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This review is just on the movie, which includes plot spoilers so do not continue if you do not wish to learn about the goings on within the film.
Crazy though if you have not already seen this classic! With the remake hitting the cinema I thought I would re-watch the originals, yes all seven excluding Freddy Vs Jason to remind myself of the story that takes place on Elm Street. Watching part five and six was a mistake, they didn't feel at all like a Nightmare on Elm Street movie.
The last time I watched the first Elm Street movie was back in the 90's. I could not really remember what it was about other than it being based around two main characters, Nancy, and Krueger, and Nancy's family as well as a back story to the children of Elm Street. The first thing that struck me was the music which to me was genuinely frightening. I wondered to myself whether I had made a mistake watching this movie on my own at this point. If you don not know already I am a bit of a girl when it comes to horror/thrillers. So the movie starts with Krueger making his famous glove with its four blades. Quite a piece of engineering, I'll have to pick up a replica for this Halloween as I will be dressing up as Freddy!.
Back to the story, growing up on Elm Street, Nancy is an ordinary girl with ordinary friends. They go to high school and from the looks of it pretty much enjoy it with their general goofing around.
That is until one night when they start to have nightmares. Nobody talks about them until they all come together and it becomes clear that the same man is entering their dreams. A man that is described as wearing a dark hat, dirty red and black jumper, and a glove with claws which he wears on his right hand.
Krueger is played by Robert Englund, casted perfectly for the role. His voice, appearance and mannerism is truly horrifying and totally unexpected. You can see why he became a cult figure within the horror genre. He is not like any other character and throughout the Elm Street movies gets developed quite well until the later parts. You do start to get an interest in the story. I have just finished watching the six instalment which was painful I might add but I have to watch the last part to see how it ends.
So the original. It is not as scary as I remembered once I settled down into watching it. Some of the effects used though considering the movie was made in 1984 were excellent. As simple as it was the bath scene where the gloves up through the water whilst Nancy is starting to fall asleep freaked me out. The telephone with a tongue attached to it also looked pretty nasty and made me look away. You will either do the same or laugh. Throughout the movie you see what it was that made this film so popular. There is a lot of originality and effort put into each scene throughout. Freddy has classic one liners. Also, the reversal fountain of blood will make you feel sick if you are at all like me.
The supporting cast is also strong with a young Johnny Depp making an appearance as well as John Saxon as Nancy's father. The idea of a man entering your dreams is just pure horror and terrifying. How else would you react but to be scared and this is what makes Freddy Krueger a god in his world. He can do what he wants and you have no chance!. I won't say how the film ends or too much about why Freddy exists but it is well worth watching the movie to find out about. A film that stands up well even today. Don't watch beyond part three or four as they just take away from this classic.
4 out of 5
Director: Wes Craven
Producer: Robert Shaye
Writer: Wes Craven
Stars: , Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Amanda Wyss, Ronee Blakley, Nick Corri and Johnny Depp
Music by Charles Bernstein
This slasher horror movie, with an 18 certificate, was released in 1984 and runs for an hour and a half.
Wes Craven is a well known writer and has penned some great early horror movies, such as the 1972 horror 'The last house on the left' and the even scarier 1977 movie 'The hills have eyes', plus many other great spine chilling movies.
But probably one of the most remembered classics which Wes has put his name to is the very frightening and very bloody 'Nightmare on Elm Street.
This horror movie was first released back in 1984 and has spawned many sequels to date, continuing to try to give the audience a terrifying time as they sit watching the disfigured Freddie Krueger run amok in the dreams of the damned.
This movie, which began the life of many sequels, was filmed on a budget of less than $2million and yet gained a massive revenue of over 25 million dollars as it went, making all those critics of the time feel a little bewildered at the movies fast growing popularity.
Although it was not widely accepted at first it had soon made an impact on the horror movie scene and continues to be watched by hundreds of gore seeking viewers.
It may seem to follow in the ideas of many other horror movie, with the victims being American teenagers with out of control hormones, trying to lose their 'cherries' with the prettiest looking girl. Only to find that there is more hidden in the dark than they ever realised, with most of the teenagers coming to a very vicious and somewhat gory deaths, but this is exactly what the target audience of the early eighties wanted to see, blood, gore and more blood, regardless of how bad the plot my be.
The style in the way the victims are killed is filmed in such a way as to be as brutal as possible yet doesn't rely on the more modern technique which is CGI's
** THE PLOT...
Anyway, the Freddie Krueger saga kicked off with Tina Grays, (Amanda Wyes), a normal American teenager, waking up from a nightmare in which she is being hunted by a disfigured freak with a glove of sharp blades. She soon realises that the nightmares may well not just be in her mind, especially when she discovers that her friend Nancy, (Heather Langenkamp) had had exactly the same .
So, as Nancy, together with her boyfriend Glen, (Johnny Depp) and Tina's boyfriend Rod, (Nick Corri) spend the night at Tina's it is soon apparent that the nightmares are more than just scary dreams in her mind, soon becoming reality as the teenagers fight for their lives against a fiend like no other.
Only the murders aren't like any other murders, they are something new, something hard to explain and something very very frightening indeed
** MY OPINION...
I love horror movies as much as the next man but unfortunately find most of them to be as scary as watching Eastenders over the Christmas period, although some of the characters in Eastenders would give Freddie Krueger a nightmare if they bumped into him in the 'Vic'.
So when I first saw this one back in the mid eighties I was as sceptical as usual, wanting to watch it yet hoping it was going to scarier than other 'horrors' I had seen, such as the Friday the 13th, (1980), Evil Dead, (1981) and even the rather good Children of the corn, (1984).
But once I started watching this 'slasher' horror movie I was instantly engrossed and was soon jumping at the shadows in the corner of the room, ( and I don't mean those with Cliff Richard either).
When this was made this movie has to be one of the scariest and goriest one I have ever seen, without the need for over the top CGIs to try and impress the viewing audience.
The movie starts off as it means to go on, with frightening bloodlust and a very gory looking 'villian' who you know is going to scare even the hardest of viewers, remember, this was made in the days of less advanced special effects and none existent CGIs so the way it manages to make the audience use their own minds to install that perfect fear is simply fantastic.
Wes Craven has without doubt created such a horrific character that teenagers, and some adults, will be running scared from their dreams for a very long time after wards. His Freddie Krueger character, with his scarred face, glove of knives, funny looking hat and his unforgettable striped jumper, is one of those fiends that one will remember for the rest of their lives, even if he is fictional, (hopefully).
He has written this plot with his usual style, using his wild imagination to give the audience a feeling of that even in your dreams you're not safe from your worst nightmare. Scaring the pants off many cinema goers who dare to laugh at the one that dresses like Dennis the Menace from the beano comics.
The acting is as good as the script with each actor playing their parts to perfection, even if it, at times, it may seem a little 'tacky'.
The two 'main' characters, Nancy and the scary looking Englund, keep the story rolling at a great pace, making sure the movie continues to scare, even during the more sedate scenes which are always in this genre of movies. Thus managing to keep the audience on the edge of their seats, waiting for the next gruesome killing to take place, knowing it is coming, just wondering when.
Langenkamp does a fine job as the terrified teenager Nancy, creating a character who needs to be strong to stand up to the horrors ahead, whilst still coming across as scared as a mouse in a cattery.
Englund is excellent as the fiendish Krueger with his calm mannerism and thirst for blood. His character possibly having one of the most gruesome faces that has ever graced the airwave, with his skinless tendons stretching out over the blood red colouring, all frighteningly showing under a battered brown trilby hat. Whilst a metal glove of razor sharp blades covers his hands.
He seems to have cracked the Freddie Krueger psycho expression, with his wide eyes and gritted teeth, so as to scare the life out of even his own mother.
This is one of them movies which everyone should see at least once in their lives, If only to see what all the fuss is about and were the many popular sequels were spawned from. So if you've never seen this then I do advise that you get yourself a copy from the likes of amazon as they are selling them for around the £4.00 region, which is a bargain in anyone's eyes.
It's a great way to make a boring Saturday night in front of the television more entertaining.
Plus, it has one of theme themes tunes, in the form of a rather catchy, yet quite scary, rhyme, that you will want to repeat over and over again.
What a movie and just as good as when I first saw it back in the old days.
If Spielberg's 1975 classic Jaws scared people into not wanting to have a bath, let alone go swimming into the sea, then Wes Craven may well have just stopped people wanting to ever go to sleep ever again, just in case they dream about the one they call 'Freddie Krueger' and his rather sharp blades for fingers which can rip flesh apart like a hot knife through butter.
Just watch what you dream about tonight...
A group of friends who live on Elm Street are being plagued by nightmares of a serial killer with razor blades for fingers. What seems to just be a communal nightmare soon turns into something more horrific as one of the friends, Tina, is brutally murdered one night, and her boyfriend, Rod, is framed for the murder. Nancy, however, is convinced that someone else is involved, and as her dreams continue, she realises that the killer must be the madman of her dreams, known as Freddy Krueger. Together with her boyfriend, Glen, she vows to do something about the dreams and therefore the killer. However, in order to do so, her mother has to tell her the horrible truth about the nightmares - they are based on something that happened many years ago and everyone thought was long forgotten. Can the ghosts of the past finally be laid to rest? Or is Freddy Krueger here to stay?
Although The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes had already made Wes Craven's directorial name to a certain extent, it was probably Nightmare on Elm Street that really cemented his success. Made in 1984, for the time, it was incredibly gory and frowned upon by parents everywhere. That didn't stop its popularity though - and a string of sequels has since been launched on an originally unsuspecting public. The original is nearly always the best though - and that is certainly true in this case. Nightmare on Elm Street is not the masterpiece that so many people seem to think it is, but it is a very entertaining film that manages to combine horror with psychological terror very successfully. Many directors have since tried to cash in on the success of Nightmare on Elm Street, but have not managed to pull it off.
Acting is not the strongpoint of this film. I don't understand why directors/script-writers don't put a bit more effort into developing characters and finding someone to portray that well on screen. The horror films I like best are ones where I actually care what happens to the characters. Here, once again, I was underwhelmed. Heather Langenkamp plays Nancy, the main character. She isn't dreadful, but doesn't really stand out in any way, and, as a character, she is really rather dull. For some reason, her mother, played by Ronee Blakley (that's apparently how it is spelled - not typos), was much more noticeable, although her role was very short. Johnny Depp started his film acting career with this film, as Nancy's boyfriend, Glen, but I didn't see any sign of the greatness that he was to show later on in his career. Glen is dull - although to be fair, he was just a filler character - and I didn't even realise that it was Johnny Depp at first.
The rest of the characters are also very ordinary - with the exception of perhaps one. Tina, played by Amanda Wyss, is very pretty and, from that point of view, is the more obvious choice for the main character. However, she's shallow and into sex, which immediately means she has to be one of the first ones to die. Her 'boyfriend', played by Jsu Garcia, is an angst-ridden musician - unfortunately Garcia is a terrible actor, so that doesn't work out too well. Probably the highlight of the film is Robert Englund as Freddy. He is so well covered in make-up that he doesn't really need to do much, but the odd bit of acting that is involved is well done and he is actually quite scary - especially the first time that you see him. He has become an iconic character in horror film history for a reason.
Apart from the fact that it got in early, what makes this film slightly different from many others of this genre is that the story actually is very original. The idea of a serial killer who reaches people through their dreams, but then manages to spill over into real life, is something that could have been very difficult to pull off - but Wes Craven did manage to do so. I think it's a combination of scares, excellent pacing and a good dose of cheesiness that make it work so well. As a middle-aged woman watching it, the cheesiness stands out a lot more, but I remember being terrified by it as a teenager. As a result, it's a film that appeals to more than just one age group. It is always going to be most appreciated by the young, but it will retain a place in many older people's hearts - it certainly has in mine.
The special effects were good, although not brilliant, for their time - the film was made on a budget and the production team had to work with what they could. They have done a reasonable job though - although by today's standards, the blood and gore is not as effective as it could have been, it got the message across. At one point, Tina is shown climbing the walls and clinging to the ceiling as she is attacked by Freddy; if you look too closely, then the flaws can be seen, but when watching it from a reasonable distance, it is actually very effective. Generally, the effects are passable and although I'm sure that the re-make will be technically of a much higher standard, it still isn't necessary when this version is only thirty years old.
It should go without saying that this is a horror film and it isn't appropriate for children. However, just so there is no doubt - there is sex, violence and murder galore and the classification of 18 is there for a purpose.
There are a few extras with this version of the DVD, but nothing really worth watching. There is a collection of the nightmares that the teenagers have, so if you want to watch a particular nightmare again, you can. I don't really see the point of that - surely you can just skip through the film if you want to watch certain parts again? There are written biographies for the cast and crew if you're interested, but it is much easier to just look them up online. The ubiquitous audio commentary is there - lead by a couple of the actors and members of the production team. It's clumsy and only worth watching if you're a real fan. Finally, there's the trailer.
Nightmare on Elm Street has become a cult favourite - and it's easy to see why. It isn't flawless though by any stretch of the imagination, and in many ways, there are plenty of other films from this period and since that are just as good, but haven't made the big time in the same way for one reason or another. It's an absolute must-see for anyone who is interested in horror films, just because of its position in film history, but don't expect something momentous, because it isn't that good. Still, it is very entertaining and not too long that there is ever time for the film to become boring. Recommended.
The DVD is available from play.com for £3.99.
Running time: 91 minutes
We watched A Nightmare On Elm Street last night on DVD. It is the first time I seen the film again since when it came out back in 1984 and it was great seeing it again.
I was amazed to see how young Johnny Depp was in the film, he looked so cute. This was his first ever film and he played the part of Glen Lantz who was the main character's boyfriend. This main character was Nancy Thompson who was played by Heather Langenkamp.
The story is about a group of teenagers who all start to have the similar nightmares. In their dreams they see a man called Freddy Krueger who has a burned face and wears a stripey jumper and old hat and has long knives as fingers on one hand. The nightmares seem very real to them and then they start to find that what happens in their dreams really happens to them so if they are hurt in the dream when they wake up they have the mark to show where they were hurt.
I found after watching the film again that it was very dated and not nearly as scary as I thought it was back in the early 80s although the concept of the film with things happening in dreams or nightmares is still un-nerving to this day. May be they will revamp this up with a new version like they have the Friday 13th which came out about the same time. I reckon it would be really good with the new kinds of special effects they can do today although there was a good bit in the old film which was when Heather's feet were going through the stairs and sticking to them when she was trying to run up the stairs. This kind of thing is really scary when someone is chasing you.
The other main characters and actors in the film were Heather's mother and father played by Ronee Blakley and John Saxon, her father was Lt Thompson who was with the local police and was called out to the incidents as and when they were happening. There was also something in their past that they were keeping from Heather.
Tina Gray and Rod Lane played by Jsu Garcia and Amanda Wyss who were Heather and Glen's best friends at school.
And the star of the show Fred Krueger played so well by Robert Englund. He takes on the evil twisted character so well, back in its day this film was so frightening mainly because of the way Robert played Freddy.
The original dvd doesnt come with too many extra features, just a commentary, the original theatrical trailer, and cast and crew.
The film was directed by Wes Craven and it is rated a 18 in the UK. It lasts for 88 mins.
A Nightmare on Elm was released in 1984 & was directed and written by Wes Craven. It is an iconic Horror Film that spawned a franchise of 8 films, a TV series & a remake to be released this year.
It begins with a girl named Tina Gray (Amanda Wyss) having a nightmare about a mencacing & badly burned man in a Red & Green striped sweater & with glove comprising of razor knives on his fingers worn on his right hand. After telling her best friend Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) about the Nightmare, she asks Nancy to spend the night with her as her Mother is out of town. That night whilst asleep in her dream, Tina is attacked & murdered by the menace who is later revealed to be the spirit of a dead child murderer named Fred Krueger (Robert Englund). The film follows Nancy & her friends efforts to both survive & defeat Freddy, who seems intent on killing them all while they sleep.
I have always been a fan of this film & think that it is one of the greatest Horror films ever made. I watched it yesterday with my wife (but had my Dooyoo critical head on), so here are both the good & bad points.
The Plot: This is engaging, entertaining, well paced & holds your interest throughout the film. The idea of a villian attacking you in your sleep was an original idea at the time & is still a pretty unique method of attack when compared against most slasher flicks around.
The Effects: Some films from the 80's look really dated & the effects are a real let down. The Terminator has one scene that looks terrible by today's standards & could do with a digital update. Nightmare still looks more than adequate. Freddy's make up doesn't look phoney. The scene where a victim is dragged up to the ceiling doesn't have anything showing that shouldn't be. Great for the time & still good.
The Villain: A great bad guy always makes a film. Freddy is the driving force behind all the movies. Some times he is fiercer than others & sometimes he is funnier. In this film he is sinister, menacing & revels in the killing of others. When this film was released an instant icon was born
The Ending: One niggle that lets the plot down is the final scare. Is Nancy awake? Is she asleep & dreaming? There are other questions too. It's very ambiguous & I've always wished it was a little more definitive. The sequels probably confirm my suspicions, but I won't spoil it for the one person who reads this review who hasn't seen the film.
The Acting: To be fair, the vast majority of the acting is OK to good. However I feel that one key character lets it down. Nancy's Mother Marge (Ronee Blakley) is not good. Somtimes she seems to be hamming it up. Sometimes she seems to be too slow. I know she's portraying an alocoholic single mother which is not easy, but still. If you can't do the part justice, don't accept it. She's a real weak link.
Would I recommend the film? Yes I would. I still think that it is a great film. One of the best examples of the Horror Genre & a classic film. I'm such a fan that I'm not sure a modern remake is necessary or will make the film any better. If you haven't seen it, then I think that you really should give it a go. If you scare easily, you might want to buy a crucifix or a tonne of coffee first.
I remember when I was a kid, the school bully used to tell everyone that Freddie was going to get them in their sleep. This put me off this film somewhat and it was only recently that I had the balls to watch this without fear of sleepless nights.
Freddie was a man in a pork pie hat, with a deformed burnt face, taloned hands with long metal fingernails for slashing and a red and black jumper like Dennis the Menace (I know they don't make archetypal crazy characters like they used to).
This is the film that really established Wes Craven as one of the premier Horror Directors of the last 30 years. This film followed on from 'The Hills have eyes' and 'Last House on the Left' and was made in 1984 for less than $2million.
Craven did fantastic business here as the film spawned six sequels of varying quality and made over $25million worldwide and spawned a world renowned horror villain in Freddie Krueger.
The film is about a child killer, Freddie Krueger (Robert Englund) who was burnt to death on Elm Street by a vengeful mob of parents on his release from prison.
The ghost of Krueger returns to Elm Street to wreak revenge on the children of his murderers through their dreams. He lives in their subconscious killing them in their sleep with their deepest fears.
In many ways this is your classic horror film as victims are picked off one at a time by a crazed serial killer, however this is different in the sense that the victims are murdered in their own dreams, by a hugely powerful monster in Krueger. The villain mixes real evil with excellent one liners and a perverse sort of charm which many actors and directors have tried to recreate over the years.
The film is gory, violent, humorous in parts and deeply disturbing with a classic horror score and superb build up. In many ways its utterly unbelievable but I can see why it terrified so many kids. The justification of how Krueger can do these things is never entirely clear but then if you watch this film and can't accept it's a work of fiction, then its probably not the kind of film you should be watching anyway.
The film has aged a tad and the Krueger character with his mighty metal fingernails and stripey jumper is as much iconic wisecracker, as vengeful child killer, but as with any horror film there is one person who can kill Freddie but will they have the strength and bravery to take on this deformed monster?
A good fun film with classic slasher tendancies, look out for Jonny Depp in an early role and some really thoughtful serial killings, but don't let kids watch it, it really is a frightening film.
The DVD is available on Amazon for £4.88.
Wes Craven shoots to fame as one of the leading directors of horror with this movie that stars Heather Langenkamp as a teenager that has been having nightmares about a burned man, wearing a hat, with razor fingers on his hand that has been terrorising her in her dreams.
There were a few landmark slasher films of the 1980's and this is one of them!
Robert Englund is superb, playing the 'dream killer', killing teenagers while they sleep.
The mood and atmosphere is superbly eerie and keeps you on your edge of your seat.
John Saxon plays the local sheriff who is the father of heroine, Nancy, who doesn't know what to do for his daughter as she seemingly slips into insanity.
The direction is solid as well as the script.
The characters are great and, unlike, the teenage cardboard characters we have in today's horror films that are simply there to be killed, they have substance and depth in this film.
The character of Nancy comes across as an articulate and intelligent teenager that's desperately trying to keep herself together.
Lighting for the film, especially when the killer, Freddy Krueger, appears on screen, is understandably dark so as to keep Freddy in the shadows which adds to everything else.
SFX are terrific for a film like this, they are not CGI fodder like it is in today's films but good practical, man made effects that pay the film off well.
Just check out the "tongue phone" and "blood fountain" scenes!
This is rightly tagged as a classic of the horror genre and while it is a slasher movie, it manages to be actually scary so it's probably one of the few films that manages to be both an actual horror and slasher film in one!
The ending does come off as a little hokey and silly and leaves it open for a sequel, as usual, but the final and famous "freddy skipping row count" will stay in your head for days!
With great performances, solid direction from Craven, appropriate lighting, eerie atmosphere, good characters and Robert Englund as Krueger, you can't go wrong watching this one.
A Nightmare on Elm Street, originally released in 1984 became famous and is one of the most successful horror movies ever made. It combined that fear factor with a touch of humour and more importantly introduced us to that well known killer, Freddy Krueger. This original movie in the series is definately the best of the lot.
The film itself begins in basement that's been converted into a workshop, where we find a hideously deformed and scarred man wearing a red and green sweater and crusty old hat welding sharp blades to metal fingertips and in turn attaches them to a battered leather glove.
Later we discover that this inhuman creature is Freddy Krueger played by Robert Englund. He is a former child killer who was burned to death by a mob of furious residents of Elm Street after being released from prison.
Now, years have passed and Freddy has returned from the grave to take revenge on those who ended his life. He resides deep in the minds of his young victims and attacks them while they sleep.
I found this film pretty terrifying as it's not just about blood and gore, although there is alot of that in the varied killings, but it's also more about the mind and phsyche which can be even more scary. Freddy can lurk in the shadows and attack when you feel safe or are least expecting it. There is no let up from his remorseless revenge either. I found myself gripped by the narrative in the movie and the spectacular set pieces that it entails. I felt for the victims in their hopeless and futile efforts to stay awake and survive the terror.
The movie features many unknown cast members and B-movie actors and actresses, including a very young Johnny Depp. They all perform well though and bring the story to life. I would recommend this movie but you might end up having nightmares!
A Nightmare On Elm Street was released in 1984 and stars Heather Langenkamp and Robert Englund. The plot is as follows...
Nancy (Heather Langenkamp has just lost her best friend in a horrific way, Tina had been murdered. Her boyfriend is the chief suspect but Nancy has doubts. Tina had been complaining of terrible nightmares where she had been stalked. The person chasing her in her dream had very distinctive razor sharp knives attached to his fingers on one hand.
When Nancy begins to have the very same dreams Tina had she begins to realise that there is something sinister lurking in her dreams.
Who is this mysterious figure, what secret is her mother keeping and can Nancy stay awake to stop herself from being murdered!
The film has a running time of 88 minutes and a classification of 18, you can buy this film on DVD for just under £5.00.
The film has a few jumpy moments as Freddy waits in the shadows ready to jump out it also has a fair bit of gore. To be honest I think it has quite a good storyline for a horror film. The actors could be better but it is an old film and a horror to boot, lets face it not many actors would win anything for a horror film. The ultimate star of the show has to be Robert Englund as Freddy Kruger he is slightly over the top and plays Freddy as a deranged killer really well. It would be hard to imagine anyone else playing him.
Plotwise the story flows pretty well as you find out more information about the mysterious killer and eventually discover who he is and what happened to him. The film is both exciting and fast paced. The idea of the knives attached to the glove was a great one and is actually quite a scary weapon for a killer to have.
In conclusion I have to say that even though this film is as old as me, it is still one of my favourite horror films. Yes, I have to admit it hasn't probably aged that well and some of the special effects could be classed as a little ropey. The actors could be a little better but I do think it has a good plot. It even has an interesting back story for the killer, even if it is a little bit far fetched. I do have to admit the ending is a little bit dodgy but it is a horror after all.
All in all I know I haven't absolutely raved about this film but I don't actually mind this film's flaws. I happen to have a soft spot for A Nightmare On Elm Street. It is a classic horror film that will remain a favourite for me.
Having sifted through the "so bad its good" slasher series of the '80s, Friday the 13th, I thought I might as well start on the much better though slightly less prolific "A Nightmare on Elm Street".
This is how it all began...
Tina Gray is experiencing some very disturbing dreams, where she is being pursued by a hideously disfigured man wearing a red and green striped sweater, an old brown fedora hat and wielding a single glove adorned with knives on its four fingers. One morning the teenager awakes from her nightmare to discover four slashes torn into her night shirt. The tears correspond with the razor bladed fingers of her dream stalker...
And so began "A Nightmare on Elm Street", a landmark movie in both the horror genre and the slasher subgrenre. The man in Tina's dreams is, of course, Fred Krueger who we will very soon know as the iconic bogeyman Freddy. This figure will end up being featured in six sequels, a television series, a crossover picture with the other iconic horror figure of the '80s, Jason, and then in the recent remake. It is easy to think of Nightmare as another slasher franchise, living off the back of John Carpenter's Halloween and its predecessor, Black Christmas, and after the third instalment of the series Freddy had become a figure of parody. However, this is to overlook just how good the original Nightmare really was or, for that matter, how much better the sequels were compared to most other slasher films.
A Nightmare on Elm Street is arguably director/writer Wes Craven's best work. It is true that on a basic level, Nightmare is a slasher film. It contains many of the established clichés (and they were clichés by 1984) that would be sent up by Craven's film, Scream over a decade later. It has a dark secret that spawns an almost indestructible killing maniac, its victims are mainly teenagers or young adults, the killing methods vary and it has a "last girl" character. However, what sets it apart is the concept of Krueger killing his victims in their dreams. No one can avoid going to sleep, so this dispenses with the need for the outrageous stupidity of the victims. In fact, many Nightmare protagonists are actually quite switched on and the first film's main character is an inventive and formidable opponent for Freddy.
Nightmare also transcends its subgenre and finds its place in true horror by its use of imagery - much of it disturbingly sexual - and the way it blurs reality with dreams. This latter point is its real strength. Craven is not content with just showing us that what happens in the dreams can affect the victims in reality, he warps the viewers perceptions so they are not always one hundred per cent clear about what is real and what is dreamscape.
Finally the strongest point about Nightmare, of course, is its villain. Other slasher films may rise above their rivals through tight direction, careful observation of how to build suspense, inventive special effects, iconic music scores, and even have good actors and actresses in lead roles, but only Nightmare has Freddy. By allowing the villain to be intelligent and be able to speak, and revel in his sadism, we have different dimension altogether then the mute killing machine seen in Halloween and the Friday the 13th sequels. Freddy is not especially large, but his wicked cackling personality, played unforgettably by Robert Englund, is all too reminiscent of many a childhood villain - think the Wicked Witch of the West of "The Wizard of Oz" or, more appropriately, think the Child Catcher of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang". Before Freddy became a comical character he really was an effective menace.
The 1980's... I remember reading somewhere that this was the decade that taste forgot. Big hair, bigger shoulder pads, yuppies and Thatcher's Britain. I grew up in the 80's and witnessed the dawn of the Video Recorder, corner shops and petrol stations up and down the country suddenly had something new to offer its customers: VHS films that you could rent, take home and watch before returning back the next day.
Of course at first there were no regulations in place, anyone of any age could rent any film that the shop had on its shelves, so I like many others of my generation were able to watch what we wanted when we wanted. I had always been fascinated by horror films and was brought up watching old Hammer films like Dracula and Frankenstein. Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing were idols of mine and as I could distinguish the difference between real life and make believe I enjoyed horror films for what they were - escapist, harmless fun
In 1984 the "Video Recordings Act" was passed after the furore surrounding so called "Video Nasties" (Google for more information if you're too young to remember or want to find out more) which introduced strict guidelines and censorship on all films passed to appear on VHS. Video stockists up and down the country were prosecuted if they had any of the films that appeared on the Director of Prosecutions (DPP) "list" of 39 banned films. The Evil Dead is perhaps the most famous "Video Nasty" which appeared on the list and was banned in the UK along with the infamous "Cannibal" films
Now, the reason that ive provided all this background information is that 1984 was the year that "A Nightmare on Elm" street was released. I remember hearing about this film from school friends who were equally into horror films as I was. It was talked about in the playground and in lessons and it was generally hyped up into being the ultimate horror film; we were told that there was this burned maniac running around with knives for fingers, ripping people to shreds. The anticipation for this film was like no other before it and we couldn't wait until it was released in the UK so we could watch it. It finally became available in late 1984/early 1985 for us to be able to see.
Thanks to the DPP and now the new ratings system we as 13 and 14 year olds couldn't rent horror films anymore without someone over the age of 18 getting them for us, fortunately for us a friends brother got hold of a copy and we could finally watch the film that we had all long waited for.
Even if you haven't seen A Nightmare on Elm Street I'm sure you are familiar with the iconic Freddy Krueger? Killed by the parents of his child victims, he is recognisable for his outfit of a dirty green and red jumper and battered fedora hat. Oh, and the fact that he is hideously burned and wears a glove of "finger knives" on his right hand
The film itself focuses on the remaining children of the parents who killed Freddy. To start with they each have the same dream about a man wearing a dirty jumper and hat who seems to be stalking them in their sleep. Nancy is the female lead, her friends (the remaining children) start being killed off one by one each time they fall asleep and the film builds up to Nancy finding out who the dream demon is and finally figuring out a way to stop him...
I wont describe the kills in the film as they are quite explicit and I dont want to break any rules on this site, the film is rated 18, and even though I watched it younger than this age I realise it wont be to everyones taste. My reason for reviewing it on this site is hopefully to give my opinion as to why it is such a good film, not to gross out any readers who dont want to read about blood and gore.
Directed and written by Wes Craven renowned in the world of horror, he was famous before this films release for (the also DPP banned) "The last house on the left" and would later go on to create the "Scream" trilogy.
Sequels were huge in the 80's and A nightmare on Elm streets success meant that several of these would soon follow - Some good, some not so good.
Freddy Krueger became a cult figure and this film became one of the best known and talked about horror films of the decade. It remains my favourite horror film to this date and far from being a "stalk and slash" film this actually had a well thought out villain in it who had the ability to not only kill you whilst you were awake but also whilst you slept. Many people criticise the sequels as Freddy lost some of his bite and became almost clown-like, but in this, the original he was the archetypal boogie man, definitely the thing of nightmares.
Overall I found the acting to be excellent, Heather Lagenkamp as Nancy Thomson is really good she is not your typical dumb teenager that you usually find in horror films and I can see similarities in her character to that of Sydney Prescott in the Scream trilogy. Robert Englund plays Freddy himself and really gets his teeth into the part. The makeup effects were ground-breaking for its time and I know from reading interviews that Englund had to endure hours in the makeup chair to apply it all then had to sit for hours to get it all taken off, all this day in, day out not only on this film but its sequels too.
Johnny Depp also made one of his first film appearances in this too; he didn't last very long though being one of Freddy's early victims
The film is important to me because it was the first "intelligent" horror film I had seen, Friday the 13th was your standard slasher film, Halloween was basically the same but with a different killer whereas Nightmare actually got under my skin, there was nowhere to hide from Freddy, not even your sleep and how more terrifying than that can you get?
2010 will see the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street in the cinemas with Jackie Earle Hayley in the role of Freddy Krueger. Maybe the new version will impact on someones life the way the original did on mine?,
Released back in 1984, Wes Craven's Nightmare on Elm Street is a gory and gruesome slasher film in which the 'boogie-man'-like Freddie Kruger (played by an Excellent Robert Englund), -a child murderer who was burnt alive in his boiler room hideout by his victims' parents after he managed to escape jail- continues his reign of terror from beyond the grave and begins terrorising teenager Tina (Amanda Wyss) and her friends from within their dreams, before going on to make appearences in the real world where he carries out brutal murders with the long, claw-like bladed glove that he wears on one hand.
The film is leant a psychotic and disturbing air by the manner in which it merges the mundane real-world and the Nightmarish world of Freddy, and its darkly dramatic direction combined with its sadistic and violent nature make for entertaining yet very unsettling viewing.
The special effects are great, with no shortage of blood and some excellent make-up effects that succeed in making the heavily-burned Krueger look utterly grotesque. There is another well-executed scene in which a very young Johnny Depp is dragged down through his bed before being splattered all over the ceiling in a torrent of liquid crimson, adding a further element of inventiveness to the film.
Whilst essentially just a play on the age-old 'teenagers and a murderer' format, Nightmare on Elm Street has enough inventiveness, creepy atmosphere and disturbing scares about it to make it a better-than-average horror film, and well worth taking the time to watch, if only from behind the sofa.
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
Nightmare on Elm Street is one of three horror series that began in the late 70s/early 80s - along with Halloween and Friday the 13th - introducing the film world to Freddie Kreuger, a horrifying villain in a film that had a really nifty twist, that he attacks you when you're asleep! Whilst the majority of the sequels were a bit naff, this is a great film and an absolute horror classic that also helped bring director and writer Wes Craven to prominence.
Freddy Kreuger (Robert Englund) was a paedophile and child murderer who would take victims whilst they were innocently sleeping. He wore a signature striped black and red sweater, a hat, and also a glove which had razor fingers. However, when the locals got wind of his acts, they assailed him and burned him alive in his house. However, he is now back, manifesting in people's dreams to kill them when they least expect it.
Given how the "slasher" genre was just beginning at around that time, this is a breath of fresh air in a genre that even now is just chock a block with brainless violence and dull, depressing characterisation. Freddie is a living breathing villain that has a real personality, as is more than can even be said for Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees. He's very charismatic, and the film benefits a lot from Robert Englund's performance. Although they've cast a solid lead for the film's remake, it's difficult to imagine they will be able to fully recreate the magic without Englund.
It's difficult to find horror films that are this smart and this visceral - Craven proves that he's a legend of the horror genre and really cements his status with what is insanely imaginative. Whilst the sequels weren't so good, Freddy has a legacy that did return somewhat with the New Nightmare sequel and also Freddy vs Jason. The film also has magnificent gore effects, and it features the debut performance by Johnny Depp, who meets his maker in a rather hilarious fashion.
The first, and best entry into the Elm Street series. Even with its highly cheesy ending, the idea is original and the effects are by and large effective and inventive. Englund also makes a wonderfully camp antagonist.
Tina Gray (Wyss) has a recurring nightmare of being stalked through a boiler room by a guy with a red and black sweater and razor blade on his fingers that he scrapes along metal. In one dream he catches her and his razor fingers rip her nightdress and then she wakes up screaming. But upon waking she sees her nightdress is ripped in the same places as they were in the dream.
It not until the next day when she confides with her friend Nancy (Langenkamp) that she finds that her friend has been having the same type of dreams about the same guy. That night they have a sleep over and she again has the same dream but this time the dream takes a turn for the worse and as she is caught and is being cut in her sliced open in her dream its happening for real. Her boyfriend Rodd (Corri) sees the blood running from her body as it flies up and hit the ceiling before falling back down on the bed. As he is screaming others in the house rush in and see him over her dead body.
As Rodd was the only person in the room he is arrested for her murder. It's not long until he is having dreams about the same guy. Nancy still having dreams about him tries to find out who he is and discovers his name is Freddie Kruger and was a child murderer who escaped prison years ago due to a mistake by the police. The parents of the children of Elm Street decided to take the law into their own hands and they killed him and put his body into the boiler under the house and burnt his body. He has now returned to get revenge on their children by attacking them in their dreams.
This was a great film when it came out and due to that 7 more movies followed but none of them were anyway near as good as this one. The funny thing was that after this film the character of Freddie (Englund) moved up from supporting cast to main character. There are some good one liners from Freddie in the film that try to lighten up the horror your witnessing.
Another good bit from this movie is the rhyme that you hear children saying in some of the dreams:
1, 2 he's coming for you
3, 4 better lock your door
5, 6 get a crucifix
7, 8 better stay up late
If you love horror movies then this one is for you. Ok its looking a little dated now but is still a great film.
Talk about going back to old school. This film first came out in 1987 and had spawned a few sequels (6 I think, and the final nightmare!) This was the original and best in my view.
I've always loved horror films. I remember watching this when it came out on video. I was far too young to see it, as it is an 18 certificate, and my older sister let me watch it when I was 8. My parents went mad and thought I would be scarred for life. I ended up alright, and the next time I watched it probably in 1990 when I was 10, my dad thought it funny to stand outside my bedroom door and scrape his fingernails down it - thanks dad, that may have well scarred me!
The film was directed by Wes Craven and had a few famous faces in it. Robert Englund played Freddy Krugar, and I think he played it well. This also had Johnny Depp in it. He looks so young in it, but then again it was 22 years ago.
So what is the film about? It starts with a 15 year old girl called Tina. She has a bad nightmare 1 night. The dream she has is that she is being chased by a man with fingers that seem to be made of razors. She is being chased by this man down a dark and streamy alleyway. Tina wakes up and is really scared. It all seemed so real in her dream, but surely it was only a dream? When Tina goes to school the next day she is told that her best friend Nancy has had the same dream. Since they are both a bit freaked out, they decide to have a sleepover together and see if they have another dream, and safety in numbers and all that. Surely since they are together then nothing bad will happen. Tina's boyfriend comes to stay as well.
Tina has another dream about the same man who has knives for fingers. She is screaming in her sleep and this wakens her boyfriend. What he sees he can't believe his eyes. Tina is getting dragged over the floor and up the wall by an invisable force. He sees slashed appearing on her body and she ends up on the ceiling and slit to bits, falls and is now dead. Her Boyfriend Rob (Played by Johnny Depp) is the murder suspect, and he is put inside.
Nancy, Tina's best friend is still having these dreams. She is scared, after knowing Tina had the dreams and now Tina is dead. Is there a connection, and does that mean that Nancy is next to be killed. She believes Rob when he said he didn't kill Tina, but who did then? Nancy's mum thinks that nancy is on drugs at the start, and starts to hide the tablets in the house as well as the knives. Clearly she thinks it is all in Nancy's head, so she sends her away to a dream clinic. But the dreams still happen.
The man with the knives is called Freddy Krugar. In the past he was a child killer and killed children on Elm Street. The parents took their revenge, and killed Freddy by burning him. When we see him, his face is all marked by being burnt, and now he is back from the dead to seek his revenge. Nancy's mother knows all about Freddy, and tells Nancy what they done to him. Weather that is why he is now following Nancy in her dreams.
Throughout the film we see other people in Nancy's life getting killed in brutal gruesome ways. It's nothing compared to the Saw films in regards to gore, but in the 80's it was pretty sick and evil. It looks like kids play thesedays!
Throughout the film we find out a bit about Freddy. His mother was raped numerous times and he is the product of rape. I'm not saying we can understand why Freddy is how he is, as being a kid killer can't be condoned, but we understand a bit of the background he has been brought up from. So this film is understandable on loads of different dimentions.
This was the original horror film and in my view one of the best, even though it is old these days. It gives frights, suspense and a slight human side. There isn't that many special effects, but this adds to the simplicity of the film.
If you get the chance I recommend you watch this again - i'm sure most people have watched this at least once.