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A Nightmare on Elm Street

1984 American horror film directed and written by Wes Craven

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A different type of slasher

  • Nov 1, 2009
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 to be a solid horror film in every regard, and in my opinion, far better than other films of the genre released during the 1980s (that means YOU Friday the 13th).

What makes A Nightmare on Elm Street a special type of slasher film is simply the lead of Freddy Krueger (played by Robert Englund) and the supernatural script by horror master Wes Craven. Through the mixing of Wes Craven unique visions of horror, surreal imagery, and Englund's cunning performance help make this movie stand-out - well, that and the iconic knife glove, but that goes without saying. It is this mixture between a director's vision and an actor's menacing performance that breaths fresh life into this film; keeping it from becoming another trashy 80s attempt at copying Halloween.

Basically it does follow the formula of having about five teenagers who are one-by-one picked off by the antagonists without much reason other than he wants them dead, but here's where the difference between Friday the 13th and Nightmare differ: actual production values. On his low-budget Wes Craven did the best with what he got and created a film that looks a lot better than its budget would have implied. Freddy Krueger is also the most charismatic presence in the slasher sub-branch of horror films...but not too hard for him given that Jason, Michael Myers, and Leatherface aren't much for talking, but regardless, he still Englund has a great screen presence when in the role of Freddy; he has an attitude, shouts out threats, insults, as well as the occasional one-liner, and unlike the many-a-bad-sequel that was to come for Englund, this Freddy would actually be scary whenever he spoke.

So overall creativity, good production values, and a unique villain make A Nightmare on Elm Street on of the most lasting slashers of the 1980s, and is in my opinion, is #3 on my top slasher films (#1 of course being Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, #2 being Carpenter's Halloween).

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More A Nightmare on Elm Street (198... reviews
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 . 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 …
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About this movie


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 ...

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Director: Wes Craven
Genre: Horror
Release Date: November 9, 1984
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Wes Craven
DVD Release Date: September 07, 1999
Runtime: 1hr 32min
Studio: New Line Cinema
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