A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) Macabre Month of Horrors #1

Welcome to our Macabre Month of Horrors. We will be posting one horror movie, game or book review every day this month in the spirit of Halloween.

Spoiler free

Nightmare on Elm Street

First let me just say that I really dislike the poster for the movie. The main poster, shown on the left,  just doesn’t work for me. I really appreciate the hand done art style, but it just seems off.

This is the first in the series most well-known for its villain, Freddy Krueger. This burnt up Mr. Rogers is one of the best known slasher villains of all time. Right up there with Michael Myers and Jason Vorhees.

Freddy Krueger attacks people in their dreams while they sleep. This sets him apart from other slasher villains and opens the door to wild possibilities. In a dream anything can happen. With the horror taking place outside the bounds of reality it really opens the door for creativity from Wes Craven. But that’s not to say that there is no horror outside of the dreams as well.

His ability separates Freddy Krueger from other slasher. But another key difference is Freddy’s personality. I consider the big 3 slashers to be Freddy, Jason, and Myers. Jason and Myers are silent, completely mute. Whereas Freddy has such a great personality.

Robert Englund is perfect as Freddy. He’s killing people, but always making great little jokes and one liners. The killer really has fun with what he’s doing. I don’t know about you, but I find myself rooting for Freddy sometimes, mostly in some of the bad sequels.

A big problem with a lot of slasher movies is when the audience roots for the villain. If you watch a lot of bad horror movies then you’ve probably found yourself not caring about the group of people who is inevitable going to die. The audience inhibits no care towards the protagonists and instead just wants to see them die in interesting ways. With  the first “A Nightmare on Elm Street” you do care about the protagonists, but Freddy is just so awesome, that you can’t help but cheer for him as well. It works out really well.

In the first film in the series Freddy has a great personality, but is also threatening, and dark. As the series progresses, he becomes more and more silly and over the top, and less threatening. The first movie balances both sides very well. Don’t get me wrong though, I still love the “Freddy VS Jason” style Freddy as well. The character is also in the Mortal Kombat game which is freakin’ cool! But he’s modeled after the remake, less but still cool.

Up until the remake, Robert Englund played Freddy in every movie. He is the only one who can do it right, and it’s great they kept him. Many different actors played Jason and Myers throughout their respective series.

The effects are very good. They were amazing for the time, and I think they hold perfectly. Some effects like when Freddy’s figure bends through the wall, or the fountain of blood from the bed are just so simply ingenious.

Johnny Depp co-stars in the movie, and it was his first role. 

The movie has a great plot that starts out strong with a “Psycho” like bait and switch. The movie has very good escalation. Things start out slow, not seeing too much of Freddy, and continue to build until the main girl goes all “Home Alone” on Freddy. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” came out 6 years before “Home Alone”, but I always found it weird that she stops Freddy with a little toy traps. The ending is a little weird like that, but works well.

The first “Nightmare on Elm Street” is much more serious than the rest of the films in the series. It also the best as a pure horror movie. Although there is one other Freddy movie that I find just as enjoyable if not more.

Check back tomorrow for October Horror review #2

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