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how can i stay mad at you?

From Freddy to Jason to Darth: Which Super-Villains’ Sob Stories Get Them a Pass for All That Evil?

Since 1984, the hideously burned, claw-fingered Freddy Krueger has slashed his way through the dreams and flesh of dewy young adults in eight films. Why? Because he’s just plain evil, a child molester and abductor who got into the sleep business. But the new, ninth Nightmare on Elm Street (opening tomorrow) is a reboot, and now Freddy's had a psychological makeover. He's no longer just a sociopath, he's a sociopath with an excuse: When we meet him, we’re led to believe he was wrongly accused of child molestation and set on fire by a bunch of vigilante parents. So cut him some slack! With this slightly mitigating backstory, Freddy joins a long line of super-villains whose painful pasts (abusive parents, cancer, the Holocaust) inform their worst impulses. But who’s forgivable?

Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.