Movie Review- A Nightmare on Elm Street

Hi Folks,

 

So it’s Slasher Saturday and we have a bit of an odd one today in that it could really just as easily have been for tomorrow. You see today we’re doing a slash classic but it’s really the only (good) example of a sort of sub-subgenre. The supernatural slasher; this week of course we’ll be dealing with the man of our collective nightmares; Freddy Krueger in his first appearance, the original:

 

 

A Nightmare on Elm Street

 

 

Fast Facts

 

Made in 1984 and directed by the one and only Wes Craven A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of those movies that has become bigger than itself (any of it’s sequels or remake) in that it’s such a part of pop culture. Everyone know who Freddy Krueger is even if they have, for some reason never seen a single one of the movies he’s in. But of course the original is what we have to thank for that so let’s get on with it.

 

Just one more and he's perpetually flipping you off

 

Our story centers around a group of teenagers in a small town who have all recently begun having nightmares featuring the same disfigured , terrifying man. When they start dying violently, Nancy our heroine believes the dreams they’ve been having hold the answer. As she delves deeper into the mystery, she discovers that not only is she right but there’s a waking reason for her nightmarish predicament.

 

Hint: it's this bitch's fault

 

Cast

 

Look at her being all in danger of nodding off

Heather Langenkamp- Plays Nancy our heroine and while there are some choice facial expressions that just bother the hell out of me you really couldn’t ask for a better foil for Freddy , also major kudos for appearing in not one but three of the sequels. To be honest I’ve never really understood why she isn’t up there with Jamie Lee and Neve, she certainly put the time in.

 

The most normal movie he was ever in

Johnny Depp- Yup that one. It’s always amazing to me how young and sane he is in this movie.

 

His very first victim...you should be so proud

Amanda Wyss- Plays Tina  our starting gun and she does a great job with a small part.

 

You poor bastard

Jsu Garcia- Plays Rod Tina’s boyfriend and prime suspect. He’s the weakest link in a strong chain.

 

Above: The Fucking Man

Robert Englund- Let’s face it; even with the crap CGI and the intensely stupid plot changes, the real reason the remake didn’t fly was because:

 

NO ONE ELSE should EVER play Freddy Krueger. NO ONE.

 

Fuck off Rorschach I said NO ONE

Robert Englund is one of those rare gems in shasherdom; he not only returns over and over again but he really and truly owns this character and it’s obvious he’s having a shitload of fun with it.

 

 

Observations

 

Apart from the actual frights in this movie can we take a moment to address how absolutely terrifying the premise of this film is?

 

Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Leatherface- they all have territories or at least a particular MO where to be safe pretty much all you have to do is stay the fuck away from them.

 

EVERYONE needs to sleep. You can’t avoid Freddy, you can’t outrun him or just refuse to go to summer camp. If he wants you…well you’re pretty much fucked. There’s a reason the main plot point of every movie is finding a way to get him into the real world (bitch).

 

The entire point of this movie is the thing that kept you up at night when you were four. When you had a bad dream and your bleary eyed and massively annoyed parents told you over and over again ‘it’s not real, it can’t hurt you’. This movie is that four year old voice in the back of your head immediately after they’d left the room:

 

“But what if it could?”

 

Naturally as far as film itself goes there are three standout sequences in this one (industry standard)-

 

 

 

  1. Tina’s Nightmare

 

It’s always stressed; the importance of making a good first impression, and Freddy’s is well, impressive. We’ve already by this point been over the whole ‘common nightmare’ thing and just when you’re starting to wonder what all the fuss is about we get this:

 

 

HOLY SHIT

 

Yeah that’d about do it for me too Tina.

 

You're not quite that lucky though

Of course that’s not where this charming little interlude. Tina’s death in this film is one of the more frightening scenes I’ve ever seen. Because they don’t really show us what’s going on in the dream, they show us the grisly results in the real world. While Tina is thrashing and spinning in mid-air, on the ceiling, up the walls and in every conceivable direction we are completely dumbstruck when she starts being shredded to pieces and then blood just ends up EVERYWHERE.

 

It's in my raccoon wounds!!

  1. Nancy Daydreams

 

Yeah Freddy (and Tina) aren’t done with us yet. This scene is so good it gets parodied in non-horror spoofs.

 

Nancy for some reason is unlike any other teenager in America and decides the “My best friend was murdered last night” thing isn’t a good enough reason to skip school. (if it were me I would’ve milked that thing for MONTHS…it’s what Scare Bear would’ve wanted.)

 

Plus then the motherfucker can't do this to me

Next thing we know she’s dozing off in class and there’s our good friend Tina again only this time she’s in a body bag and we’re following (why are we following Nancy?) her blood slick down to the boiler room for another epic showdown and a pretty nasty arm burn.

 

This does two things; one it clues Nancy into the whole ‘what happens in your dreams’ thing and secondly it gives us creepy ass Freddy the hall monitor.

 

Dude...ewwww

 

  1. Johnny Dedd

 

Now we all know the rules, if you’re the heroine’s boyfriend you may as well be a human knife block and Johnny here is no exception. He does however have the distinction of being if not the iconic Freddy kill, he’s certainly in the top three.

 

Yeah this is going to suck

We don’t even get the pleasure of seeing his dream. One minute he’s laying in bed watching ‘Miss Nude USA’ (which his mom is weirdly ok with) and the next Feddy’s glove has got him and we’re treated to a veritable Old Faithfulesque blood geyser coming from the center of his collapsed bed. I mean this one borderline doesn’t make sense. Does Fred have a juicer down there or something? There is no solid matter left after he’s finished.

 

 

It's in my raccoon wounds!!

 

Now you may be wondering why we haven’t gone over all of Freddy’s amazing one liners and the reason is that this is still scary Freddy. We haven’t hit the shtick yet. Even when he’s being funny in this one (and he is, the phone bit is a personal favorite) there is a level of menace there that sets this one apart from the sequels.

 

Pretty much in that there is menace

Lastly I think it’s worth mentioning that even though there are a paltry four deaths in this movie the gore and really the special effects in general are kind of amazing. I mean there’s more blood in this thing than you would expect given the premise and when you add things like stretch Armstrong, Tina’s  aerial ballet and the frightening visage of Mr. Krueger himself, this movie is exceptionally well done visually.

 

Flattery will get you everywhere...we hope

 

Final Thoughts

 

A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of those movies that no matter how many times you watch it, you feel the exact same way. There are minor things that irk you but overall it is an exceptionally frightening and well made film. Plus of course how can we not love a movie that gives you Freddy Krueger?

 

Well ok maybe not everyone

All in all a 9 out of 10

 

Your dreamy Screamstress,

 

 

~Fright Dyke

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