Nightmare on Elm Street (Horror, 1984) (18) D: Wes Craven W: Wes Craven P: C: Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp,. 1h 31m. USA.
Synopsis : Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dream. When the survivors are trying to find the reason for the being chosen, the murderer won’t lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep.
TAGLINE : She is the only one who can stop it.. If she falls, no one survives.
Welcome to the new chapter in nightmare fuel. Nightmare on elm street is one of the golden highlights of the 1980’s horror screen in giving us not only a brand new “hero” but also giving us another reason not to sleep at night. We all have to sleep and on occasions we all have nightmares but we learn to deal with it. Until this film introduced us to Freddy Kruger out charred prince of comedy gore who stalks us in our dreams.
Starting out at a running pace Nightmare on Elm Street defines itself with freaky surreal dream sequences and a fast paced psycho with unimaginable claws. Things start to settle down as we are introduced to the teenage cast who have recently lost a friend in an unprecedented and bloody way. In fact it’s a fantastic scene, one the very best. I remember trying to explain it to my friend after watching the movie, I think I managed to describe every bloody scene in about 35 seconds in a pitch that only bats could hear.
With a story that bounces off so many dream sequences it manages not to get lost in them. Most of the “dreams” are in a slightly weird daily life scenario, at some point a fragment of Freddy will be seen, his classic green and red jumper or his crazy knives scratching on a wall or metal pipe.
An amazing creepy soundtrack accompanies this gem, but what sets it apart from a lot of horror movies, is that it has a little nursery rhyme that gets stuck in your head and you never forget it. This does help connect the movie with fans forever! Even if you can’t remember all the words I still makes Freddy seem like a real childhood urban legend.
One, two, Freddy’s coming for you.
Three, four, Better lock your door
Five, six, grab a crucifix.
Seven, eight, Gonna stay up late.
Nine, ten, Never sleep again….
It’s such a perfect scenario. If you’re afraid of clowns you have the choice to run or fight or avoid them all together, if you’re afraid of sharks just don’t go swimming in the sea, afraid of the dark?! Turn the fucking light on. But if you’re afraid of a psychotic killer who will find you in your dreams. What do you do? We all have to sleep and therefore we are all open to be prey for Mr Kruger. He doesn’t even have to stalk anyone he’s victims come to him.
Robert Englund owns this movie from beginning to end. It’s hard to see him as anything else, in every roll since 1984 it’s hard not to see a little snippet of Freddy, they are one and the same, although in no way am I calling him a peado, but it really was a landmark for him. Even though the rest of the cast were strong, it’s great to see a character that’s as crazy and animated as Beetlejuice (1988) with a tendencies of Hannibal Lecter. In contrast the drunken mother, Marge (Ronee Blackly) is bland and her character meets the bare minimum, she’s there but extremely boring and has no passion as was Johnny Depp’s debut, oh and John Saxon plays the tough cop who’s out to get his guy hellbent with a strong moral code.
It comes across as one of those films where the director and his team really had a lot of fun putting together the gruesome murders and due to the whole nightmare element they really had full reign to do whatever they could think of. Crazy attention is paid to the special effects and the invisible element to the killing scenes that adds a gripping element leaving everyone feeling vulnerable. When in doubt add blood, a lot of blood. Despite there being buckets of blood in some scenes it’s evenly weighed up other more well crafted scenes that make beds, baths, stairs and cars totally scary places to be.
I really enjoy the chalk and cheese element in dialogue, everyone is being scared outta their minds. Being driven to drink and the brink taking everything so deadly seriously while Freddy is just fucking around, he like a stand up comedian in a room of the aged, like a freakishly annoying little brother chasing people around with poop on a stick, except Freddy is playing with knives and telling mum and dad on him has no effect.
It’s always strange when fans side with the bad guy, especially when he’s a kiddy toucher but Freddy kinda transformed horror bad guys not only was he just a janitor but he’s torturing the cool kids, like a patron saint of outcast kids.While the film details the plight of! Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) trying to survive the onslaught of a dream stalker there are other darker themes here, with a back story of neighborhood vigilantes and pedophilia. As with a lot of Carpenters movies it’s all based on destiny and the sins of the past.
The films works so well mainly due to the Freddy, surprisingly the bad guy is actually everyone’s hero, we forget that the mild mannered knife wielding janitor raped and murdered children. Everyone wants to be him at Halloween. Robert Englund’s amazing chirpy character and Scooby Doo one liners really made the character stick and the film a success.
The only thing that doesn’t work for me apart from the slightly puzzling ending is that none of the kids knew about this peado in their neighborhood, even with the parents trying to keep it a secret, kids usually pick up on this stuff and rumors spread.This is a minor factor though.
V: From the first time I ever saw this benchmark in horror I was hooked, I found Freddy funny and amazing, which really wasn’t the desired effect but he’s everyone’s favourite peado. It spawned the most sequels of any franchise so it goes to show how influential this was. From the concept to the killer there is something mystifying about the fairy tale that turns into literal nightmare. Freddy humor only compliments the savage brutality which I’d the kind of comedy I can stand. Wes Craven really did leave us with a king of nightmares.
Rating – 9/10
R: Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980), Scream (1996), Dreamscape (1984).