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Of the time, there where three slashers that where popular with pop
culture and still are today: Micheal Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Fred
Kruger. A Nightmare On Elm Street is about the clever, scary Freddy.
Not only is Freddy more clever than Jason Voorhees as a killer, but A
Nightmare On Elm Street is done a whole lot smarter that any Friday the
13th film. However, A Nightmare On Elm Street was lacking the true
suspense that Halloween gave. Nightmare DOES have quite a few good jump
scenes. It is also very atmospheric, and never really stops being scary
due to atmosphere. There are a few gore scenes, but none are gross. The
gore content is high, though. Higher than Friday the 13th and MUCH
higher than Halloween.
A Nightmare On Elm Street is about a group of kids who are starting to have nightmares. These are however, not normal nightmares. All these dreams are about is this strange, burnt man who chases after this group of teens. These nightmares seem to be too real to be mere dreams, but that's all they could be... right?
A Nightmare On Elm Street stars Robert England, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Jsu Garcia, and for the first time ever, we see Johny Depp on screen. Each actor did a good job with their performance, but I felt that there was something missing with the character chemistry. This may be due to acting problems or due to a poor script/storyline. However, the viewer wouldn't be worried about the actors performances. The viewer would more likely be terrified, so the chemistry doesn't take away from the movie for first time viewing. However, re-watching can be a bummer.
Now here we come with the other cons: Wes Craven's directing. I'm going to be honest with you guys. I have never been a fan of any of Wes Craven's films (especially Scream.) He did an above average job on A Nightmare On Elm Street, but it's still nothing phenomenal. But then again, first time viewers wouldn't care about the directing. All they would care about is the constant scares.
Another thing that disappoints me about this movie is the inability it has to impress people the 3rd or 4th time they view it. I have viewed A Nightmare On Elm Street 4 times now, and each time it louses some of its mystique. I have not watched it for several months now, and I do not intend on watching again for at least one more month. I want to forget about pieces of the movie, so I can be scared by it again. A Nightmare On Elm Street is a truly frightening movie, but once the viewer has all of the scares figured out... what's left?
One more thing I would like to mention is about how terrible the sequels are. The sequels are all either silly or poorly done. Those are however, different reviews.
So overall, I recommend giving a Nightmare On Elm Street a rent. It's a good movie, especially for a first time viewing. However, re-watching can be a true bummer.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The friends Tina (Amanda Wyss) and Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) have a
similar nightmare about a mysterious man who has "finger Knives". When
Tina is mysteriously murdered, her boyfriend Rod (Nick Corri) is
accused but there aren't concrete proves and Nancy begins to relate all
to that man of her nightmares. Soon she will discover the truth about
that man and will be in danger during her nightmares.
Here's a terrific horror classic that introduces one of the greatest and most famous villains, not only in the horror genre but also in the entire Cinema history. Fred Krueger is his name and he is back to end with those who were saved. The plot is really good with suspense every minute and a terrific atmosphere. I love how this film use the sensation of a nightmare that we feel like it was real, a sensation that all of us have experience sometime, to create a great horror atmosphere. In this case is really terrifying for Nancy to awake with proves that her nightmares are real. But she is a very brave girl; I love how she, after realizing that nobody is going to help her, becomes an expert to can elaborate a really brilliant plan. In the end we have the beginning of an endless story that, until now, has about seven films and counting.
Cast: all the young actors did a good job. Is funny to see Johnny Depp in his first film as Nancy's boyfriend. Robert Englund is the memorable Fred Krueger, definitely a terrific villain even with funny scenes. Remember the "I'm your boyfriend now, Nancy".
Conclusion: It's a fact, right now we make fun of it, that my cousin doesn't want to sleep after watching this film when he was about 7 years old. Nowadays this film is not so impressive for young audiences because it doesn't have any gore but this is a perfect horror film that creates a terrific atmosphere full of suspense because of a magnificent villain that becomes more interesting and at the same time more terrifying when his past is reveal. Definitely "A Nightmare on Elm Street" is a film that you should watch at midnight to see if you can sleep after. I could so I think you will too.
PS: I also recommend the parody/tribute of the Simpsons with Willie as Krueger; appears in the "Treehouse of Horror VI".
Looking back at the world of film in the '80s you will notice that
overall it was a fairly disastrous and disappointing time for cinema.
It was a time where focus was spent on money, fame and fortune, rather
than talent and a decade that introduced the rise of the sequel. It was
also a very popular decade for horror films, particularly slasher films
and yet there are very few exceptional horror achievements from the
'80s. I've never been too fond of horror as a genre. I find it a
clichéd and unproductive genre; although it is a genre that has so much
going for it and when done accurately you might be lucky enough to have
the pleasure a skin-crawling masterpiece. You see, horror needs
imagination and originality to work; it has to blend genre elements
together to craft something genuinely unique. Horror is a genre that
has so much to offer. Alas, it is a sad fact when you acknowledge just
how little is accomplished due to focus on spawning money-laundering,
gore-filled sequels. Yet, there is something so appealing about Wes
Craven's triumphant '80s classic
A Nightmare on Elm Street is crafted around the now infamous "bogeyman" story, which has become somewhat globalising by marketing sequels and Halloween costumes. The film follows the story of a group of suburban American teens who are being stalked in their dreams by a murdered, superficial serial-killer named Freddy Krueger. So the teens decide to fight against the creature inside their dreams. The film is centred on a heroine (a popular Wes Craven trend, e.g. Scream) and oddly reminisces specific elements of John Carpenter's masterpiece Halloween.
A Nightmare on Elm Street undoubtedly has its flaws, although these are flaws that are disguised by some of the truly brilliant factors that the film holds. Yes, it has become somewhat dated, yes, the young actors/actresses hold nothing special performance wise, yes, the film is at times cheesy and yes the script is extremely bland. But when you have the brilliance of a film where the editing manages to create a parallel universe, thereby the dimension of reality and dream-state are fused together (the viewer notes the film's dimension through subtleties in the direction) creating a horribly surreal and literal nightmare. A Nightmare on Elm Street is extremely intelligent in the way it wants to attack your sub-conscious. This is another method at creating a lasting fear for viewers unnerved by the actual viewing of the film and rather will be thinking about it when they are ready to fall asleep. Fact is, everyone can relate to A Nightmare on Elm Street due to the fact that everybody has had nightmares and this is the reason for it being considered (for some) a terrifying film.
Filmed on a low-budget and using a mixture of dizzying camera techniques A Nightmare on Elm Street does not stop at being unique. The use of a few set-pieces and masterful props are perfect at creating the atmosphere for a horror film. There is a strong use of poignant lighting and shadow techniques scattered throughout the film. These take wonderful focus on the grotesque make-up for the iconic villain Freddy Krueger. Wes Craven uses sly editing processes and music to delve inside the film's story. The narrative has been paced at a steady speed, never feeling rushed and unnecessary meaning that you are inside the tension throughout the entire running-time. There is an amusing touch of dark comedy littered throughout the film, primarily gained from Krueger's insane antics. It really is a shame that Hollywood is obsessed with making unnecessary sequels to solid films which get away with unexpected climaxes and open endings. The American film industry seems to be obsessed by the idea of having everything wrapped up in a tight package for today's audiences.
If you want a highly entertaining, influential, iconic and productive horror film then look no further than A Nightmare on Elm Street. It remains fantasy horror at the top of its game and a respectful ode to '80s cinema.
There have been many periods of film release that have had impact on
film history(think "Wizard of Oz","It Happened One Night" and "Gone
With the Wind" in 1939 or "Close Encounters" and "Star Wars" in the
Summer of 1977,for examples),but one that comes to mind for me was one
particular month:November,1984. That's when two somewhat under-budgeted
films,James CAmeron's "The Terminator"(which would catapult then-cult
figure Arnold Scwarzenegger to super-stardom) and this film,Wes
Craven's "A Nightmare on Elm Street". Both central characters,the
eponymous Terminator and "Nightmare" menace Freddy Krueger would become
iconic film images for decades to come.
The plot line of the story's no government secret here: a handful of high schoolers in a seemingly ordinary town in Ohio are being haunted in their dreams by a grotesque figure. When this figure starts murdering each one of the group,it's up to Nancy(Heather Langenkamp),the most stable and level of the group,to ferret out and end the terror. Robert Englund,previously known from supporting character roles and his touching,gentle alien in the "V" mini-series and t.v.series,is able to develop a nearly permanent career as the seemingly indominable child-killer. Wes Craven would redefine his own career,as well as the slasher genre,with this film,where he had previously been known for visceral,uncomfortable shockers like "LAst House on the Left" and "The Hills HAve Eyes".
Definitely worth a look,especially for those who consider themselves horror film buffs.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In all my years of living, I have never come across a horror movie that
made me have nightmares. Even the Excorist didn't give me nightmares,
but when I first saw this as a younging, I didn't sleep in my bed for
two years. Wes Craven has made a landmark of a film. Not only defining
reason and doubt, but also reality.
Nancy(Heather Langenkamp), Glen(Johnny Depp), Alice(Amanda Wyss), and Rod(Nick Corri) are all having nightmares about a badly burned man with a right handed glove of claws named FREDDY KRUEGER(Robert Englund). Not only does the nightmares scare them more than anything ever, but the violence he lays down on them are shown in real life. So when Alice dies in her sleep, it's a huge wake-up call for them, especially Nancy. When more friends start dying and her parents(John Saxon & Ronee Blakley) won't believe her. She decides to fight FREDDY on both turfs.
This to me was the first horror movie I ever watched that actually scared me. The acting is great, but a brilliant performance by Robert Englund; who gives birth to the most haunting name in horror history. The death scenes are shockingly scary and original in sense. One gave me the willies to not sleep in my bed. A movie like this comes once in a while thanks to the great Wes Craven. Who's new movie RED EYE is gonna blow us away. Not every horror film can be original as this was and still is. Movies today seem to copy this or any other great scary movie at this time. And to think without this we would not have an MAGNOLIA, RUSH HOUR, Friday, FINAL DESTINATION, or any other great NEW LINE company feature film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wes Craven writes and directs one of the greatest horror films ever made that went on to spawn a million dollar franchise. The story begins with 4 local teenagers who are having some bad dreams to say the least. Tina (Amanda Wyss) tells Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) about the nightmares and realize that the same creep has been terrorizing her in her dreams. Soon enough Tina is killed and her boyfriend blamed. Nancy's nightmares increase as the man know as Fred Krueger (Robert Englund) attempts to kill her in her nightmares. She finds out that he was a child killer in town that the locals including her parents, hunted down and burned to death. No one believes her including her boy friend (Depp) and father (Saxon), so she decides its up to her. Nancy manages to pull him out of her dreams and kill him. The Ending is a bit confusing weather or not she was dreaming when she killed Krueger or when the movie ends. But that's one of the effects that Wes Craven put into the film not knowing what is dream and what is reality. Of all the Nightmare films this is by far the best directed, written and acted of the series. Craven manages to put together a movie that can be genuinely creepy at times. Being a big horror movie fan, this was great and rather then the slasher flicks that it became this sticks to a better story line. The acting was in most part better than the other films. Langenkamp and Saxon are great in their roles along with Depp, though I hate him, he is a good actor. Englund though one of the main stars does very little in terms of acting. His charter does not have nearly the funny one liners he would be know for in the future. The special effects are average for the time, nothing special here. The story is probably where this movie shines the most along with the main charter of Freddy. This one may not be as entertaining as 3 and 4 but overall is a better film. I must have seen this film as kid in the mid eighties and it was very refreshing to see it again, because this is what a real horror movie should look like. I'm sure the DVD will have great extras and plan on getting it. Big ten for a classic film of pure horror and terror.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I first saw this one when I was about 16, after my younger brother had
told me about it. The concept of a monster that hunts you in your
dreams - and follows you when you wake - was original for horror
Mass murderer Fred Krueger (Englund) had killed 20+ children with the now-infamous claw-glove - an ordinary working glove outfitted with 4 straight razor blades. When he was caught by Lt. Don Thompson (Saxon) and a group of officers from the Springwood Police, several bodies of the town's murdered children were found in the boiler room where he worked. (This boiler room became the setting for the nightmares of the Elm St. teenagers in the film.) Unfortunately, as young Nancy Thompson (Langenkamp) finds out later in the film, a legal technicality sprung this monster loose from police custody. Krueger was followed to the boiler room, which an angry mob of parents torched with gasoline. Krueger burned to death inside. (Adapted from The Nightmares on Elm Street novel).
Years after his death, the ghost of Fred Krueger returns - this time in the nightmares of the children whose parents had torched the boiler room and killed him. Nancy and her friends Tina (Wyss), Rod (Corri), and Glen (Depp), are experiencing nerve-wracking nightmares involving a deformed madman in a dirty red & green sweater, who is horribly burned, and wearing a glove outfitted with 4 razor-sharp blades on the fingers! Tina is the first to encounter him, first in his boiler room - from which she escapes - and again in an alley behind her home. This time, she is killed by Krueger in the dream and dies in reality - a violent, frightening death while her boyfriend Rod watches helplessly. Next morning, Rod is arrested by Nancy's dad as an obvious suspect. But Nancy has a horrifying nightmare at school in which she also encounters the horrible man with the finger-knives, and narrowly escapes. Realizing that before her death Tina had described the EXACT SAME man to her, Nancy visits Rod in police custody where he describes having a similar nightmare - in which he ALSO faced the monster with knives for fingers. When Nancy has another dream encounter with Krueger - in which she sees Krueger threatening Rod - she & Glen go to her dad's precinct and urge him to check on Rod. But by the time they reach the cell, Rod is dead - the victim of a hanging by Krueger. At Rod's funeral, Nancy describes the man in the dirty sweater and deadly finger-knives who killed Tina & Rod to her father - and a disturbing look crosses her dad's face. Nancy's mom takes her to a sleep-disorder research clinic, where Nancy has another frightening nightmare involving Krueger. This time, she emerges with a bloody gash from Krueger's blades, and something more disturbing - the old fedora hat that Krueger always wore. It is only after learning Krueger's identity that Nancy's mother reveals the true story of Fred Krueger to her daughter. Armed with this knowledge, Nancy goes about preparing herself for the final confrontation with Krueger, to bring him into her world in the same way she did with his hat - and hopefully to erase Krueger for good.
In the DVD commentary, director Wes Craven described the story that inspired his concept of Fred Krueger as the demonic presence that haunts people's nightmares. Apparently it was based on a series of true events involving children of immigrants from Thailand who were living in the Los Angeles area. The children had been describing horrific nightmares to their parents and were terrified of going to sleep. In 1 case a child stayed awake for 7 days. Their parents brushed off their children's concerns, and several died in their sleep. I had never heard of this until watching the DVD version 18 years after I first saw the film!
Despite its low budget, the film still does an awesome job of creating the illogicality of nightmares, such as the appearance of the sheep in the boiler room and the 20-foot-long arms that Krueger extends across the alley to block Tina's escape, not to mention Tina's terrible death which was made in a revolving room set.
Still the most frightening of them all!
There really are, when you come to think of it, not that many films
that are truly frightening. The kind of film that gets under your skin
and eats away at you. The kind of film that stays with you days ( and
nights ) after you see it. There certainly aren't any that come to mind
from the 90's. But along with films like Aliens the first Halloween,
The Exorcist, Angel Heart, Last House On The Left and the first Texas
Chainsaw Massacre, the first Nightmare is terrifying. And that is owed
all to Wes Craven. The sequels of this film are really trash and that
is because Robert Shaye may be a good business man but he certainly
does not know how to see to it that The Nightmare series stayed it's
course and kept viewers on the edge of their seat. The sequels became
more comedic than scary and even though Freddy had a personality in the
first one, he was still more diabolical and evil than he was funny.
More Lon Chaney than Jerry Lewis. But the first one has every element
in it to keep you scared beyond belief.
This film is iconic in many ways. There are those that say it is dated. I beg to differ on that point. This is a film that transcends generations and expertly amalgamates gore and tension. When you think of all of the so called horror films that have come out in the last year or so, many of them try to enthrall us with buckets of blood and special effects, but they forget that with a horror film, you must have an element of fear with it. Nightmare on Elm Street captures that better than most, and is on a level with the all time greats.
Fred Krueger, as we all know, was a child molester who was hunted down by the local Elm Street parents after he beat a court systems on a technicality. They trapped him in his basement and lit his house on fire and then watched him burn. Somehow he comes back and haunts their children's dreams and murders them while they sleep. This sets up the premise of the film and it is stated on the SE DVD that Craven got the idea for this film while reading a story in an Asian newspaper about kids dying in their sleep and telling their parents that they knew something bad was going to happen to them in their dreams. It is an interesting concept and because it is done to perfection here, it has now become one of the cornerstones of American horror.
Wes Craven has been revitalized as a master of modern horror with his very commerically successful Scream series, and as much as I love Scream, it is horror lite when comparing it to his efforts like NOES, LHOTL and The Hills Have Eyes. Those films, and Nightmare in particular, revolutionized ther horror genre. Nightmare on Elm Street is his best film and if you forget how truly scary the film is after viewing all of the inferior comedic sequels (with the exception of the last) view this one. Freddy is a horror icon and he has achieved that status because he is the true definition of fear.
10/10 One of the 10 best horror films ever!
Come to Freddy!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A novel (original is far too good a word) idea that could have made a
very good, spooky, mysterious film has instead made a very average, run
of the mill horror. "A Nightmare on Elm Street" is a real been their
before excursion from writer-director Wes Craven.
The cast including Heather Langenkamp and Robert Englund cannot help the cause. Truth be known, all the performances in this "Nightmare" are hopeless and Craven cannot even manage a single scare with this lame effort. The only horror achieved is horrific predictability. How on earth did this nonsense become a cult classic?
Tuesday, September 17, 1991 - Video
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A Nightmare on Elm Street is where Craven's career really kicked off, creating one of the most iconic horror villains of all time, Freddy Krueger, a killer that still scares its fans to this day. In this slasher film Freddy Kruger, the killer, has a personal vendetta with several teenagers whose parents took it upon themselves to hunt down and burn alive, hence the sever scaring on his face, but why? There is a slight twist to the usual slasher killer within A Nightmare on Elm Street; Freddy Kruger becomes your absolute worst nightmare, literally. We are completely exposed and vulnerable when we are asleep so this just amplifies that fear by violating you through an invasion of your dreams where Freddy takes control and if you die in the dream, you die for real. Freddy is the worst possible, inherently evil enemy you could have and these teenagers are at the mercy of his malicious ways as he takes his revenge.
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