We live in strange times.
If there’s one thing 2020 has taught us, it’s who we really are, both as individuals and as a society. While the TIGER KING mania has (thankfully) died down, and the Murder Hornets have (unfortunately) buzzed off before we had a chance to marvel at a bizarre new form of natural horror, there are still systemic issues that haunt the streets of our waking lives. Facebook has become our collective living room during a period of safe sheltering, which has allowed us all the chance to learn unsettling – and hopefully, in some cases, inspiring – things about our friends and family; and hopefully it’s also given many of us the opportunity to align ourselves with those who champion unity over racism, ableism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and bunker-hiding. And even still, the lines drawn are clear ones, and this division can cost lives.
Earlier this spring, cast and crew of the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchise came together to produce a PSA with a simple message: Wear masks, and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Sometimes the simplest messages are the most important ones, and also the easiest to overlook. In a time of misinformation, coupled with civic protests in which social distancing has been temporarily forgotten, the risk of infection is now greater than ever, and the call to #StopTheNightmare becomes far more urgent.
I had the opportunity to speak with actors Lisa Wilcox, Heather Langenkamp, Toy Newkirk, Brooke Theiss, Brooke Bundy, Ira Heiden, and Andras Jones; DREAM MASTER FX artist Nick Benson; and #StopTheNightmare producers James Wineman and Ernesto Avina; and over the course of two hours we discussed not only their campaign, but how COVID-19 has rallied these Dream Warriors to stand against a foe far deadlier than any razor-clawed boogeyman -- the adversary we may in fact see peering back from the bathroom mirror. It’s never been easier to identify who cares about protecting themselves and their families, and who just want their haircuts and Applebees. SPOILER ALERT: The Good Guys are the ones willing to wear masks, and the Bad Guys are the ones taking them off to show us the real face beneath.
Enjoy this forty-five minute excerpt from our discussion, and keep the hashtag in mind. Share it, and remind the people you care about to do their part. And if you’re out and about, protesting in favor of an end to systemic racism, remember to be safe, and remember that we’re still in a pandemic. Wear your mask. Stop the nightmare.
Erik Kristopher Myers (aka ekm)