to do so with a movie poster.

Eagleson, who had a body of work that included book covers, movie posters, and comic art, was tapped to create a poster using Craven’s script. The nighttime street scene with the claw slashing through the sky is a striking image that juxtaposes a sleepy neighborhood with a horrible nightmare.

“While most horror fans will note Freddy Krueger’s iconic razor glove has four blades, it is depicted here with three. Discussing the origins of Freddy’s glove with the American Film Institute in 2014, Craven mentioned cave bears and the terrifying effect they would have no doubt had on primal man. This inspiration is clearly evident in Eagleson's depiction, which features a more clawlike, curved design than what is seen in the final film as at the time of painting, there was no visual other than what Craven’s script mentioned,” Hake’s description reads.

“While not used for the final US movie poster (the actual release poster art was crafted by Matt Peak, son of noted movie poster artist Bob Peak), Eagleson’s art was used in various newspaper ad campaigns before completion of the final poster design. It was also published as movie posters in France, Yugoslavia, and Germany (albeit with the art flipped) and was even used for the 20th anniversary release poster, in which a shadowed silhouette of Freddy was added at bottom center. The claw portion of Eagleson's art was also utilized separately on lobby cards, stills, other foreign posters and on the German presskit,” Hake’s description continues.

Eagleson’s original art, which he created in the standard 27” x 40” one-sheet size, has been mounted to foamcore for display purposes. It is open for bids at hakes.com now through March 20.