POTSDAM — A Massena man has launched a YouTube campaign to save the original "A Nightmare on Elm Street" house from the wrecking ball.
The former Theta Chi fraternity house at 18 Elm St. is where, in 1968, humanities professor Wes Craven helped a group of Clarkson University students produce a spoof on horror films. He went on to write and direct "A Nightmare on Elm Street" based in a town called Madstop — "Potsdam" spelled backward.
"This house could be preserved and made into a museum for Wes Craven's filming career," said John D. Michaud lll, the Massena-based video blogger. "It would bring new revenue dollars to Potsdam through tourism."
The town owns the building and plans to raze it to make way for a new municipal facility. But Mr. Michaud hopes to thwart those plans. He said he hopes his seven-minute video — titled "Nightmare On Elm Street House Destroyed!!" — goes viral.
In the video, shot on location in Potsdam, Mr. Michaud pleads with viewers to mount a national campaign to contact Mr. Craven or donors willing to spend money to save the structure.
Since being uploaded a few days ago, the sometimes tongue-in-cheek video featuring Mr. Michaud acting scared outside the abandoned house has received more than 3,800 views. The video showcases the building's extensive history.
Mr. Michaud said the video is receiving responses from around the country from people who agree the house is worth saving. He said he also hopes to hear from people who were involved in Mr. Craven's early film experiments in Potsdam.
Town Supervisor Marie C. Regan said that while she applauds Mr. Michaud's efforts to save the house, the structure is beyond repair.
"We had Tisdel (Associates) evaluate it for us to see if there was any way that we could rehabilitate it for use as a town hall, and he told us it would cost two tractor-trailers full of money," Mrs. Regan said. "When we found that out, that was the nail in the coffin."
Mrs. Regan said the Town Council will continue with its plans to raze 18 Elm St. and build a new town hall on the site, but it would be willing to sell the building if someone came up with enough money to restore it.
"I would still say that if anyone had a couple of million and they were willing to do it, I'd applaud their effort," Mrs. Regan said. "But the fraternity members of Theta Chi weren't able to do that. Wes Craven hasn't shown any interest in it to date, nor has Clarkson, if they feel this is a part of their historical past."
In the meantime, Mr. Michaud plans to upload more video blogs on the subject and keep researching Mr. Craven's days in Potsdam in hopes of drumming up more national interest.