The iconic slasher film A Nightmare on Elm Street was released in 1984. The film, written and directed by Wes Craven, introduced the world to one of the most terrifying villains in cinema history: Freddy Krueger, a disfigured serial killer who haunts the dreams of his victims and kills them with his razor-sharp glove.
Warning! This article contains spoilers. It was created for those who have already seen the movie in question. If you have not seen the movie and plan to do so, it is suggested you do so before reading this article.
The film was a huge success, both critically and commercially, and spawned a franchise that includes many sequels, a television series, a crossover with Friday the 13th, various merchandise, and a remake in 2010. The film is widely regarded as one of the best horror films ever made, and has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. The movie even introduced us to a young baby-faced actor who would go on to become Hollywood royalty, one Mr Johnny Depp.
But what makes A Nightmare on Elm Street so scary and influential? In this blog post, I will explore some of the aspects that make this film a masterpiece of horror.
The premise of A Nightmare on Elm Street is simple but brilliant: a group of teenagers are targeted by Freddy Krueger, a vengeful spirit who can enter their dreams and kill them in their sleep. The only way to survive is to stay awake, but that is easier said than done. The film plays with the idea of dreams and reality, blurring the lines between them and creating a sense of uncertainty and dread. The film also taps into the universal fear of nightmares, and the helplessness of being unable to escape them.
Freddy Krueger is one of the most iconic and memorable horror villains of all time. He is not just a mindless killer, but a sadistic and witty personality who enjoys tormenting his victims before killing them. He is also a tragic figure, who was burned alive by the parents of the teenagers he is after, as revenge for his crimes as a child murderer.
His appearance is horrifying, with his burned face, red-and-green striped sweater, fedora hat, and metal-clawed glove. Portrayed superbly by Robert Englund, Freddy’s voice is raspy and menacing, delivering memorable lines such as “Welcome to my nightmare” or “I’m your boyfriend now, Nancy”.
The film features impressive practical effects that create some of the most memorable scenes in horror history. For example, the scene where Freddy’s face stretches out from the wall above Nancy’s bed, or the scene where Tina’s body is dragged across the ceiling by an invisible force. The film also uses creative camera angles and editing to create a surreal and nightmarish atmosphere. The film’s budget was only $1.1 million, but it managed to achieve more than many bigger-budget films.
As already mentioned, the were numerous related productions, all received with varing levels of success. There is a series of nine films that feature Freddy Krueger as well as a television series, novels, comic books, and other media.
The first film, and still regarded by many as the best, was A Nightmare on Elm Street, was released in 1984 and was written and directed by Wes Craven. It introduced the main character Nancy Thompson, who discovers that she and her friends are being stalked by Freddy in their dreams. She also learns that Freddy was a child murderer who was burned alive by the parents of his victims, and that he can only be killed by bringing him into the real world.
The franchise continued with several sequels, each with different protagonists and plot twists. The most popular ones are A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, which brought back Nancy as a psychiatrist who helps other teens fight Freddy in their dreams; and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, which was a metafictional film that featured the actors and crew of the original film as themselves, being haunted by a more realistic version of Freddy.
The franchise also had a crossover film with another horror icon, Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th series. The film, Freddy vs. Jason, was released in 2003 and pitted the two killers against each other in a battle for supremacy over their respective domains of dreams and reality.
The last film in the franchise was a remake of the original film, released in 2010. It starred Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger, and tried to give him a more realistic and darker backstory. However, the film received mostly negative reviews from critics and fans alike.
The A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise is one of the most successful and influential horror franchises of all time. It has spawned countless imitations, parodies, references, and homages in popular culture. It has also made Freddy Krueger one of the most recognizable and iconic villains in cinema history.
A Nightmare on Elm Street has left a lasting impact on the horror genre and pop culture. It inspired many other films that explored the concept of dreams and nightmares, such as Inception or The Matrix. It also influenced many other slasher films that followed its formula of having a group of teenagers being killed by a supernatural killer with a distinctive weapon and appearance. It also created a loyal fan base that continues to celebrate and enjoy the franchise to this day.
A Nightmare on Elm Street is a horror classic that deserves its reputation as one of the best films of its genre. It is a film that will keep you awake at night, and make you afraid to fall asleep.
© Colin Lawson Books