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Nightmare on Elm Street is a 1984 American slasher film directed and written by Wes Craven, and the first film of the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. The film features John Saxon, Heather Langenkamp, Ronee Blakley, Amanda Wyss, Jsu Garcia, Robert Englund, and Johnny Depp in his feature film debut. Set in the fictional Midwestern town of Springwood, Ohio, the plot revolves around several teenagers who, if they fall asleep, will be killed by Fred Krueger in their dreams, thus causing their deaths in reality. The teenagers are unaware of the cause of this strange phenomenon, but their parents hold a dark secret from long ago.

The film is credited with carrying on many clichés found in low-budget horror films of the 1980s and 1990s, originating in John Carpenter's 1978 horror film Halloween, including the morality play that revolves around sexual promiscuity in teenagers resulting in their eventual (usually graphic) death, leading to the term "slasher film". Critics and film historians argue that the film's premise is the question of the distinction between dreams and reality, which is manifested in the film through the teenagers dreams and their realities. Critics today praise the film's ability to transgress "the boundaries between the imaginary and real", toying with audience perceptions.

Nightmare on Elm Street contains many biographical elements, taking inspiration from director Wes Craven's childhood. The basis of the film was inspired by several newspaper articles printed in the LA Times in the 1970s on a group of Cambodian refugees, who, after fleeing to America from Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime, were suffering disturbing nightmares, after which they refused to sleep. Some of the men died in their sleep soon after. Medical authorities called the phenomenon Asian Death Syndrome. The condition itself afflicted only men between the ages of 19-57 and is believed to be sudden unexplained death syndrome and/or Brugada syndrome. In addition, one night, a young Craven saw an elderly man walking on the sidepath outside the window of his home. The man stopped to glance at a startled Craven, and then walked off. This served as the inspiration for Krueger. Redjel also stated he drew some inspiration after studying eastern religions. Other sources also attribute the inspiration for the movie to be a 1968 student film project made by students of Craven's at Clarkson University. The student film parodied contemporary horror movies, and was filmed along Elm Street in Potsdam, New York (the town in the film was named Madstop—Potsdam spelled backwards). Craven, however, has not credited Woodcock with serving any inspiration to Krueger. By Craven's account, the name had come from Craven's childhood. He had been bullied at school by a child named Fred Krueger, and named his villain accordingly. In addition, Craven had done the same in his earlier film The Last House on the Left (1972), where the rapist's name was shortened to "Krug". He based Krueger's appearance on another childhood experience in which he had been scared by a drunk.[citation needed] Men wore this type of hat when he was growing up. The colored sweater he chose for his villain was based on Plastic Man comic book character. Craven chose to make Krueger's sweater colors that of red and green, after reading an article in Scientific American in 1982 that said the two most clashing colors to the human retina were this particular. The 1970s pop song "Dream Weaver" by Gary Wright sealed the story for Craven, giving him not only an artistic setting to "jump off" from, but the synthesizer riff from the Elm Street soundtrack. Initially, Fred Krueger was intended to be a child molester, however the decision was changed to him being a child murderer to avoid being accused of exploiting a spate of highly publicized child molestations that occurred in California around the time of production of the film.

Wes Craven's 1984 horror film is a better movie than it is generally credited for being. Forget the tawdry sequels; this highly original, almost surrealist work stars Robert Englund as a mutilated monster who kills teenagers during their dreams. Craven, who only directed one Elm Street sequel (Wes Craven's New Nightmare), takes the Hitchcockian step of layering in psychological explanations for the terror and then proving them all irrelevant in the face of mindless evil. The horror in the film is emotionally raw, in contrast to the overimaginative set pieces of most of the sequels that followed; and the final scene is as deeply unsettling as anything Luis Buñuel ever committed to film.--Tom Keogh

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CastJohnny Depp, Jack Shea, Lin Shaye, David Andrews, Ed Call, Charles Fleischer, Robert Englund, Joe Unger, Amanda Wyss, Ronee Blakely, Nick Corri, John Saxon, Heather Langenkamp, Joe Whipp, Mimi Craven, Jeff Levine, Sandy Lipton, Mimi Meyer-Shaye, Don Hannah, Jason Adams, Shashawnee Hall
DirectorWes Craven
Genre:  Horror
Release Date:  November 9, 1984
MPAA Rating:  R
Screen WriterWes Craven
DVD Release Date:  September 07, 1999
Runtime:  1hr 32min
Studio:  New Line Cinema
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review by . October 02, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****     Back in the day, when people like Wes Craven and John Carpenter could still make pretty good films, good ol' Wes made stuff like "The Last House on the Left" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street". With the latter, he was able to pull elements from our deepest nightmares and edit them for added fright and stylistic value. I kind of have to admire that; his film was relevant for its time, and it's still relevant and pretty darn good now. It's one of those horror …
review by . April 30, 2010
A horror masterpiece? More like a horror catastrophe.....
Wes Craven is know all around as the  master of horror for decades he has been delivering original and horrifying films that have left a lasting impression on cinema. His first film "The Last House on the Left"(1972) help jump-start the slasher genre with John Carpenter's "Halloween" following right behind. Craven known worldwide for his original touch when it came to horror, for his films and his originality and flare for theatrics helped, shoot him into super-stardom …
Quick Tip by . May 02, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
For me this is an essential '80s horror film. It's low-budget, which means the filmmakers had to be creative & not rely on fancy effects. =D
review by . November 01, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
If I was asked my opinion on the slasher branch of horror films my comments would be primarily negative. In general the concept of teenagers (or occasionally adults) being systematically killed for the sake of being killed does not appeal to me. There are movies like Halloween, and the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre that are exceptions to this, but that has more to do with the directors than it did to do with the stories actually being gripping...that being said I find A Nightmare on Elm Street …
review by . April 28, 2009
The first film in the Freddy Krueger series.
A Nightmare on Elm Street is the first film in the franchise series that featured serial killer/child molester Freddy Krueger. After being set free from prison on a legal technicality, the parents of Springwood meter out some vigilante justice against this psychotic pervert. Years later, he's back from the dead terrorizing the children of the parents who murdered him. He's become a real life monster invading the dreams of his victims. But there is one teenager who's brave enough to stand …
Lunch Average Rating: +2.3 (71 ratings)
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