“One, two, Freddy’s coming for you. Three, four, better lock your door. Five, six, grab your crucifix. Seven, eight, gonna stay up late. Nine, ten, never sleep again.
Some years following the angry-mob-style killing of a suspected child murderer named Fred Krueger, the children of those who carried out the crime find themselves plagued by horrifying nightmares in which a burned, gloved man antagonizes them.
Starring Heather Langenkamp as Nancy, Amanda Wyss as Tina, and Johnny Depp as Glen, A Nightmare on Elm Street helped launched the careers of Langenkamp and Depp in addition to giving rise to an epic film franchise spanning 8 films (not including the 2010 reboot which was, in my opinion, complete rubbish – no offense Wes and Rooney xoxo).
In 1984, acclaimed writer/director Wes Craven‘s horror masterpiece, A Nightmare on Elm Street took the genre into a subtly different, and arguably more thought provoking, direction. With flavors and shades of the slasher film genre manifested throughout, complete with morality plays involving teenage sexual promiscuity, Craven’s original A Nightmare on Elm Street remains notable for it’s effective blurring of reality and the imaginary. Craven’s ability to effectively skew the audience’s perception helps to create an environment capable of psychologically (deeply) affecting viewers.
A Nightmare on Elm Street is replete with chilling moments, even by today’s standards. From the spectre of recently murdered Tina in a bloody body bag wandering the halls of the kids’ high school, to the upward spraying blood fountain following Glen’s (Depp) death, A Nightmare on Elm Street never shies away from giving the audience what they came for: a good, solid scare. And not of the momentary shock variety. No, the scares achieved by Craven in the film permeate and penetrate the viewer’s thoughts.
Is anything scarier than the idea that your worst nightmares could become reality?
Most notable, of course, is Craven’s creation of what has become an iconic horror villain/bogeyman in the form of Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). Basically omnipotent in the dream world and utterly, unshakably vengeful, Krueger is a manifestation of subconscious fears. Capable of killing you in your sleep, Krueger is the embodiment of terror.
I applaud Craven for giving us a strong female character in the form of Nancy Thompson (Langenkamp), whose brains and will to survive gave me something to admire as a young girl first getting interested in the horror film genre.
I’m not even slightly embarrassed to admit that this film, when I originally saw it in the 80s, plagued me with nightmares for months. It stands as irrefutable testimony to the power of creative ideas and storytelling.
A Nightmare on Elm Street is, and will continue to be, a fear inspiring, highly imaginative film with one helluva villain.
Wiki facts: A Nightmare on Elm Street
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Get your own replica Freddy Krueger glove!
Action figure, anyone? Freddy Krueger 7 incher