Scarefest X Countdown Review by Jason Minton
A Nightmare on Elm Street – 1984
When the teenage children of Elm Street fall asleep, they’re visited by their worst nightmare. The line between dreams versus reality is blurred when the kids begin dying in their dreams as well as reality. Unable to sleep for fear of their lives, the teens must face their ultimate fear, taking on a knife fingered boogeyman in a fight for survival.
This movie turned two men into legends within the film world. The already successful writer/director Wes Craven reconfirmed his status as one of the greatest horror directors in the history of cinema. Creatively original, Craven creates a terrifying situation preventing one of the basic human necessities, sleep. Craven plays well on the natural human fear of nightmares. He brings to life a slasher movie within a dream world where the only escape is to avoid sleep. Terrifyingly brilliant. Robert Englund instantly became a face synonymous with horror for decades to come. Englund’s portrayal of what would become one of horrors most iconic characters Freddy Krueger became so one in the same that it’s unlikely anyone else will ever be accepted into the role. Englund added the magic touch, making Freddy stand out uniquely above the hordes of horror slashers of the era.
A Nightmare on Elm Street isn’t without its flaws. The film starts off a lot stronger than it ends. The barely seen Freddy Krueger is one of the most terrifying characters in horror history. Though the performances are good for a slasher movie, they’re still far from realistic. Craven does an excellent job of capturing the fear for sleep, blurring the line of what’s real and what isn’t. The out of the box thinking where anything can happen because it's a dream opens up doors that limit other films. The shortcomings of the film are far made up for without these boundaries. In my life there have only been a handful of movies that have scared me with most of them coming as a child. A Nightmare on Elm Street was one of those movies. It’s an iconic horror film for a reason and the scares hold up over time.
4 out of 5 Headless Critics
WYH Interview with Heather Langenkamp
WYH presents The Ladies of Elm Street Q&A Panel hosted by Neal Jones