C.C. : Nightmare On Elm Street
Part 1 of a retrospective on one of the most popular horror films of all time.
A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
Directed By: Wes Craven
Starring: Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp
as Fred Krueger
The real nightmare on Elm Street is not Krueger, but the poorly-recieved remake.
Y'know, I'm not really a huge fan of horror films. Everyone has a movie genre that they can't stand. For me, it's horror (and westerns, but that's not important.). But whenever the month of Halloween comes into the picture, I strangely get in the mood to watch at least one retro horror film from the 80's or the 90's. Like the time I reviewed Tales From The Darkside: The Movie! Sure, it wasn't that good, but at least I was willing to give the genre a chance.
And this year, I'm doing it again! But not with some obscure horror film or some popular Michael Jackson music video. No, THIS time, I will be looking at an entire horror movie franchise. A set of films with one thing in common.....
This dude. Oh, yeah, you know I'm talking about.
Yep, I will be looking at the Nightmare On Elm Street films, starting from the classic 1984 film that started it all, to the 1994 New Nightmare that...doesn't really take place in the series' universe. But hey! As long as it has the man who looks like he burnt a pizza on his face that we all know and love, it counts.
Now what DOESN'T count are the following. One, I won't review the short-lived television series Freddy's Nightmares, just because there would be too much to cover. Plus, I only want to cover the feature films this year. Maybe next year....
Second, I will not be looking at the 2003 film Freddy Vs. Jason, because it was made in 2003 (duh), and for me, the cutoff date for retro...anything, ends at 2000. Perhaps I'll mention my thoughts on the film in a nutshell later on in the month....
Anyways, let's dive our claws into this movie!
Once upon a time, there was a young director named Wes Craven, who had a dream to sell his idea about a knife-fingered child murderer to the big screen. The problem? No one wanted it. Not even Craven's first choice, Walt Disney friggin' Pictures! Just imagine how THAT would've turned out.
Then, when all things seemed bleak, a little company named New Line Cinema wanted to be just like all the other huge movie companies when it grew up, needed a film that could put them on the map. Craven's idea was that film, and it grew into a money-making franchise spewing with sequels, TV shows, video games, and more!
Looks like someone watched Serendipity, The Pink Dragon.
It helped Craven become one of the icons of horror. As for New Line Cinema....I don't know WHAT happened to them. I think they released some movie called Lord Of the Rings, but I think that's it.
But now that it's 2011, nearing 2012, does this film hold up after so many years? Well, if you haven't been reading reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, you're obviously crazy. But I'm gonna see if this little scare-trip truly takes the title as one of the best horror films of all time.
"Hello? No, I told you I won't be playing a pirate in your Pirates movie! How will THAT help my career?"
Heather Langenkamp disapproves of the situation.
WHAT'S THE FILM ABOUT?
Some strange shenanigans are going on in the peaceful Elm Street - several teenagers are having the exact same dream about child murderer Fred Kruger (Englund), who was burned alive years ago thanks to the parents of Elm Street.
Now every time these teens have the dream again, Kruger pops up and kills them off in disturbing-yet-original ways. The only one taking this seriously is Nancy (Langenkamp), who is driven to madness in trying to get rid of this maniacal monster once and for all.
"Stick em up, bush!"
WHAT'S BAD ABOUT IT?
Two words - the gore. Now, I have no problem with explicit gore (to a point) in a movie. It's just in this movie, a majority of the story is told without tons of blood gushing out like the already popular Friday The 13th series. Whenever a death scene results in tubs of blood (see Johnny Depp's infamous "death bed" scene), the spook factor sorta wears off.
WHAT'S GOOD ABOUT IT?
Heather Langenkamp's performance is really intriguing here. She truly looks like she's being tortured by a force that she can't destroy, and looks so determined to stop this killer, you want her to defeat him. That's something you don't see in horror films then or now...likable protagonists (at least from the ones I've seen).
The film really works as a psychological thriller rather than a horror film. It isn't the type of film where you wanna keep your lights on when you go to sleep. The way the story is told, it feels like all the events in this movie is all one big dream, like an early Inception. Could these events be real, or is Nancy's concern and determination to stop this killer so intense, that she wants off someone who really isn't there and is all part of her imagination?
Planning to sleep tonight? Well, this pic will ruin THAT for ya!
And finally, let's not forget the real star of the film: the terrifying Freddy Kruger. Is there anything to say about this guy? He's crazy, he's surreal (but not too much that destroys the film's much needed realism), and his ways of killing off these kids are creative and certainly gets the job done. If there were a modern movie monster that I would like to kill me off, it would be Freddy. At least he puts thought into killing off his victims. Wouldn't YOU like to be killed by a bed that literally eats you alive and burps out your blood?
Yeah, me neither.
Langenkamp prepares for her Heathers audition.
Ooh, looks like Wile E. Coyote fell down the cliff again.
Uh-oh, she's in the Lord of Darkness's lair from Legend. She's screwed.
Spiderman, Spiderman, does whatever a spider can...
A Nightmare On Elm Street has definately lost it's scare factor over the years, but I can say that it works well without them. The story is brilliantly told, the characters are surprisingly likable enough, and while the gore can be off-putting, the death scenes are certainly creative. I can easily say that this one of the best horror films of all time.
But despite this film's greatness, I'm certainly not holding up much hope for the sequels. But are they as bad as everyone says they are? Well, stay tuned later on in the month, as we continue with A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge.