Friday, 5 August 2016

I've Just Seen: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Director: Wes Craven

I didn't think slasher horror films would appeal to me, despite my enjoyment of body horror. If they are all as entertaining and wryly comic as Craven's film, then I may find myself eating my words. While Craven takes the tropes of the virginal heroine, and morality tale undertones as to who dies and who survives, he adds a truly terrifying idea around a vengeful child-killer haunting teenagers in their dreams.

The gory effects are still shocking and over the top, as well as the use of rotating sets to achieve the effect of possessed bodies flying around the room. The performance of Robert Englund as Freddie Kruger is incredibly memorable, his gleeful as iconic as the claws on his glove. The ending is slightly confusing, but does work as we spend much of the film wondering if what we are seeing is reality or a dream (it is not always easy to tell).

I was not 'scared' by the film, though if had seen it as a young teenager, I would have been shocked by it. However there is much to enjoy even for the more jaded film viewer, including the presence of an extremely youthful Johnny Depp.


  1. I've long thought that Wes Craven was an underrated director because of his chosen genre. He was a really smart guy behind the camera, and a lot of his films have a great deal of wit to them. Even without that, consider that he's the mind and driving force behind horror classics like Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, and the Nightmare franchise. And he did the perfect serious/satire of the genre with Scream, which still holds up. Plus he did The Serpent and the Rainbow (I recommend it completely). And he directed Meryl Streep in an Oscar-nominated performance about a violin teacher.

    If you get the chance, New Nightmare is a really interesting spin on the whole Freddy Krueger character and mythos. It works as a stand-alone movie, but as a sidebar to the Nightmare franchise, it's a very smart and very meta film.

    1. I haven't yet seen enough of his work to judge, but I have liked what I have seen, and from what you say, I've got much to look forward to.

      Thanks for the recommendation, I shall add it to the list!