Nightmare on Elm Street

Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director: Wes Craven Cast:John SaxonRonee BlakleyHeather Langenkamp , Amanda Wyss, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund

In 1984, before he became the horror icon we all know today, or the sadistic clown with silly one-liners (with the sequels) and even a TV presenter in the anthology twilight zone/Creepshow-like tv series Freddy’s Nightmares, Freddy Krueger was possibly one of the scariest characters in movies history. There’s Dracula, Frankenstein, Norman Bates, Leatherface… and then there’s Freddy Krueger (and possibly not even in this order)The first time I saw “nightmare on elm Street” I was certainly way too young for it, but I remember loving every second of it! There was not a lot like it at the time: an horror movie with ideas, a proper story, style and actually quite scary too.

Watching it tonight almost 40 years later it’s surprising how well most of it still holds, especially considering the low budget.The idea of a man who can stalk you in your dreams is clearly the winning card here. “Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep” is such a simple but effective tagline. On top of that you have those evocative scary locations (the dark dungeon-like boiler rooms, the empty corridors in the school, the dark alleys), the gory moments so sudden and unexpected that you can hardly close your eyes (those slashes opening up by themselves on poor Tina’s body, for example, or Freddy’s tongue coming out of a phone), the haunting iconic music by Charles Bernstein ( a mix between a nursery song and electronic sounds) and then of course Wes Craven’s mastery in creating tension (the idea that Freddy could jump out any moment from behind any corner) and orchestrating memorable and scary sequences: Nancy taking a bath with Freddy’s hand appearing between her legs, Tina’s body being dragged about across the room as she’s been killed, or her showing up again in plastic bag, the steps on the staircase turning into “jelly” and I could go on and on.

There will be some clever visuals in the third film, but never again they’ll be able to reach this sense of dread and the eerie uneasiness. The mystery behind Freddy works beautifully, and however cheesy some of the lines of dialogue might be this is clearly this is the best of the lot (9 of them if you count the remake too and the “Freddy vs Jason” idiocy). A film so full of ideas that not even the slightly dodgy Heather Langenkamp in the lead role may can ruin it.

And let’s not forget Johnny Depp here in his first role ever, who apparently has to thank the producer’s daughter who saw a picture of him and said “he’s cute, choose him!”

But possibly the main reason why we are still talking about this classic today, must be Robert Englund who’s just as responsible as Wes Craven for making the character of Freddy so memorable and scary almost 40 years later.

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