Friday, April 23, 2010
A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
1, 2, Freddy's coming for you. Wes Craven directed this first entry in the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise. New Line Cinema will always be known as The House That Freddy Built. This was the first film they produced and the Elm Street series would become their calling card.
Wes Craven got the idea from 2 events. The first involves him reading about a Cambodian refugee who had nightmares and when his parents found him in his room, he was dead. The second involves Wes as a kid and having a tall dark stranger staring at Wes through his bedroom window.
The entire movie takes place after Freddy Kreuger is dead. Freddy Kreuger, for those not in the know, was a child murderer who was arrested and released on a technicality. So then a bunch of parents decide to get together and burn him alive. He comes back as an avenger who kills the children of the parents who have killed him. Opening shot we are shown Freddy creating his famous glove. The Charles Bernstein theme playing over it is perfect. One of the best horror movie openings.
The idea of using dreams against people is so brilliant and allows people to really run wild with their imagination. Dreaming is something you can't avoid. Out of the the three big slashers, Freddy is the least amiguous. He has limitless power in the dream world.
The film is remembered for a variety of iconic images. The image that most haunts me from this film is the bloody bodybag being dragged into a room of the school. There's just something about the arm that flops out of the bag that gets to me. It also has one of Johnny Depp's first roles as Nancy's (Heather Langenkamp) boyfriend.
With that said, as there those who agree this is the best film of the series, there are weaknesses. For one, Heather Langenkamp's acting. Secondly, one of the worst eulogies ever is delivered when one of the characters snuffs it. It is interesting seeing the love for a film with these types of flaws but it does make sense. It's one of the best concepts for a horror film and so much more could be done with. Which more or less, for better or worse, this is taken into account later on in the series.
Despite its flaws, I do give this a high reccomendation. Great imagery, great kills and a brilliant concept. There's really no lull in the movie in terms of pacing. It engrosses me everytime I watch it.