Can a Nightmare Really Kill You?

The disturbing syndrome Wes Craven says inspired Nightmare on Elm Street.

As A Nightmare on Elm Street heads for its 30th anniversary this fall, midnight screenings and other tributes have revived the 1984 classic once again. In the years since its original release, writer-director Wes Craven has alluded to a real-life inspiration called SUNDS, or “sudden unexpected death syndrome.” Said to be encountered by American doctors in Vietnam refugees, the syndrome sees otherwise healthy people suddenly exhibit irregular cardiac activity and die in their sleep. The video above explores what we know about the illness, which tends to afflict young men only in certain regions.