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It’s hard to imagine today but there was a time when Wes Craven was having trouble securing the funding to make A Nightmare on Elm Street, which has of course gone on to become one of the most iconic and beloved horror movies ever made. Enter Duncan Eagleson, an artist Craven and New Line approached to create a pitch poster for the film… before it was made.

Duncan Eagleson was approached in 1983 to make the pitch poster based only on Craven’s script, and various versions of that original artwork have appeared over the years; particularly on international posters for A Nightmare on Elm Street. But that original piece that Eagleson whipped up in the early ’80s has now surfaced, and it’s currently up for auction!

Hake’s Auctions explains the piece, “To help secure financing, [Craven and New Line] decided to create a striking visual aid in the form of a pre-release movie poster. Self-trained painter and former graffiti artist Duncan Eagleson (whose career has included designing book covers as well as creating movie posters and comic book art, illustrating a single issue each of Vertigo’s flagship titles – Shade, The Changing Man and Sandman) was contracted in 1983 to use Craven’s script to create the original art offered here.”

The auction site’s official listing continues, “Huge 27 x 40″ one-sheet poster size illustration board has image area measuring 25.5 x 38.5”. Acrylic original art w/airbrushing elements depicts peaceful dusk scene on suburban street. All appears calm, but a glance at the approaching night sky reveals three large, curved metal claws slashing the sky, leaving ragged tears in their wake. Eagleson has signed his initials and added “83” date at lower left.

“While most horror fans will note Freddy Krueger’s iconic razor glove has four blades, it is depicted here w/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.

“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.”

The auction for this one-of-a-kind piece of horror movie history is now live through Hake’s Auctions, and it’ll be coming to an end on Wednesday, March 20. How much will it cost you?

The current bid is for a whopping $5,000, and it’s surely going to be going much higher in the coming weeks. Keep your eyes locked on Hake’s Auctions for updates. Learn more below.

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