31 Days of Halloween Day 22 – A Nightmare On Elm Street

31 Days of Halloween – Day 22

A Nightmare On Elm Street (directed by Wes Craven, 1984)One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…”  Wes Craven’s greatest film almost never saw the light of day. A Nightmare on Elm Street seemed to be financially doomed during production. An eleventh hour deal with a European production company saved the movie. As it turns out, the box office success of the movie saved New Line Cinema, and birthed one of the most iconic figures in motion picture lore. Freddy Krueger was born. The ghoulish, burnt up man who slashes up the dreams of teenagers with his razor-fingered glove. Along side Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Frankenstein, Freddy is a true horror icon. The teenagers of Elm Street are having nightmares, and they all seem to involve a common element; a disfigured man, wearing a hat and a ragged old stripped sweater. As the dreams become reality, and kids begin to die in their sleep, a horrible event in Elm Street’s past come to light. The victims need to stay awake, or they will be next to die. Sequels aside, Nightmare is actually a very intense thriller. Freddy only speaks a few lines of dialogue, and by slasher standards, is not a very menacing figure. That doesn’t matter. What Freddy does have is the ability to manipulate dreams and impose his will in any manner he sees fit. When are we most exposed? In our sleep, of course, and Wes Craven taps into that vulnerability sublimely. Robert Englund plays the character of Freddy so convincingly that no one else will ever fill his shoes. The 2010 remake tried, and failed miserably, to kick-start the franchise again. One of the main reasons is because Jackie Earle Haley, a great actor in his own right, is not Freddy Krueger. Englund is, and always will be the `Springfield Slasher`. Nightmare also boasts some great death scenes. Tina (Amanda Wyss) brutally sliced up while being dragged up and down the walls and ceiling is bloody and beautiful. Glen (Johnny Depp) sucked into his bed, and then spat out in a tide of blood is creative and gory. Heather Langenkamp is effective and innocent as the heroine, Nancy. Some of her nightmares are straight up creepy, for example, when she is in class and sees Tina`s body-bagged corpse in the middle of the hall. The late, great Wes Craven is a master at bringing out the vulnerability in people through uncertainty. In Scream (1996), the characters do not know who the killer is, and that creates fear. For the residents of Elm street, reality and nightmare are blurred, which leads to confusion and dread. His inspiration was taken from articles he read about southeast Asian refuges inexplicably dying after awakening from nightmares. These men were healthy, and the unexplained causes of death intrigues Craven. The numerous sequels take the story off in so many directions that it is hard to take any of them seriously. Without the subsequent chapters, Nightmare would still stand alone as a diamond in the horror movie genre. Thirty years later, Elm Street is still very relevant, and stands up to anything released since its release. If you want an original, smart, and scary treat for a Halloween Netflix night, why not re-live A Nightmare on Elm Street. Just make sure you do not fall asleep.

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Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys
  • Day 13 – Child’s Play
  • Day 14 – Sleepy Hollow
  • Day 15 – House of 1,000 Corpses
  • Day 16 – The Devil’s Rejects
  • Day 17 – Night of the Living Dead
  • Day 18 – Dawn of the Dead (’78)
  • Day 19 – Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
  • Day 20 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
  • Day 21 – The Cabin In The Woods
  • Day 22 – A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

T.

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