Halloween Selects: “A Nightmare On Elm Street”

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For most of us, sleep is where we find peace. It’s solace after a long day of challenges and plans. That’s until the imagination of the late Wes Craven and the emergence of a horribly, scarred man with a blade glove. Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). The iconic red and black sweater, brown hat, and a horror twist of the nursery rhyme, “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe” kept audiences up for decades. 1984’s A Nightmare On Elm Street is not so much of a “slasher” film in the way you think. Just with sleep or lack there of, when you don’t have enough of it, your mind could be playing tricks on you. It dealt with the far reaching effect of biology of nightmare and the consequences of old secrets.

A Nightmare On Elm Street pulled the edges on conceptions from the audience. There is a constant fog on what is real or what is imaginary – even until the very last frames. When we think of Freddy Krueger now, you have this consistent visual. His character as the antagonist is almost a force of nature throughout the entire movie before you see him. Even then, it’s most of the imagery that he shows the kids that are the the most unnerving parts. The scene with Nancy seeing her dead friend, Tina in a body bag would be an example. The origin story is almost that of legend that’s passed down like the boogeyman. The audience gets to spend time with the four kids first and see them devolve as they perish from an unseen force. With that, a lot of movie gains it’s strength. It plays on what would be the standard of sanity.

The killings are not as elaborate as they are later in the series. There’s no “comic book” and there’s no “soul pizza.” However, as we saw with Glen Lantz (Johnny Depp), there’s a practical brutality to them. The movie builds them up where they first look like a conventional murder or suicide. When things get really out of hand, that’s when the “it” factor goes it. This is done purposely and intelligently to hint that the grown up in the town have something to do with this also. Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) as a character is interesting. Throughout the disbelief and outright denial at first from the grown ups in the town, she was the only one that formulated a plan to fight Freddy. Ok, one person gets it. The essence of Krueger is that he constantly grows stronger with fear. Nancy realizes this and uses this against him – so we thought.

The character of Freddy Krueger would go through an evolution throughout the nine film franchise (including 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason and 2010’s reboot). The atmosphere would be a more joking nature. Freddy would drop a one-liner before you met your demise as he turns your own dream against you. A Nightmare On Elm Street brought a darker tone and showed us that even dreams can be a devil’s playground.

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema

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Author: Murjani Rawls View all posts by
Writer | Photographer | Beast

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