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Monday, June 21, 2010

A Nightmare On Elm Street

How scary was A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET when it was released way back in 1984? Extremely. Chock full of terrifying imagery and memorable moments galore, ELM STREET tells the story of Nancy (perfectly played by Heather Langenkamp). Things start to get weird when she finds out her friends are having the exact same dreams...

     This shocking slasher about a horribly burned madman who stalks teens in their dreams became a sensation upon its release, and made an instant horror icon out of Robert Englund, who so terrifyingly brought Freddy Krueger to life. 

    Freddy Krueger has become such an over-saturated character that it's almost hard to remember just how scary he truly was the first time we saw him back in 1984. The original A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is most definitely a classic horror film, and Freddy Krueger is easily one of the most popular villains in cinema history, part of the Holy Trinity of Terror alongside Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. And Freddy, like any other movie monster, was eventually milked to death and became a cackling comedian in the latter sequels, and he became less and less frightening. But you cannot go wrong with the original, the classic.

What makes the original ELM STREET so scary is that we hardly see Freddy in the movie- like JAWS,  Freddy is wisely kept in the dark through most of the film. We get glimpses here and there- his hands, his hat, his sweater. Just enough to freak us the hell out. 

       Wes Craven did a great job of capturing that certain small, mid-western teenage vibe, like John Carpenter brilliantly achieved in HALLOWEEN. Craven chillingly depicts a nightmare world inhabited by the evil Krueger, which would haunt many a movie-goer's dreams back in the day. The film is visually stunning for a low budget production- it's filmed almost hallucinogenic and surreal,which makes the nightmare scenes so memorable. It's truly an original premise, and it was very influential in horror.  

     But it really should have stopped after this one or the second installment. If Freddy could only be remembered for the original terrifying performance he gave in 1984, instead of the family-friendly comedian he became. It's one of the best to come out of the 80's, and it was seriously scary stuff for 1984. I was 12 years old and petrified watching this. And yes, this was the film premiere of a certain actor named Johnny Depp.

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