A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) [REVIEW]

 

OH THAT’S FUCKING RIGHT, IT’S THE ORIGINAL FRED KRUEGER MOVIE BITCHES. Honestly, I’ve probably only seen this movie twice, if I’ve even seen it twice. But I am about to start chugging through all of the big series that have a shit load of sequels. In the next couple weeks, or more realistically, months, expect to see A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Halloween and Hellraiser sequels being reviewed ad nauseam. Why? Why the fuck not? If I claim to be as big a fan of horror movies as this site would seem, it’s only fair to go through the “classics” and give them their due. Hopefully I can keep them on the shorter side so I can go through more of them, but who knows, especially since I love to make things longer by using expletives (that’s what she said).

 

When I told Rampaige this was Johnny Depp, her response was, “Good for him that he stopped being ugly”. Take THAT, Johnny Depp! You used to be ugly!

A few friends are all having dreams with a similar figure that has “knives for fingers” and an Indiana Jones-esque fedora. Everyone is all like, “Quit freaking out, you dummies,” but when one girl dreams of being scratched, and wakes up with scratches, everyone is kinda like “WHOA WTF”. So imagine what happens when in her dream, she gets the shit killed out of her, while in reality, her boyfriend watches helplessly as she is destroyed. He gets put in jail, and while there, has a dream of getting killed, and his body is found hanging from his bedsheets. His friends are like “WHOA HE GOT KILLED BY THE DREAM MONSTER! OH NOOOOO!!!”. After some investigating, one of the original lady dreamer’s Mom gets shitfaced and explains how when she was younger she had taken part in burning a guy alive who was suspected of murdering children. Well, now he’s back, and he’s killing the shit out of things in their dreams. So the girl decides to grab onto the guy in her dream, this “Fred Krueger“, and grab him in the dream, hopefully waking up and bringing him into the real world. She booby traps her house (?) and there is a Home Alone-esque montage of Fred Krueger getting hurt. He ends up being “defeated”, and we see this chick leaving her house and getting into a car with her friends, who we know are dead, and the top of the car turns into Fred Krueger’s sweater and eats them? Oh, and at one point, Johnny Depp gets sucked into his bed/meatgrinder.

 

Blood doesn’t flow out of beds like this! I know! I’ve tried!

Feel free to take my comments on this film with a grain of salt, considering this film and its characters are far more iconic than anything I have ever done, and probably will ever do. But ya know what? I’m not too big of a fan of this movie. I’m not trying to say it’s bad, but I don’t think it even comes close to how good other iconic movies like Halloween or The Texas Chain Saw Massacre are. The concept behind this film is really interesting, and definitely scary. Fred, or, Freddy as he is eventually called by everyone in later films, gains his power psychologically. His physical self doesn’t exist, so it’s the concept of him, and his power to infiltrate your dreams, is what makes him so terrifying. The fact that everyone needs to sleep, to some extent, is what makes him unavoidable. The longer you spend trying to stay awake and avoid him, the more you fear him, and the more power he has in your dream. It’s a really cool concept for a great horror movie.

 

There’s one scene where the mom says, “Don’t worry, he can’t get you, I took THIS!” and whips out his knife glove. Seriously? You hang on to get souvenirs from people you burn to death? What a weirdo!

So what’s wrong with the movie that everyone loves so much? Well, where do we begin. I’m going to start with the end of the movie, which is confusing as FUCK. There really seems to be two different endings, and it’s hard to tell what has exactly happened. One ending shows Freddy’s footsteps of fire which tells us he has escaped after killing the drunk mom and sucking her into the abyss of her bed (huh?) and the other ending shows the daughter who has “defeated” Freddy dreaming of being killed in a car. So what happened? Is the mom dead and now the daughter is too? Did they give us a sense of “relief”, only to pull the rug out from under you? Having a killer whose power is based in a dreamworld, it can just get a little confusing as far as what is a dream, what is reality, and determining which scenes take place in those worlds. I mean, the scene where the first chick gets killed shows her defying the laws of physics by rolling around on the ceiling, the same way that Johnny Depp has his bed turn to a meat grinder and all his blood hangs on the ceiling, defying gravity. Maybe I’m thinking about it a little too scientifically, but it bothers me.

 

If having long arms is something that causes terror and fear, then I’m screwed.

Robert Englund is awesome. No doubt about it, no questions asked. In this film, however, he barely does anything. Obviously the whole character of Freddy hadn’t been completely developed yet, but looking at just this one film, he barely has any lines. Maybe that’s not a discredit to the film, considering they didn’t really know what direction it was going in, but it was still a disappointment that he was used to little, and should serve as a reminder that he’s not that big a part of a movie that so many people claim to love. Everything else about the film just kind of screams out “B” movie. No, not the Jerry Seinfeld cartoon about bees, but the silliness of the plot and the poor acting and dialogue. Then again, maybe that shouldn’t be a reflection of poor filmmaking, as much as when this movie originally came out, no one knew how successful it would be. Still, it’s hard to watch this movie, not being a die-hard fan of it, and laugh at some of the acting and “special effects”. Oh, and can we think for a second that the plot of this movie is that a group of vigilante parents burn someone to death who is suspected of killing children, and he inexplicably comes back in some of those parents’ children’s dreams, where he has the power to kill them? Now that is just crazy nonsense. Not like the believable plot of Texas Chain Saw Massacre or anything.

 

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6 responses to “A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) [REVIEW]

  1. Great review. As for the ending, Wes Craven has stated over and over again that he hates it because he was forced to add that last one in there by New Line Cinema. He wanted the film to have a closed, happy ending that wouldn’t have a chance for someone else to make a sequel out of it. But New Line, into making their independent company bigger [don’t blame them], decided that they wanted the film ending to be ambiguous and more open ended in case a sequel was likely to be produced [which we obviously now know it was]. I dig the ending because we’re not sure what’s going on. Was the whole film a dream? Is this reality? DREAM WARRIORS would answer that somewhat, but it’s nice to have that debate. Plus, I love when the mom gets pulled through the door. Always makes me laugh.

    As for Fred himself, I like the fact that he’s more of the quiet killer here. It makes him scarier, which was the intention to begin with. I think so many know him as the wisecracking killer, that it’s kind of weird for some to see him so serious. But he still has a lot of personality here and Robert Englund is still the only guy I see in the role.

    • Thanks for the input, Fred! And to everyone reading this, I recommend you stop by his horror review site, http://www.fullmoonreviews.net, especially if you like moons, and wolves. Considering he already proved himself with movies like Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, and Swamp Thing, I’m glad he got the opportunity to make a movie he wanted, and inadvertently creating one of the most well-known characters in all of movie history. Had there not been so many sequels, this could have gone down as a great underrated little flick, but the overexposure of this film, and more specifically Freddy, seems to have taken the wind out of the characters sails. He is more of a comedic relief character rather than one of fear and terror. And considering I haven’t really seen any of the sequels, and they occupy all of the upcoming slots on my Netflix queue, including the remake, expect much more Krueger to come!

  2. Pingback: The Worst Best of 2011 List « The Wolfman Cometh·

  3. Yeah man, I’m late to the party here, but I just watched this movie for the first time in like 20 years or so and wow does it suck. I had to scour the internet to find anyone that agreed. I just don’t understand the universal praise for this ridiculous piece of shit.

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