Sleep is overrated. I mean, seriously, with already way too little hours in a day to do stuff , why do we also have to spent some of our precious time unconscious? But there really is no escaping it, not if you want to continue being awake and not walk around as a zombie all day. But there also some positive notes to it. Sometimes you get a nice dream, which is almost as a good as seeing a movie in a big theatre. And I don’t mean an X-rated dream for all you perverted minds out there, but just a pleasant one that makes you happy. Unfortunately for every nice dream, there is also a dark one that lurks around the corner. Nightmares, in which you find yourself being surrounded by a swarm of killer wasps (sorry, those little bugs scare the crap out of me), or other dark places that you really don’t want to be spending time in. In 1984 a movie came out that created a character that became the very stuff of nightmares: one Freddy Krueger…….
The teenage girls Tina and Nancy are best friends and have been enjoying their lives the best way they can. That means hanging out together, spending time with their boyfriends, fooling around, in short everything teenagers should be doing. However Tina has lately been having a couple of terrifying nightmares. In them she is being chased by a horribly disfigured man, wearing a dirty sweater and that has knives for fingers. She is so incredibly upset by it, that she asks Nancy to stay with her during the night. But it appears that Nancy has been having the same dreams. Eventually though they both shrug it off, and Tina spents the night with her boyfriend. But when she finally goes to sleep after a night of passion, the nightmare returns. And in a terrible twist she gets killed in a brutal way, with the blame going to her boyfriend. With Tina out of the picture, Nancy has now become the next target. It turns out that some nightmares can become reality. Nancy is in for the fight of her life, as she has to face a brutal serial killer that supposedly died a couple of years ago. But how in the world do you fight against something out of a dream? Freddy is coming for her……
A Nightmare on Elmstreet breathed life back into a genre that had become pretty stale at the time. Created by Wes Craven, the same guy that brought us the horrorclassic Scream, this film is a terrific movie for everyone that loves a good scare. One of the best things about the film is of course the iconic character of Freddy Krueger. Played by Robert Englund, Krueger is both terrifying and at the same time pretty funny as well, although that last quality would become more apparent in the sequels. Freddy is a truly horrifying opponent in this first part though, and there are some seriously chilling scenes featuring him, that will have you screaming your lungs out. Where Friday the 13th looks pretty dated at this time, here we have a film that is still giving you plenty of scares and has managed to withstand the test of time very well. It is almost hard to imagine that this movie is almost 35 years old now.
Another fun fact that some people might not even be aware of, is that this movie introduced the world to actor Johny Depp. He played the part of Nancy’s boyfriend, and even though this was his very first role, it hardly showed at all, as he pulled of the part with flying colours. The acting as a whole in this film, while not great, is certainly a lot better than for instance Friday the 13th. Nancy, who is played by actress Heather Langenkamp, is a very charming and innocent character, that most people will be rooting for. She is brave and manages to hold her own against everything Freddy throws at her. And believe me when I say that most people would find themselves turning completely nuts if they would be in that kind of situation. But it is Robert Englund who simply deserves the most credit as he is definitely the driving force in this film.
The Nightmare on Elmstreet franchise
As is usually the case with any movie that is succesful, we get the inevitable sequels. A Nightmare on Elmstreet eventually ended up with six movies that continued the terrors after the first part (eight if you count the remake and the spinoff Freddy vs. Jason). In these sequels Freddy continued to play his sick little games, while at the same time also providing a lot of (dark) comedy. Even though there were still plenty of scares and gruesome deaths, I always found them to be of a lighter tone than the original movie. The seventh part of the series is especially worth mentioning because the storyline for that one is pretty cool. Entitled New Nightmare, actress Heather Langenkamp returns to play herself, together with Robert Englund and director Wes Craven. They look back on their roles in the first part in a talkshow, but then the evil that is Krueger tries to enter the real world. It was a nice twist and a highly enjoyable movie. The other sequels, while entertaining, never reached the same level as the first film though. Still, there were plenty of memorable scenes, like for instance the “Soul pizza” that Freddy eats in part 4. I have included it below for your viewing pleasure, although I don’t know if that is the correct word for it.
And that is about it for this third part in my Countdown to Halloween series. A Nightmare on Elmstreet is a true classic that every fan of horror should see at least once. It created an equally terrifying as well as entertaining icon in the form of Freddy Krueger. The storyline is great, the deaths are gruesome, but never going into a truly gory territory, and it is a film that is still quite scary despite it’s age. There are talks of a reboot for the series, but those are so far only rumors. The remake that was released in 2010, was received very poorly, and deservedly so. It just did not have the same fun factor as the original film, and was just a very pale shadow. So honestly I am not really looking forward to another attempt. There are some classics that should simply not be remade. The next movie that will be coming up in this feature will be Final Destination, so I hope to see you all back again for that one. In the meantime thank you for reading, and let me know your thoughts on Krueger in the comments section below. Pleasant dreams……..
I give A Nightmare on Elmstreet a 8 out of 10 score.